Five Seasons Family Sports Club Blog

6 Boredom-Blasting Treadmill Workouts to Challenge You

Posted by Five Seasons Family Sports Club on 1/14/15 5:04 PM


Whether you enjoy working up a sweat and getting your miles in on the treadmill or if you think the machine is more aptly referred to as the "dreadmill," sometimes what you really need is a challenge to blast through the boredom that comes from running in place. These six challenging treadmill workouts inject some fun and much-needed variety into your cardio routine, no matter your fitness level.

1. Progression Runs

The basic premise of progression runs is to increase the speed of the treadmill as you get further into the workout. Start off with a 30-minute run at an easy/regular pace, then adjust the speed to a faster pace for 15 more minutes. Finish up your run with 5 minutes at a 5K pace. For example, you could do 30 minutes at 9:00/mile, 15 minutes at 8:00/mile and then 5 minutes at 7:30/mile. Feel free to adjust the speed settings and/or time limits if the pace is a little too demanding at first; you can always step it up later as your stamina improves. 

2. Fartlek Workouts

The word "fartlek" means "speed play" in Swedish, and it refers to a type of interval training that can be helpful in improving your endurance and speed. Fartleks allow you quite a bit of latitude in terms of pace and intensity, because they're more unstructured than other forms of interval-based workouts. With fartleks, you can alternate between slow jogs and fast runs, which helps to keep your body guessing. This will stimulate and engage your muscles in new ways, helping to stave off the body's tendency to keep things normal by quick adaptation (i.e., homeostasis). A typical fartlek workout will have you putting out your fastest runs during the smaller time frames, and your more intermediate or slower-paced runs during longer time frames.

Don't be afraid to experiment with different paces and time frames, and do your best to mix it up on a regular basis. Fartlek training can significantly increase your anabolic threshold, which enhances your overall stamina. 

3. The "Shredmill" 

This appropriately named workout will easily keep you engaged due to its intense pace and refreshing variety. Here's a good example of a "shredmill" workout:

  • 2-minute walk (fast pace)
  • 5-minute run
  • 1-minute sprint
  • 2-minute walk (fast pace)
  • 5-minute run

Repeat the above series four times, and you've not only burned an hour of time, but you've burned plenty of calories as well!

4. Varying Incline Workout

This workout is designed to really shape up your hips, thighs and buttocks by taking advantage of various incline settings. Here's a sample workout:

  • 5-minute warm-up walk (between 2-3.5 mph)
  • 1-minute walk at higher pace (between 4-6 mph), with elongated strides
  • 3-minute walk at 3.5 mph with 5% incline
  • 1-minute walk at 5-7 mph with 5% incline
  • 3-minute walk at 3.5 mph with 8% incline
  • 1-minute walk at 5-7 mph with 8% incline

5. Incorporate Upper-Body Training Elements

Treadmill workouts are primarily focused on working your lower body, but that doesn't mean you can't add a few upper-body training elements into the mix as well. You can perform certain dumbbell exercises while you're walking, such as shoulder presses, lateral raises or upright rows. Spend 5 minutes walking at about 3.5-4 mph while performing alternating sets of each dumbbell exercise (10 reps each). After the 5-minute mark, let your upper body rest for about 4 minutes, but continue walking during that time. Then pick up the dumbbells again and repeat the entire series two more times. If you really want to boost the intensity level, raise your incline by 3% each time you perform the series.

6. The "5-4-3-2-1" Workout

This workout is a fun way to incorporate different run times and incline settings in order to improve your endurance. Here's a sample workout:

  • 5-minute run at 3% incline, moderate to brisk pace
  • 60-second recovery at 3.5 mph with no incline
  • 4-minutes of intervals where you run at max speed for 20 seconds followed by 20 seconds of rest (feet on sides of treadmill). You should be able to repeat this approximately 7 times within the 4-minute time frame.
  • 90-second recovery at 3.5 mph with no incline
  • 3-minute climb at 4 mph with incline set to 4%, but increase incline by 2% every 30 seconds
  • 60-second recovery at 3.5 mph with no incline
  • 2-minute sprint at 4% incline
  • 90-second recovery at 3.5 mph with no incline
  • 1- minute sprint at 6 mph, no incline
  • 90-second recovery at 3.5 mph with no incline

For extra entertainment, you can bring along your tablet or MP3 player to either add movies/TV or music to your workouts. Some people sync the intensity of their workouts to their music, such as stepping up the pace of their walking during the chorus of a song, etc. Variety is the name of the game, so feel free to get creative with your routines. Use the treadmill workouts listed above to beat boredom, boost your heart health and increase your endurance.


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