Top 5 Treadmill Workouts for Endurance Simplified

Updated: October 28, 2023

October 28, 2023 in Training guides

With the right treadmill workouts, you can improve your endurance significantly. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced athlete looking to increase your performance, you'll find the perfect treadmill workouts for endurance here.

We've put together the best treadmill workouts to help you build your stamina and boost your running fitness. With these workouts, you'll be able to pick up speed and maintain it for longer periods.

So, if you're looking to boost your endurance, read on for some great treadmill workouts that will help you achieve just that!

What are treadmill workouts?

A treadmill is an exercise machine that allows you to walk, jog, or run without outdoor space.

Treadmill workouts have the advantage of being able to customize them according to your fitness level and goals. You can adjust speed, intensity, and incline to get a workout that suits your needs.

Before you begin, however, it's essential to warm up with some light jogging or walking to get the blood flowing and reduce the risk of injuries.

What are the best treadmill workouts for endurance training?

As an elite athlete, I love training on the treadmill. I particularly like it for some of the longer "tempo runs," which would be mentally much harder to do outside alone.

I will take you through some of my favourite treadmill workouts for endurance. If you are a beginner, feel free to adjust the volume or length of the session. The intensity, generally speed, can be changed to suit your current level.

Top workouts for running on the treadmill

Treadmill workouts for endurance: Race Pace Intervals

Race pace intervals

Race pace intervals are excellent in preparing you to run at the goal pace for your next event. I like to structure these by breaking them down to time or distance. If you are getting ready for a 5k race, try: 

5 x 1k with 2 mins rest in between.

Try to do each repeat at the pace you want to average for the race.

For example, If you want to run under 20 minutes, each km you need to do needs to be 4mins; this is 9.3 MPH or 15 KPH (most treadmills' speed works that way)

When it comes to the recovery, either jog or walk slowly or pause the treadmill. Just be careful as it slows down.

Treadmill workouts for endurance: Tempo Run

Tempo Run

The tempo run is perfect on the treadmill and one of the very best treadmill workouts for endurance. A tempo pace run is generally done at about 70-80% of your maximum effort or around the pace you could comfortably run for an hour.

So once you have an idea of the pace, be careful not to go over it and run this workout too hard.

A great start is a 10min warm-up jogging

20 min tempo at the set pace

10 min warm down.

Treadmill workouts for endurance: Long Run

Long run

While a long run can be tough on the treadmill, it is still beneficial as you can easily control the pace and gradient. One way of breaking this treadmill workout up is to do a fast finish long run.

This is particularly beneficial if you are training for a half marathon as it gets your body used to being strong in the last 3 or 4 miles toward the end of the race.

Start the run at a leisurely pace and gradually get quicker each couple of miles. By the end, you want to feel like the tempo effort may not be as fast as your average tempo pace, but the effort level should feel similar.

Treadmill workouts for endurance: Easy Run

Easy Run

I prefer doing my easy runs outside, but occasionally, if the weather is bad or it's not convenient, an easy run is so crucial for recovery. A beneficial aspect of doing an easy run on the treadmill is that you can stick to your set pace and not go too fast.

One common mistake runners make is running a lot of their miles at the same pace.

Treadmill workouts for endurance: Heart Rate Based

Heart Rate Based

You may decide to use your heart rate as a guide for the effort of the run. This is particularly useful if you use heart rate as a metric outside and want to ensure you are getting a similar system working. Remember, things like the temperature in the gym can have an effect.

Hill Workout

The hill workouts are a real benefit of training on the treadmill, particularly if you are preparing for a race or event that you know has a lot of climbs or undulations.

You can do a tempo run at a gradient such as 5% and then use a slower pace; use your heart rate to gauge the effort if needed. This can also be great at building leg strength to ensure you are sufficiently warmed up, though a constant gradient can take it out of your legs.

Key Considerations For Successfully completing treadmill workouts

One of the key aspects here is the quality of the treadmill. I have tried out a lot of treadmills, and here are some top things I like:

  •  A responsive screen - showing all the essential data.
  • The belt is smooth and has a wide surface area.
  • The machine does not shake excessively at faster paces.
  • Ability to go very fast down to a low 4 min per mile pace, ideally

While the first three are fundamental for all, the last one is more on an ability for myself. I like to do some fast intervals when in good shape, so sometimes the treadmills don't go fast enough.

Taking it to the next level

You may want to have some sports science testing done. This is regularly completed on the treadmill, so the results you receive would be in line with your training. You should then have paced zones to work on. Then, you can get going with the threshold training to ensure progress.

You can generally book retests every six months to see how you have progressed and if the training zones have changed. You can then amend the treadmill workout for endurance and for a specific race goal.

If you are preparing for a certain race distance such as a 10k or Half Marathon you may want to check out our specific guides.

Alternatives to training on the treadmill

The main alternative is to train outside; however, I find benefits in doing a mix, such as using the treadmill as a good tool. I find it can help, mainly with tempo-based workouts.

The high-speed workouts are great on the running track, and the easy runs are nice to do on a trail or country lanes. However, the tempo runs when training, particularly alone. It can be great to complete it on a treadmill.

Wrap Up

The treadmill can make a difference and add a new dimension to your training. It can be used as more than a tool when the weather is poor, although this is what many athletes may first think.

You can simulate race courses with elevation profiles. This is particularly useful for longer races such as an undulating marathon. For example, you could add in some hills in the long run.

There is also an element of convivence, particularly if you are practicing nutrition, such as trying energy gels or drinks.

Try adding one specific treadmill workout for endurance each week or every ten days to your schedule, particularly if it is a workout you may have otherwise done alone. You might find you enjoy doing it on the treadmill.

About the author 

James

James is an elite distance runner and has also raced triathlon for a number of years. He has a certification in swimming coaching, and a passion to help all athletes succeed in finding a balance within sport and life.