How to Maximize Your Treadmill Runs

Most people who go to the gym hit the treadmill for 30 to 40 minutes, three to four times a week without any variation. They use the treadmill to burn a certain number of calories or to run for a specific amount of time. "With the same treadmill routine, they continue to look the same day after day, year after year," says Evelyne Lambrecht, certified personal trainer and holistic health coach.

Lambrecht has been training clients at San Diego State University's Aztec Recreational Center for almost five years. With clients that range in age from 18 to 68 years old, one of her goals is to switch up their workouts to keep things fresh and obtain results. Here, Lambrecht offers variations for beginner, intermediate and advanced treadmill lovers.

More: 3 Surprising Ways to Enjoy Treadmill Running

Beginner-Friendly Treadmill Workout

A good way to vary your treadmill routine if you are just becoming comfortable on the machine is with interval training. The goal here is to get your heart rate up really high and then recover. Start by going as fast as you can or running on a higher incline for 10 to 60 seconds. Then find a recovery time that works for you depending on your level of conditioning. You want to allot enough time for your breathing to return back to normal. In the beginning, you may need to recover for a minute or a minute and a half. As you do more interval training, your high intensity interval will increase and your recovery time will decrease.

More: Get More Out of High Intensity Training By Doing Less

For example, you may start with 30 seconds of high intensity then recover for a minute and a half. The following week, you may move up to a minute of high intensity and a minute of recovery. Then the next week, you may continue to challenge yourself by bringing up the incline of the treadmill. Also, at first, you may be walking during the recovery period but later progress to recovering with a jog. If you jog at a speed of 5 to 6 mph, then your sprints should be between 8 to 10 mph. Start with four intervals then move to five or six. It's good to incorporate two interval sessions per week into your workout, but no more than three. If you're at a point where you can do eight minutes of high intensity total (16 30-second intervals), then it's time to find a new way to push yourself. One way is to add a 10- or 15-minute run at the end of the interval training. This is will also benefit your recovery phase.

More: How to Use the Treadmill as a Training Tool

Intermediate Runners: Rotate Your Position on the Treadmill

For those who feel comfortable on a treadmill, a great way to challenge yourself is to rotate your body during your run on the machine. This works various leg muscles and strengthens your core. Start by running 30 to 45 seconds facing the front of the treadmill. Next turn your body so you are facing the right and side-step on the belt. Push through your feet, using your inner thighs. Also be sure to raise the incline 5 to 10 percent and reduce the speed to between 2 to 4 mph depending on how comfortable you are on the machine. Return back to the middle, and then repeat on the other side. If you're really confident, turn and walk backwards for an extra burn.

More: How to Complete a Backwards Walk or Jog on the Treadmill

Treadmill Challenge for Advanced Runners

Some gyms have WOODWAY treadmills, which have the option to do dynamic mode sprints. For this exercise, raise the incline on the treadmill, then hold the "Up" and "Down" speed buttons at the same time. Hold on to the handle and just run. You will power the treadmill.

Whatever your level, be sure to vary your treadmill routine and keep things interesting.

More: 4 Boredom-Busting Treadmill Workouts You Haven't Tried

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