The Run Experience’s Treadmill Workout for Beginners

Get the Basics…
  • Check out this guided treadmill workout, complete with a demo video!
  • You’ll learn a warm-up, a cadence drill, some interval speed work, and a cool-down.
  • The phases of this workout give you room to adjust for your level of difficulty and focus on your personal progress.

Staying consistent while starting a running program is the key to making running easier. And once running gets easier, it’s more likely to become a habit! Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t always care about your running goals.

To make sure weather and other outdoor obstacles aren’t a factor, The Run Experience and I have designed this treadmill workout for beginners to keep you on track for your running and fitness goals!

Check out my video for the full workout, and read a step-by-step breakdown below!

The Warm-Up

For the warm-up, start with an easy, three-minute jog. The speed on this one will vary from person to person, but to make sure you can easily talk to someone throughout the whole three minutes, don’t push it quite yet! Next, increase your speed by about one mph, and hold it there for another three minutes.

The Cadence Drill

Before we get going on intervals, do a cadence drill to really wake up your muscles and get your feet turning over.

  1. Set the clock for five minutes, and at the top of each minute, spend 30 seconds counting how many times one of your feet hits the ground.
  2. Then for the other 30 seconds of that minute, there’s no need to count. Just run comfortably!
  3. Repeat the 30-second count at the top of every minute, aiming to increase your count by one hit each minute.

The goal here is not to speed up, but to shorten your stride and encourage quicker turnover to ultimately make your running form work more efficiently.

Interval Speed Work

– Part 1

For the first set of interval speed work, do two minutes of a fast run — or about 7/10 perceived effort — followed by a one-minute easy jog. Then repeat this five times.

If you’re totally gassed after your first two minutes, feel free to walk for a minute if a light jog is too much for you. As you work through your five rounds, try to find that perfect 7/10 “fast” speed, where you still have just enough energy to maintain an easy jog for the one-minute segments.

– Part 2

Next, it’s time to up your speed and shorten your intervals. Work on one-minute fast runs of about 8/10 perceived effort, followed by 30 seconds of an easy jog or walk. And do six rounds of that pattern.

The treadmill speed will be different for everyone, but make sure you’re going faster on this set than you were on the previous one, basing your numbers off of perceived effort! Here, you’re aiming for an 8, with 10 being the maximum all-out effort.

– Part 3

For the last interval set, cut your fast runs to 30 seconds with 15 seconds of rest, and go for six rounds. This time, up that fast speed to a 9/10 perceived effort, just about as fast as you can go while still being in control on the treadmill.

If this workout is too difficult, no worries! Decrease the level of difficulty by keeping the structure the same, and just take out one or two rounds for each section.

The Cool-Down

After all your great speed work, a good cool-down is highly important! Walk for three-to-five minutes at an easy pace, letting your heart rate return to normal. After that, hop off the treadmill and do some mobility work — whatever you feel your body needs!

Holly Martin is a San Francisco-based running coach and personal trainer. With a 20+ year background in dance, Holly brings a strong focus on technique and mobility to all of her coaching. Currently, she trains clients at Midline Training and Nfinite Strength and coaches online with The Run Experience, an online training community for running training programs and workouts.