Treadmill not fast enough!

I like to do my interval training on a treadmill as the speed and distance is easily controlled. Am currently doing 800m interval at 6min/mile pace, followed by 400m @ 10min/mile. Repeating 6 times.

Trouble is, 6 min/mile is top speed of our machine. As I get better should I:

a/ Increase the length of each interval e.g. 1200m?

b/ Go for more intervals: 10 x 800m??

c/ Keep the same speed and distance but run uphill?

d/ Buy a decent treadmill? Other than this issue however treadmill works well.

Intervals are mainly aimed at improving 10k times.

I presume most treadmills go much faster than this? i.e 4 min/mile


  • 6 mins per mile is what 10mph or 16kmh ?

    That's pretty fast. I know the gym ones go up to at least 18kmh, but I think they are pretty pricey ones.

    I'd go for a or b really I think.
  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭
    my gym changed treadmills last year from a model that had topspeed of 12mph to the current ones which like you, have a 10mph top.

    I've had a look into buying my own, and surprisingly a large number (at the cheaper end) have a 10mph topspeed

    Rather than fork out 2k+ I would opt for more reps.
    I tend to do up to 10 x 800s at 10mph, with 400 recovs.
    I however alternate this with 16 x 400s with 200m recovs, 6-8 1200s with 400 recovs and 5-6 1600s with 400s. The latter two are quite tough at 10mph....

    For sharper sprint training, I often do a 20 x 1min fast / 1min slow on the roads. I try to run quite hard but not 'flat out'.

    The other alternative is a football pitch/park, doing 10-15 laps, sprinting the 'length' , slow jog/walk behind the goals.

    If you have access to a track, then timed 200s/400s are also an option, but getting the correct pace (say 84s 400s) is a matter of trial and error (or it was when I tried!)

    Like you, I find the treadmill works well given its limits, hence the alternatives.

    Hope that helps.

  • My gym has 4 machines that do 22kmp(just shy 14mph) VERY EXPENSIVE

    I would use the incline

    or better still GO OUTSIDE
  • I find 6min/mile'ing actually harder for some strange reason on a treadmill, but im sure that my gym's aren't calibrated properley. (Belt seems too loose)
  • Thanks for the suggestions. 6 min / mile is around a 37min 10k. Given that I run a 38min 10k, it doesn't seem to to be much of an interval at 6min/mile. However I also find it harder and there is no way I could run a 38min 10k on the treadmill. The real beauty of the treadmill is the accuracy. If I go outside for repeats I tend to either start too fast or slow the speed as I get tired. I only use the treadmill for repeats. I don't have access to a track. I think I will combine a small incline - 2% ? with more repeats - that should be tough enough.
  • Dont go mad on the inclines - the only time I had shin splints I attribute it directly to me playing about with steep gradients on the tready.

    38min 10k is flying.

    <steals interval session off HH>
  • HH, you are similar to me in pace but I now accept that 16kph is just too slow to really call it an interval.

    If working at 16 I find that my intervals get longer as I personally do not like incline running in the mill
  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭
    ditto the 16kph is no 'interval' pace (me too a 39-40 min 10k-er) hence the outdoor, speed work and longer reps at that pace.

    Always run with the 'mill on 1%
  • I'm about the same as you Dustin - I'm using 17 and 18kmh intervals on the tready to begin my speedwork - and will increase that speed when I get used to it.
  • find 22kph quite interesting can hold it for 1-2 mins and 4 or 5 intervals but I sound like an old steam train as I start to struggle
  • I once saw someone in a gym try something like that. As he quickly realised it was too fast, he lunged for the stop button, but as he was nearly at the back of the belt he didn't quite make it and got a vicious scrape as he was ejected off the back.
  • 22kph ? Jeeeeez - I struggle holding 18kph for a minute - I keep checking the time to make sure i don't accidentally do 2 mins. My trainers would burn off for sure !
  • The treadmills I use are limited to 16kmh. I don't do speedwork on them but I do a couple of fast tempo runs. I have the incline set between 2-4%. This equates to around 5.55-5.35 min/miling.
  • I could go a little faster and have done outside but then we are talking about 10-30 seconds and larger recoveries while going slower so not so useful for the sort of distances I want to train for.
  • I'm interested in how you equate an incline to a flat speed?
  • no idea, just know it is harder to maintain therefore higher HR = more effort. Logic says you should be able to hold it longer in a real situation on the flat
  • I guess the question was aimed at JRM as 16kmh is 6.03 min/mile, so presume 2% incline relates to 5:55 and 4% relates to 5:35. Presumably some science (?) behind that relationship. Probably too technical for me.
  • HH

    too technical for me as well :¬)

    I set all my sessions up based around what I am training for and have a fast enough treadmill to cope
  • There is a conversion table on

    I have good pace judgement and can usually run to within a couple of seconds of a minute mile pace and I find the table to be accurate. For example when I am out on a run and I try and run at what I perceive to be the same effort as 2% at 16kmh I will usually find I am running at between 5.50 and 5.55 min/miling.

    It works for me.
  • Thanks JRM,

    I took a look at the site.

    It is even worse than I thought. I had forgotten about the wind resistance. I should be running on a 2% gradient anyway to replicate treadmill to real running.

    So why does a treadmill feel harder even though it is easier?
  • Jack Daniels has been using treadies since the 50's and has a neat little table in his book dedicated to intensity converisons.

    I can look up 6min/mile effort but as an example he equates 7:20 pace to 12.9 on a 2.2 gradient.
  • Hillreader - I thought it was 1% gradient to replicate real running, but I don't bother - I find 0% on a treadmill quite hard enough. I reckon it's partly to do with it being about 15 degrees cooler outside....

  • The PowerJog treadmills I have used go fast, I think I've had one up to about 18 mph, but they are quite expensive so not so common.
  • 18mph ? Thats pushing it if you're cycling !
  • I've got a reconditioned Powerjog JX100. Top speed of 25kph at 25% incline. Plenty of oomph ;-)
  • NRG's treadmill is something else. I don't think most of us need this but you definitely want maor than 6m/m. A goo compromise is to increase the elevation. I've now got bought another treadmill with a max of 20kph and that is more than fast enough for intervals. You could of course try running that at 15% gradient!!
  • you have to make the gradient on the treadmill 3% incline for it to be 'flat' because all treadmills naturally slope downwards so unless your gradient is on 3% or higher you are in affect actually running down hill
  • It has always frightened me that Tergat and co can run at 20.25 kph......

    ......for a whole marathon!!!!!!!
  • Oh geez, here`s me,proud of my little self cus`i just ran 10 mile for the first time in 78mins & i come across a thread like this,now i just feel

  • McTizzzle - that's just not true. Treadmills do not naturally slope downhill.

    Lack of wind resistance and a moving track effectively leading to a higher efficiency are the reasons why many people cite the 1-2% gradient as being required to simulate outdoor running.

    On the flip side of the coin, many taller people run on a treadmill with a shorter stride length which leads to an increased perceived effort. Also, many treadmill manufacturers are now compensating for these inaccuaracies in their algorhythms and adjusting the design of the equipment as well as the way in which the speed measurement is displayed.

    I for one have always found it easier to achieve an PB at any distance outdoors than on a treadmill.

    The playing field is far from flat.....

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