The Perfect Beginner Treadmill Workout

Looking for the perfect beginner treadmill workout? You have come to the right place! David Dack is fitness author, runner, avid CrossFitter, regular contributor to major fitness magazines and websites (including his own, Runner’s Blueprint), and today he’s sharing a running workout that is great for treadmill newbies!

As a beginner runner, it’s crucial that you start right and build a solid foundation before you up the ante. Otherwise, if you do too much too soon, you will only hurt yourself and may never want to run again.

So if you are starting out, give your body enough time to adapt to the new training stimulus — especially if you have been embracing the couch-potato lifestyle for a while. I hate to sound like a broken record, but you really can’t undo the damage caused by leading a sedentary lifestyle overnight.

So how can you get fit without getting hurt?

Treadmill enters the picture.

In my opinion, this machine is the ideal stepping stone, and here is why.

The Many Benefits of the Treadmill

When you are running on the treadmill, you can easily and quickly fiddle with the machine’s speed and incline and make it fit with your current fitness level and goals. This will definitely help you take your workouts, gradually, into the next level without hurting yourself.

Not only that, but the treadmill is also an all-weather option. Therefore, you can keep on exercising even when it’s raining, snowy, dangerously hot and or too cold to spend more than just a few minutes outdoors. The treadmill will help you stay and/or get fit all year round.

That’s why I’m sharing with you today the perfect beginner treadmill workout. This is my go-to routine whenever one of my clients or friends asks for advice on starting out with the treadmill — and it’s an honor sharing it with you, dear FBGs!

The 30-Minute Beginner Treadmill Workout

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This beginner treadmill workout alternates between brisk walking, jogging and running at a slow pace. It will raise your heart rate while prepping your body for more speed and distance without placing too much stress on your body.

In other words, it’s the ideal way for getting fit without getting hurt. This is one of my basic principles and if you abide by it, you will be on the right (and pain-free) path, and you will be making huge strides toward making your fitness reality a concrete reality.

Warm-up: 10 minutes

Start with a brisk walk and keep it up for the upcoming 10 minutes to properly warm up your body. Why? Because a proper warm-up is the backbone of injury-free training. Skip it and you will be setting the stage for premature fatigue, discomfort or even injury.

Plus, this warm-up phase can help you get used to the surface of the treadmill — especially if you have never hopped on a treadmill before.

First jogging interval: 3 minutes

Now slowly increase your pace and start jogging at 2.5 to 3 mph and stick with it for at least three minutes.

Make sure to practice good running form from the get go by mimicking outdoor running mechanics as much as you can. So run as tall as possible, breathe deeply from the diaphragm, let go of the handrails and swing your arms back and forth.

First running interval: 1 minute

I will urge you to not push it here, but if you feel confident in your skill level, then increase your speed to 4 mph for one full minute. But please feel free to play around with the incline and speed to find a training intensity that gets you heart rate up but still allows you to stay within your comfort zone.

Recovery break: 4 minutes

Relax. Slow your pace down and walk at 1.5 to 2 mph for the next 4 minutes. Make sure to breathe deeply, hydrate and visualize success all the way through.

Second jogging interval: 3 minutes

Start jogging at a 3 mph pace and be sure to practice good form at all time. If you are looking for more of a challenge, feel free to raise the incline to 2 or 3 percent.

Second running interval: 1 minute

This is your last bout of intensity so make the most out of it. Boost up your speed to 4 to 4.5 mph and do your best to keep good form the entire time. Keep looking forward, swing your arms by the sides and keep your body relaxed the entire time.

Cool down: 10 minutes

Finally, you have made it. Nevertheless, don’t stop on the spot. Instead, end your workout with a proper cool down. Walk slowly for 10 minutes and make sure to breathe deeply and release all tension. You can always stretch your muscles afterwards.

Final Thoughts on This Beginner Treadmill Workout

This is the beginner treadmill workout that you will whip you into shape without running the risk of injury or burnout. So make sure to perform it at least three times per week with one recovery day between sessions.

As you get fitter and gain more endurance, you should increase the time spent jogging and running, while reducing the length of your walking intervals. And once you can run straight at a conversational pace for 30 minutes, then you can move onto more challenging workouts. You can try these three treadmill workouts to take your training to the next level. If you are in the mood for strength training, then try this awesome treadmill hills + strength workout.

Who else loves doing intervals on the treadmill? —David Dack

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2 Comments

  1. Awesome article! I am the type of person that has the 0.0 sticker because I never thought I would ever want to be or could be a runner. Now that I have dropped 40 pounds but much more to go I have had the running thought in my head. I do have an excellent treadmill that sits upright and collects dust. I used to walk on it just about everyday but the boredom set in. I currently do Zumba and other cardio.
    I guess what my question is…When I did walk I would pretty much be at the speed of 3.4ish. I loved to speed walk. I read the article and it states to start jogging at the speed I’ve walked. Do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks a bunch!

  2. Kelly Anne — YOU ROCK. Feel free to bump up the speeds (maybe 5.5 would be better?) so that you’re at jogging pace that feels right for you. As you get faster and fitter, just keep bumping up those speeds. 🙂

    —FBG Jenn