I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again – I am not a fan of the dreadmill treadmill.  As someone who is very used to running outside, it seems like slow torture to be stuck on a treadmill inside a gym.  There’s only one thing that makes it bearable – an interval workout.


This workout combines speedwork and hill work.  It’s a doozy, I promise!  After 3.8 miles in 37 minutes, you will be sweaty and exhausted, just like this:


And, if you packed thermal running tights instead of regular shorts, you’ll also be completely overheating…


Rolling Intervals Treadmill Workout



2 minutes at 5 MPH

Rolling Intervals:

1 minute at 6 MPH

30 seconds at 6.5 MPH

1 minute at 6 MPH

30 seconds at 7.5 MPH

(Repeat 5 times)

Rolling hills:

1 minute at 6.0 MPH at 1% incline

30 seconds at 6.5 MPH at 3.0% incline

(Repeat 10 times)


6.0 MPH at 0% incline for 5 minutes


Side note: You can alter this workout however you like to accommodate for your current abilities.  Maybe your speedwork will be at 5.0 MPH… or 8.5 MPH.  These are just the speeds that worked for me!


I know it can be confusing to count intervals when you’re working so hard.  Here’s a tip:  Put something in the cupholder of the treadmill and rotate it every repeat.  It makes it MUCH easier to keep track.

IMG_1912 IMG_1916 IMG_1915 IMG_1914 

Normally, I’m scroungin’ for breakfast in the hotel room, but my friend Amanda gave me a bag of fruit as a gift last night at dinner.  How sweet is that?


I had a peach before the workout, and afterwards, a Clif bar and grapes.


How do you make the treadmill more bearable?  Or do you happen to enjoy running indoors?  I’m jealous of those with a natural affinity for it!



  • The Teenage Taste October 2, 2011, 10:56 am

    Interval workouts on the treadmill make the time fly! It’s so much more exciting that just running at a steady pace and watching the minutes creep by! This workout looks great, Caitlin! I’m going to print it out and use it the next time I’m stuck on the treadmill! 😀

  • Sweet and Savvy October 2, 2011, 10:59 am

    I am definitely not a fan of running indoors! I try and flip through magazines sometimes, but that does not really work out to well.

  • Jen October 2, 2011, 11:02 am

    I’m not a runner, but I take indoor spinning classes three times a week and I love it! I’ve actually always been a gym person, and love the environment. But I think I particularly love my gym because I know everybody there, staff and members alike. My fiancé is a trainer there. 🙂

    • CaitlinHTP October 3, 2011, 10:02 am

      I love spin 🙂 I wish I had access to spin classes.

  • Ali @ Ali Runs October 2, 2011, 11:05 am

    I love running treadmill intervals! It makes my time on the treadmill so much more enjoyable.

  • Michelle @ Chasing Ambulances October 2, 2011, 11:05 am

    I use pennies to count intervals – I take one penny from one cupholder and move it to the other as I complete them! This takes all the guesswork out.

  • Nancy @ Beyoutiful Fitstyle October 2, 2011, 11:11 am

    I find it easier to run on a treadmill when I have a lot to think about. I seem to forget where I am and just get into a zone. Or if there’s a good show on the TV in front me, like anything on the Food Network! Besides those I definitely agree that intervals make the miles and the time go by quicker.

  • Khushboo October 2, 2011, 11:12 am

    I love the treadmill up until an hour! I have 7 miles planned tomorrow so here’s hoping I can suck it up! My latest way to not lose it out of boredom is downloading and listening to podcasts: great for my long runs as my speed is easy so i don’t need to rely on the tempo of music!

    • CaitlinHTP October 3, 2011, 10:02 am

      7 miles on the dreadmill??? You are a stronger woman than i!

  • Mary October 2, 2011, 11:27 am

    I usually only ever do speed work or intervals on the dreadmill. I really dislike running inside.

  • Kate October 2, 2011, 11:28 am

    Intervals make all the difference. Our hotel had cute artwork up in the gym, but after staring at it for 5 minutes I was ready to rip it all down. The variety helps so much.

  • Christine @ BookishlyB October 2, 2011, 11:38 am

    I have a treadmill (parked in front of the TV) and I really love it. I live in Southern CA and a trip to the gym often means time in traffic. Staying at home allows me to keep an eye on the dogs and decrease my gym time by like 30 minutes. Running outside is okay sometimes, but I don’t do early mornings or heat well. I usually switch off between a movie and good music to make the time go by faster. Intervals are also great. It’s the 8+ miles that can be looooooong.

  • Jacalyn October 2, 2011, 11:40 am

    Funny. I was just talking to my brother-in-law’s girlfriend about treadmill workouts about 5 minutes ago. I just came in from running outside on this gorgeous fall morning! I use to be able to run treadmill for 2 hrs at a time without a problem. Now I find getting 1 hr in a task. I loooove looooove loooooooooooove running outside (as long as it’s not 100 degrees and 100% humidity). That is why I am so excited this weekend is the first weekend since winter that it has been under 80 degrees.
    Treadmills suck, but they get the work done when you can’t get outside.

    • CaitlinHTP October 3, 2011, 10:07 am

      I cannot believe you could ever run 2 hours on the treadmill. I bow down to you!

  • Rosie @ today I did this for me October 2, 2011, 11:48 am

    I don’t have any tips, but I have to say that seeing photos of you grinning and sweaty make me want to jump on a treadmill right now! thanks for posting so many workout pics — it might seem weird to some people but it’s definitely motivational for me 🙂

  • Shelly @ EpicOrganic.net October 2, 2011, 11:50 am

    Intervals on the treadmill help, but I would always rather run outdoors (unless it is below freezing outside… then I’m not so happy about it!). My best treadmill runs (if there are such things) are when I’ve got hockey or football to watch on the treadmill TV.

  • Sophie @ threetimesf October 2, 2011, 11:59 am

    I don’t mind running indoors as long as there’s something mindless on the TV to watch – I try to plan my gym workouts around when the soaps are on!

  • Sue @ Sue In Training October 2, 2011, 12:23 pm

    I’m not a fan of the treadmill, but sometimes it’s the more reasonable/convenient option. Watching TV, listening to music or an audio book are my favorite ways to make indoor runs more bearable.

  • Marijke October 2, 2011, 12:23 pm

    The cupholder idea is brilliant!
    I really struggle to complete my runs on a treadmill and often cut them short and then feel really guilty about it. I love running outside!

  • Zo October 2, 2011, 12:34 pm

    I actually like the treadmill. At my gym, most of them have a tv attached to them, so I’ll turn it on and either read the closed captioning (while running to music) or will plug my headphones in to listen to the program.

  • Courtney @ The Petite AthlEAT October 2, 2011, 12:43 pm

    You might be the SMARTEST little blogger that could. 🙂 Your coffee sleeve trick is freaking ingenious.

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) October 2, 2011, 12:45 pm

    I make the treadmill more bearable by watching TV while on it.

  • Amber K October 2, 2011, 12:56 pm

    Intervals help me get through any kind of cardio. I just get sooo bored if I’m slogging away at one speed. Magazines help too. Although, much harder to read while jogging than say, on an elliptical.

  • Ellie@fitforthesoul October 2, 2011, 1:24 pm

    I’m definitely not a runner like you are, Caitlin! But I tried the tread about 3-4 times in the past, and I’m definitely not a treadmill person! haha. My fiance says he feels like a hamster when he uses it.

  • Alex @ Raw Recovery October 2, 2011, 1:37 pm

    I actually prefer running on a treadmill. I’m not big into running, though I wish I was, but I feel like I look less like an idiot running on the treadmill than I do running outside

  • Lauren October 2, 2011, 1:45 pm

    This sounds like a great workout! I am always looking to spice up my treadmill runs so I may give this one a try.

  • Ida October 2, 2011, 1:45 pm

    I hate treadmill runs, and only do them if I’m at a hotel or the weather is really bad. I think knowing that I don’t have the option of being outside makes the run more bearable. I also change up the speed and/or incline every few minutes. Pressing the buttons makes time go faster.

    • CaitlinHTP October 3, 2011, 10:08 am

      I agree… pressing the buttons help loads.

  • Jenny October 2, 2011, 1:55 pm

    I definitely prefer the treadmill to outdoor running. I get too distracted when running outside; I’m kinda like that dog from ‘Up,’ like “oooh, look, a squirrel!” “what a pretty rock!” etc…and before I know it I’ve got 10 pretty rocks in my pocket, a couple of multicolored leaves in my hand and my pace is down to 2 mph!

  • J @ Ess and Jae V2.0 October 2, 2011, 2:00 pm

    And, big plus here, you usually get hotel gyms all to yourself so you can sing along to your iPod during the warm up and cool down. And the stretch. Embarrassing if you get caught warblin’ though, but you’ll likely never see the other guest again.

  • Jenn's Adventures October 2, 2011, 2:04 pm

    I looooooooooooooooooooove running on a treadmill! Not only is it a forced run, but I get to stay cool via the A/C and never get whiffs of smoke or car exhaust! Not to mention I’m usually watching TV (foot network, go figure!) I feel guilty preferring the treadmill though, because I live in paradise (Hawai’i) so of course I should be outside! One thing is for sure, whether I run inside or outside — there’s always a billion dollar view:)

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife October 2, 2011, 2:07 pm

    I actually LOVE running on a treadmill. I like knowing my stats, and I don’t want to run with a huge watch. SO I love to be able to control it all.

    I do running intervals every week <—usually switching off between 6.0-9..0/10.0 for the fast sprints 🙂 It is HARD. But feels good every time I do it!

  • Chelsea October 2, 2011, 2:21 pm

    I hate treadmill runs with a passion! I used to be able to just run and run on them forever, but now that I run outside it just isn’t the same at all. I typically turn the TV on in front of myself and just stare at Family Guy or some other mindless TV show that makes me laugh lol.

  • Julia H. @ The Petite Spiel October 2, 2011, 2:24 pm

    Ooph, I dread running on treadmills (hence why “dreadmill” is so appropriate!). Unfortunately, though, I go to college where it is freezing/snowing most of the year, so most of the time it’s treadmill or nothing. Dangit.

  • helen @ change comes from within October 2, 2011, 2:57 pm

    Did my first real run on a treadmill on Thursday as part of my half training because I’ve been sick and thought it would ease me back into my schedule…..urgh. Hated every minute!

    Got some speed work scheduled for this week so will be back on it again. Hopefully speed work will make it a more bearable experience!

  • Suzanne October 2, 2011, 3:17 pm

    I love the treadmill and indoor tracks but I’m sure I’m not the norm. I like the small accomplishment of one more lap on the indoor track and on the treadmill it’s much easier to set a good pace and be consistent.

  • Molly @ RDexposed October 2, 2011, 3:58 pm

    There must be a towel over the numbers! I also prefer a treadmill that faces a window. I do get a kick out of running on the treadmill long enough to have multiple people come and go on the one next to me!

    • CaitlinHTP October 3, 2011, 10:09 am

      Ah yes, the towel helps.

  • Tracy @ Tracy's Treats October 2, 2011, 4:30 pm

    I prefer running outdoors over the treadmill, but I will often do interval or pyramid runs when I’m pressed for time and want an intense workout.

  • Kelly October 2, 2011, 4:32 pm

    I <3 the treadmill!! 🙂 Mostly because I workout any time of day. I hate waking up early to beat the heat.

  • Brittany October 2, 2011, 4:38 pm

    I almost ALWAYS do intervals while on the treadmill. I cannot run at a steady pace I get way too bored! This looks like a great workout I’ll have to try it.

  • CJ @ http://healthy-happy-whole.com/ October 2, 2011, 4:42 pm

    Unfortunately I am still in the walking zone but I do the same thing on the treadmill, varying inclines and walking speeds to keep things interesting. Having a great play list doesnt hurt either!!!
    I thought of you today when I was going my weekly grocery shop and I found MINI white chocolate macadamia nut clif bars. They are my favorite flavor and if I open a normal size one i pretty much always devour it regardless of my hunger level because it tastes like a delicious cookie! the minis will be an awesome dessert for my lunches at school!!!
    thanks for the great tips, as always 🙂

    • CaitlinHTP October 3, 2011, 10:09 am

      i love that flavor. it is SOOO delish.

  • Rosa - Fitness Food Fulfilled October 2, 2011, 5:39 pm

    I used to be a treadmill runner and would go through 3 books a week to keep myself from getting bored. Now I love running outdoors and it would be hard to go back.

    Good for you for sticking with it. That interval workout looks like a booty kicker!

  • Claire October 2, 2011, 6:09 pm

    Treadmill running is the most mindnumbingly boring activity on earth. I always run outside – rain, wind, darkness are no barrier for me. However recently we went to Thailand for a holiday during my marathon training. High temps and high humidity plus not knowing where to safely run meant I was stuck in the gym. Fortunately I had put off a lighter recovery week until our holiday so I didn’t have to do any mega long runs on the treadmill, but I still had to do 1hr15mins and 1hr30mins. I swear time was ticking backwards. But I’m sure what I missed in quality of my runs was a boost in mental toughness. I have my marathon this weekend and I’m going to use the treadmill experience as a motivating thought when I’m struggling mentally. If I can do 1hr30 on the treadmill, I can do anything!

  • kathleen @ the daily crumb October 2, 2011, 6:10 pm

    i always opt for outdoors when given the choice, but that’s not always a viable option living in chicago. in the winter i either zone out with a tv show on the treadmill or keep my mind busy with intervals like you suggested. will have to add this to the rotation!

  • Deva at deva by definition October 2, 2011, 6:21 pm

    I have a treadmill and don’t mind it :-). I prefer to run outdoors, but if it is disgusting out, I run inside 🙂

  • Athena @ fitnessandfeta October 2, 2011, 6:46 pm

    I prefer the elliptical over a treadmill anyday, but for either try to make an awesome playlist and definitely also try to do sprint intervals to make the time go by (and I find I feel I get a better workout from the intervals!)

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin October 2, 2011, 7:12 pm

    I don’t mind the treadmill as long as there’s something interesting on tv. This morning I got through my 4 mile run by watching “Say Yes to the Dress”. 😀

  • Lindsey October 2, 2011, 7:41 pm

    I make sure to switch it ups lots, lots intervals! Also I get a treadmill by a TV, always helps to pass the time!
    PS That is my FAV Cliff bar 🙂

  • Kirsten October 2, 2011, 8:44 pm

    Thanks for inspiring my workout today! Was miserable here today – cold and rain – so did the workout you mentioned above on my treadmill! The intervals made the time on the treadmill much more enjoyable 🙂

    • CaitlinHTP October 3, 2011, 10:11 am

      I’m so glad you liked it!

  • Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats October 2, 2011, 10:38 pm

    Great workout! 🙂 I used to love running on the treadmill before I ever ran my first half marathon. Now that I have been able to run outside all spring and summer the treadmill feels like absolute torture. lol.

  • Corrie Anne October 3, 2011, 12:57 am

    I have a a question. I always see treadmill workouts with % inclines, but all the treadmills I’ve ever used have like 1.0, 2.0 inclines. Or is it the same?

    I like running indoors when I feel lazy and just want to watch some Regis & Kelly.

    • CaitlinHTP October 3, 2011, 10:13 am

      Yup – all the same!

  • Laura October 3, 2011, 1:37 am

    I’m like you… I can only do the treadmill if something is changing. I can’t do steady state. Same with the stairclimber. For whatever reason though, I can do the eliptical on the same setting forever. When I do the bike I tend to keep the same resistance but change my cadence.

  • Susan October 3, 2011, 10:43 am

    Totally with you on the dreadmill. But with winter coming there may be some times when I need to buck up and use it. Boston is good for a lot of things, but winter can get slightly chilly. =)

    I’ve been doing a runner’s bootcamp (at 6:30 AM, which is the only part I dislike about it), and as part of it we do intervals of speedwork and hill work. She had us go from 3% to 8% grade with 30 seconds @each grade. I don’t know when 30 seconds got so long, but believe me – I felt it there.

  • Melissa October 5, 2011, 6:35 pm

    I always find myself fiddling with the speed/incline on the treadmill because it’s so boring! Once in a while I actually plan an interval workout on the treadmill; I will def be using this one! And that object in the cup holder trick is awesome. I swear I mis count every single time!!!!

  • Charise October 7, 2011, 8:22 am

    Thanks for posting your workout! My trainer at the gym just got on me about doing more interval cardio work to push myself harder, so I’m going to try this out (with slower speeds, haha)!

  • Madison Blake October 7, 2011, 11:41 pm

    Ohhhh myyyyy goodness. Did this treadmill workout at the gym last night after a weights session…amazing. I love having a way to liven up the dreadmill since it’s getting dark too early to run in the late evening. I’m definitely adding this one to my gym repertoire.

  • LTodd October 13, 2011, 10:31 am

    Just did this workout yesterday. Kicked my butt in the best way! Thanks!

  • Caitlin January 4, 2012, 6:11 pm

    I just finished this workout and loved it!!! I had taken a bit of a hiatus from HIIT workouts and this was great to get me back in the groove! I have zero attention span and never got bored once!! Thanks for sharing this one! 🙂

  • Angelica January 5, 2012, 8:29 am

    Hi Caitlin, thanks for posting this workout. I’m going to give it a whirl at the gym tonight, but just the interval part to start. I love your blog!

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