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Treadmill Hill Interval Workouts

author image Jeremy Hoefs
Based in Nebraska, Jeremy Hoefs began writing fitness, nutrition, outdoor and hunting articles in 2006. His articles have been published in "Star City Sports," "Hunting Fitness Magazine" and RutWear field journals, as well as on the Western Whitetail website. Hoefs graduated with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Nebraska Wesleyan University.
Treadmill Hill Interval Workouts
A man using a treadmill at a gym. Photo Credit Cathy Yeulet/Hemera/Getty Images

Interval training is characterized by alternating timed periods of work and rest. According to Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit, interval training is the key to developing the cardiovascular system without losing strength, speed and power. Performing hill interval training on the treadmill can include workouts such as hill repeats, tempo training, rolling hills or timed intervals. With the increased intensity level of hill interval training, always complete a total body warmup before the workout and consult your physician before starting an interval training program.

Hill Repeats

Performing hill repeats on the treadmill consists of running at a specific incline for a specific distance followed with a specific rest interval. A sample hill repeat interval workout starts with setting the treadmill at a 7 percent incline and running as fast as possible for 3/4 to one mile followed with a two minute recovery. Repeat the intervals for two to three rounds trying to maintain the same speed for each interval.

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Tempo Training

Tempo workouts are an essential component of a training program as they teach the specific pace or slightly quicker pace than the goal time for a race. The-Fitness-Motivator.com recommends choosing a goal race time and using the pace as your speed for the hill intervals. For example, if you have a goal of breaking 19 minutes in the 5K requiring a six-minute per mile pace, you can set the treadmill on a 5 percent incline and a speed equal to the goal pace. Run for 1/4 miles followed with a three minute rest and repeat for four to six rounds.

Rolling Hills

Rolling hills on an outside course can provide challenges to a runner, requiring them to encounter numerous hills of various elevations and lengths. For a rolling hill interval treadmill workout, Running Planet recommends changing the incline settings from 2 percent, 5 percent and 8 percent after each interval. Run the first interval for 1/2 a mile at 2 percent, followed with a mile at 5 percent and 1/2 a mile at 8 percent. Perform a total of two to three rounds of the rolling hills circuit.


Tabata interval training is defined as 20 seconds of work followed with 10 seconds of rest repeated for eight rounds. Albany CrossFit recommends performing a tabata interval hill workout on the treadmill with the incline set at 12 percent. Set the speed at zero to 30 seconds slower than a recent 5K time and start running for 20 seconds before grabbing the handles of the treadmill to jump off for the 10 second rest. After the 10 seconds, jump on the treadmill and start running for another 20 seconds.

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