A 20-Minute Treadmill Workout You Can Do When It’s Too Cold Outside

When the temperature dips below freezing and snow covers your regular running route, the last thing you want to do is lace up for an outdoor workout. We hear you! Leaving the cozy comfort of your couch during the coldest weeks of the year isn't fun (or safe, in many cases).

You don't need to abandon your run when the temperature drops. (Image: Andersen Ross/DigitalVision/GettyImages)

But here's the thing: Pounding the pavement packs some serious health benefits you don't want to miss out on. From playing a role in reducing your risk of heart disease to helping boost your mood, running is one of the best activities you can do for your body and mind.

In fact, running just once a week (even for less than 50 minutes and at a pace of 6 mph or slower) can help lower your chance of an early death from all causes by 27 percent, according to a November 2019 study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

So, don't retire your running shoes for the season just yet. Instead, log your miles indoors on the treadmill.

Benefits of Treadmill Running

"Cold weather running can be quite stressful on your body," says Geoff Tripp, CSCS, certified personal trainer and head of fitness at Trainiac. The frigid air and wind can affect your breathing and heart rate, plus you need to worry about frost bite and slipping on icy surfaces. "Sometimes it's a great idea to move your running indoors on the treadmill where you can control your environment," he says.

You might be thinking, "Indoor running? What a snooze fest!" But it doesn't have to be. While training on a treadmill may not come with scenic views, you can control the speed and incline (unlike outdoor running). That means you don't have to waste precious minutes searching for a flat, safe stretch of road to do your sprints or the perfect incline for your hill work, Tripp says.

And those speed and hill intervals on the treadmill are super effective when it comes to improving your fitness level. According to Tripp, treadmill intervals enhance the efficiency of your cardiovascular system by increasing oxygen delivery to your working muscles and circulation of nutrient-rich blood throughout the body.

Try This 20-Minute Treadmill Workout

Ready to give your running shoes a spin on the treadmill? This 20-minute high-intensity indoor running routine incorporates heart-pumping speed and incline intervals, plus it shields you from the elements when the weather isn't cooperating.

Tip

If you’re new to running (or HIIT), Tripp says to start out slowly. Add one running interval workout per week and build to two or three as you grow stronger.

Warm-Up

Do: dynamic mobility drills — either with the belt moving slowly or off the treadmill completely — including marching, butt kickers and high knees. Then do three minutes at an easy to moderate pace (1.0 to 3.0 mph), slowly building from a walk to a light jog.

The Workout

Do: each of the following intervals for one minute, starting with the treadmill at 1% incline.

  • Run between 6 and 10 mph
  • Jog between 3 and 5 mph
  • Run between 6 and 10 mph
  • Jog between 3 and 5 mph
  • Run between 6 and 10 mph
  • Jog between 3 and 5 mph
  • Run between 5 and 8 mph at 8 to 12% incline
  • Jog between 3 and 5 mph at 1 % incline
  • Run between 5 and 8 mph at 8 to 12 % incline
  • Jog between 3 and 5 mph at 1 % incline
  • Run between 5 and 8 mph at 8 to 12 % incline
  • Jog between 3 and 5 mph at 1 % incline

Cooldown

Do: 5 minutes at conversation pace (1.0 to 3.0 mph) at 0% incline.

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