Treadmills are an easy way for beginner runners to start their training. But there's the question of where to start.
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Someone jogging at a 4.0 mph on a treadmill would take 15 minutes to run a mile. This is brisk walking speed for some and a slow jog for others, depending on stride length and leg turnover. However, it's an awkward pace between walking and running and is when your metabolic efficiency is at its lowest, according to a 2007 study from the Journal of Human Evolution.
If you feel comfortable at this pace, stick with it. As you build speed and endurance, you should increase your speed on running intervals and lower your speed on recovery intervals.
Using a treadmill, you can set the pace precisely at 4.0 mph and begin a program that helps you become accustomed to the rhythm and feel of jogging before moving on to faster paces. How fast you end up going also depends on a few different factors.
The 4.0 mph speed setting could represent the steady pace for a new jogger or a warm-up for a runner performing interval work.
But you also need to take your height — and stride length — into consideration. This pace would require a jogging stride for a shorter runner, but a taller runner might have to "simulate" jogging to run at this speed.
This requires a shorter, choppier style that accentuates the stride with slight knee raises, which can help a more advanced runner warm up before increasing speed.
Runners of all fitness levels can adjust the incline level on a treadmill to make a session more challenging. An exerciser who might have set the pace at 5 mph or 5.5 mph could reduce the speed to 4.0 mph while increasing the incline to achieve the same level of exertion. This would be done to add variety to the session to simulate outdoor road conditions that might include hills.
The number of calories you burn in 30 minutes of running at 4.0 mph primarily depends on your weight.
For example, a jogger who weighs 155 pounds and keeps the treadmill at 4.0 for a steady-paced workout can expect to burn about 400 calories per hour, according to Harvard Health Publications.
Someone of the same weight will burn more than 710 calories in an hour if they jog at 5.0 mph. As with all exercises, heavier joggers will burn more calories and lighter runners will burn fewer in the same time period.
A pace of 4.0 mph is a fast walk or a slow jog for many exercisers. To improve fitness and speed, runners have to increase intensity and duration of training sessions. This can be achieved by increasing jogging speeds and distances.
Novice joggers who start on the treadmill at 4.0 mph should strive to increase the speed to work outside of their comfort zones for periods of time — maybe a minute or two — over the course of their runs. They should record their progress and add more speed and distance as their fitness improves.
Sample Walk-Jog-Run Interval Workout
- 3- to 5-minute warm-up: walk 2.5 to 3.5 mph
- 1 minute: jog 4.0 mph
- 30 seconds: run 5.0 to 6.0 mph
- 1 minute: walk 2.5 to 3.5 mph
- Repeat the jog-run-walk intervals 4 to 8 times
- 3- to 5-minute cooldown: walk 2.5 to 3.5 mph