How Treadmill Sprint Workouts Can Help You Become a Faster Runner
It's about progress, not perfection.
Words By Team Peloton
On the hunt for the best treadmill workouts to become a faster runner? If you have a need for speed, taking your running workouts to the treadmill is a great way to train. We tapped three Peloton Tread instructors to share the exact workouts that will help you improve your PR. Because in case you didn’t know, picking up speed while you run doesn’t happen overnight, or even after a few classes, for that matter. Like everything else in life, it’s an ongoing journey that requires consistent time, practice, and effort.
What this article covers:
What is a treadmill sprint workout?
How treadmill sprint workouts can increase your speed
Best treadmill sprint workouts to become a faster runner
Cool down after treadmill sprint workout
What Is a Treadmill Sprint Workout?
Treadmill sprint workouts are high-intensity exercise routines that challenge your cardiovascular system and help build stamina. The workouts consist of short, all-out sprints on the treadmill, followed by a recovery period of slower running or walking.
The key to this type of workout is pushing yourself to maximum effort during the sprints, which will keep your heart rate elevated and boost your metabolism for hours after you finish.
Why should you try it? Well, not only does it offer a great cardio workout, but the interval-based nature of treadmill sprints can strengthen muscles and build endurance. Plus, they’re seriously fun because they keep your body and brain guessing. Seriously, treadmill sprints are a satisfying way to switch up your usual treadmill routine and keep things interesting.
Peloton Tread instructors frequently use treadmill sprints in their programming to keep workouts fresh and challenging.
How Treadmill Sprint Workouts Can Increase Your Speed
While running outside is great fun and a key part of race training, treadmill workouts, whether on the Peloton Tread or another treadmill, offer you more tools at your disposal.
“Speed work on the tread can be good because the biggest output of power and therefore energy expended by you as a runner during sprints is during the acceleration phase and deceleration phase,” says Peloton Tread instructor, Marcel Dinkins. “By doing speed work on the tread, the tread essentially does the acceleration phase as well as the deceleration and we get to come along for the ride instead of being the sole supplier of this energy. Which leaves us with more opportunity to work on our sustainable speed and peak speed in a bit of isolation,” she explains.
Having the ability to keep your metrics in your eye's view throughout the entire run is also a game-changer. For instance, the Peloton Tread has a high-tech display that tells you everything you need to know during your run: your output, time, speed, resistance, class ranking, heart rate and so much more. The 1- or 2-second delay that happens when you take your eyes off your path forward to look down at your watch adds up over time, especially if you’re running great distances.
The Tread monitor also tracks your interval pace, so you know exactly where you’re at, at all times.
“When you run outdoors, it's harder to always hit that exact pace every time,” Peloton Tread instructor Selena Samuela explains. "Using the Tread to get used to goal paces is great, because you become accustomed to what it should feel like in a controlled setting.”
That level of consistency, according to Peloton Tread instructor Rebecca Kennedy, is a runner’s greatest tool. Once you learn how to keep a steady pace, you'll find it easier to take your runs on the road.
Treadmill sprint workouts, also sometimes called speedwork, make the most of your time to ensure that you meet your goals—running faster—in the most efficient and safest way possible. No matter if you just want to give your overall time a boost, or you’re preparing to dominate your next marathon, consider adding the tried-and-tested workouts below into your weekly rotation.
Best Treadmill Sprint Workouts to Become a Faster Runner
These are a few of the best treadmill workouts to help you increase speed, according to our Peloton Tread instructors.
Peloton 45- or 60-Minute Fun Run
Contrary to what you may think, running fast doesn’t mean that every workout is a sprinting session. In fact, Rebecca says it should be the complete opposite. If increasing speed is your main goal, then you first need to tackle running slower speeds for longer distances. Think of it this way, she says: More miles = higher aerobic capacity = stronger ability to implement speed training.
Peloton Tread instructor Jess Sims is also a huge proponent for adding a 45- or 60-minute run to your workout routine because “increasing your speed will help your body adapt to the stresses of running, ultimately preventing injury and burnout.” Plus, it’ll prepare your body for any lengthier outdoor runs in the future, especially if you have a marathon or race on the horizon. Once you knock out those longer, slower runs, your body will be able to handle the fast-paced treadmill workouts you’re after.
Peloton Tempo Runs
“Tempo runs are your sub-max speed run,” says Marcel. “During these runs your maximum sustainable speed is just under your lactic acid threshold. When you run above this threshold, your body produces byproducts, which make your muscles feel heavy like someone has dumped a pound of sand down your leggings,” she explains. “This happens because your body is unable to produce energy at the same rate that you’re expending it. When you do tempo runs you’re able to work on training your sustainable speed without crossing that threshold. The more you work at your tempo pace the more you can train your body to move the chains of your lactic threshold higher.”
Because of this, temps runs are perfect for anyone preparing for a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, or full marathon. Tempo Run classes train your body to run at your goal race pace for a significant period of time, improving your overall efficiency that’ll ease any race day jitters.
Physical toughness aside, Jess says that tempo runs hone in on the mental aspect of running. “It forces you out of your comfort zone in a challenging, yet doable amount of time,” she reasons. The combination of speed and time makes this a challenging but rewarding way to prepare your body –mentally, emotionally and of course, physically—for what’s ahead: another successful race.
Peloton Interval Runs
Working out on a treadmill or otherwise, you’ve probably tried your fair share of interval-focused classes, including HIIT (high-intensity interval training). Interval treadmill workouts follow the same structure, minus the heavy weights. Regardless of the total class time—classes range anywhere from 20 - 45 minutes—the actual workout consists of 1- or 2-minute sprints at ranging inclines, paired with a 1-minute recovery.
Selena swears by the Peloton 20-minute Intermediate Intervals class. “This class is short and sweet and really allows you to test your speed,” she explains. There are four intervals total, and the challenge is to add at least .1 mph to your first minute’s speed—and, yes, it’s way harder than it sounds. The class is structured in a 3:1 style, which means there are 3-minute pushes paired with 1-minute recoveries. “Each minute in your 3-minute push, you add .5 mph to your speed, so that the last minute of your interval you're running 1 mph faster than your first minute.”
Peloton Hill Runs
Here’s the deal: If you have any plans to run in a race of any kind, you need to be able to conquer hills because, well, there’s at least one decent hill in every race. “If you want to get stronger and faster, this is a secret sauce run,” Rebecca says. “Hill runs are actually speed workouts in disguise.” Really, running on a steep incline strengthens the same muscles as sprinting, so it’s a great way to improve your endurance, speed and strength at the same time. While slow runs are still fundamental (remember what we said earlier?), most hill runs that focus on speed have you run up a hill (aka on an incline) as fast as you can, in short bursts. That way, you’re challenged to push through and reach the top of the hill—and, don’t worry, you can eventually come back down with a recovery.
Cool Down After a Treadmill Sprint Workout
Taking the time to cool down after a high-intensity workout, such as a treadmill sprint, is essential to prevent injury, reduce muscle soreness and speed your recovery.
“Like any type of running activity your body has emphasized your lower extremities as the main area of need for access to blood flow, oxygen, etc., so having a proper cold down acts as a smooth transition from this increased demand,” says Marcel.
A gradual cool down helps gradually bring your heart rate back to its normal state, reducing the risk of blood pressure spikes and dizziness if it drops too rapidly. An active cool-down also helps flush lactic acid from muscle tissue, speeding your post-workout recovery. Stretches, performed while your muscles are still warm, can improve your flexibility, relieve muscle soreness and help prevent post-workout cramping and fatigue.
Another factor you probably haven’t considered? “A proper cool down and stretch are important to return your muscles to their proper length,” says Mercel. While sprinting, your muscles experience rapid shortening as they work to propel you forward during your sprints, Marcel explains. “Failing to properly stretch the muscles and bring the back to the natural relaxed length will ultimately lead to cramps and knots in the muscle tissue and fascia.”
Incorporating 5-10 minutes of cool-down activities after a workout blast can make a big difference in your overall fitness and health.
Treadmill sprints are an excellent way to help you run faster and boost how efficiently your body operates. If you’ve got a race coming—or if you simply want to see how well you can do – treadmill sprints are a must. Try a few using the Peloton App (free for 30 days!). We think you’ll love your improved leg and core strength. Plus, you’ll have the endurance to take you wherever you need to go.
Level up your inbox.
Subscribe for a weekly dose of fitness, plus the latest promos, launches, and events.