Weight Loss




4 Tempo Treadmill Workouts

Treadmill Running
Sergey Niven/

By Simon Gould

Tempo routines are runs that are done at a quicker pace than the distance you're aiming for. You're getting the heart rate in a higher zone than running at race pace. This means the distance is a little shorter but the speed is higher. Tempo runs are nearly always best done on a treadmill because you can make sure the speed stays at the same level.

The following tempo runs are designed to be harder efforts at a shorter distance than the race you're training for. Instead of measuring the effort in minutes run, it makes sense to go by distance and run compared to your normal race pace. In the following workouts we go by the normal running races that you're likely to come across.

5k tempo workout

The length of a 5k is 3.1 miles. So during this routine we shall be running at a shorter distance but faster than race pace. The total distance run will be longer than a 5k but because there's an easier run in the middle, it results in a great workout. You should be struggling to run the distance but able to make it. Here is the 5k tempo run:

  • 5 minute easy run warm up
  • 2 miles at 10-20 seconds quicker than race pace
  • 1 mile at 10-20 seconds slower
  • 2 miles at 10-20 seconds quicker
  • 5 minute easy run cool down

10k tempo workout

10k is an increase of the mileage to 6.2. As a result the distance run on the treadmill will be longer. This time we're taking advantage of the equipment by adding some incline. You don't need to do this especially if your race doesn't have any but it's nice to mix it up a bit. Tempo pace will be quicker than your race pace but not enough to make you exhausted and you'll be able to do the following easier run:

  • 5 minute easy run warm up
  • 3 miles at 10-20 seconds quicker than race pace
  • 3 miles at 10-20 seconds slower
  • 2 miles at 1% incline and 10-20 seconds quicker
  • 5 minute easy run cool down

Half marathon tempo workout

A half marathon is 13.1 miles. Again we'll be introducing inclines into this routine. As the distances get longer then so does the workout. The race pace is proportionate to the distance you're training for. So a 10k pace will be very different to your half marathon pace. We've increased the length of the easy warm up and cool down. The quicker runs are hard but doable and give you ample speed work:

  • 10 minute easy run warm up
  • 2 miles at 10-20 seconds slower than race pace
  • 5 miles at 10-20 seconds quicker
  • 2 miles at 2% incline and 20-30 seconds slower
  • 6 miles at 10-20 seconds quicker
  • 10 minute easy run cool down

Marathon tempo workout

The marathon is the ultimate distance people want to run. For some it's 26.2 miles of hell. For others it's a good challenge and they have a time they want to beat. These are the people this routine is designed for. Those who want to eek out a bit more from their bodies to beat the best time. This is a hard workout and we advise you don't try this too often. But every once in a while:

  • 10 minute easy run warm up
  • 6 miles at 1% incline and 10-20 seconds quicker than race pace
  • 3 miles at 10-20 seconds slower
  • 8 miles at 10-20 seconds quicker
  • 4 miles at race pace
  • 10 minute easy run cool down


As with all speed work, if you do them once a week as part of your normal running routine you'll notice a difference in your speed. This is still the case when you run outside. The treadmill makes it perfect because you can set your speed. Don't be afraid to go a lot faster than your race pace if you're feeling particularly good. The aim is to get you used to that quicker run. Then you should beat your old time.

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Meet The Author

Simon Gould

I'm Simon Gould. I've been around treadmills my whole life. From running on them at an early age to working in treadmill dept's of national stores. I've run outside and I've run on treadmills and I prefer running on treadmills. I still run on one nearly every day and love it.

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