How Long Should I Run On A Treadmill? (Explained)
By Simon Gould
You can't beat running on a treadmill for good exercise. This is especially the case when the outside weather isn't agreeable to running. Maybe you've just started exercising and you're planning to start on a treadmill, you want to know how long you should run for. This is all dependent on the reason you're running on the treadmill for in the first place.
How long you should treadmill run for weight loss
Running is the best accompaniment to losing weight. If you watch what you eat and do some strength training then weight loss will be your natural side effect. If you're new to running then you can do a walk run routine to get used to exercising for longer periods. This couch to 5k walk/jog plan for beginners will help you get started.
To get good consistent weight loss and reach your target weight you need to be running for 20 minutes and be doing that 3 or more times per week. The reason is for the calorie burn. It takes 3,500 calories to burn 1 pound of fat. So while it might take some time to lose all the weight you want. But you'll get there if you keep at it. If you have your own treadmill, there's no excuse not to get on it and exercise.
Running on a treadmill for 20 minutes at 5 mph will burn 250 calories. Do it 3 times a week or more as I suggested and you'll start losing weight after a couple of weeks. The more you weigh, the more calories you burn, and the quicker the weight will go. I lost 30 pounds by running for 30 minutes regularly on my treadmill. Once the body gets used to it, the weight drops nicely.
How fast you should go
The important thing to think about when running on a treadmill for any length of time is the speed. You can run for weight loss for 20 minutes, but if you're going so fast you feel exhausted and never do it again, you've defeated the point. So when you do run for 20 minutes you should do it at a comfortable speed, one you can maintain for that length of time.
This is why I mentioned jogging. It's done at a speed of between 4 mph and 6 mph. This will ensure you're in the optimal fat burning zone and you'll burn the most calories for the time spent on the treadmill. Beginners tend to run too fast or do too much too soon. You may need to build up to even doing 20 minutes. You could do 5 minutes at first and increase it by 5 minutes every week, till you reach 20.
How long you should treadmill run for health benefits
The actual benefits to running on a treadmill start immediately. Any exercise you can do on a treadmill on a regular basis will do you good. However, for the recognized health benefits the CDC recommends jogging for 75 minutes per week. Jogging or faster is classed as vigorous physical activity.
The 75 minutes per week can be divided into 10 minute segments. So you could do 10 minutes every day with one being slightly longer at 15 minutes. However it's good to have a rest day so 15 minutes a day 5 times a week works. However you want to divide it up as long as it's convenient for when you can fit it into your schedule.
The benefits are reducing your risk of many diseases, cancers and heart problems. It strengthens your bones and muscles. It improves your mental health and mood. You will generally live longer. If you can double that activity time so that is 150 minutes per week you get even greater health benefits the CDC says. However any you can fit into your time is a good thing.
Training for a race on a treadmill
Sometimes you've got to train for a race on a treadmill. Whether it's the outside weather or some other reason. We would always recommend you do one run outside per week if that's where the race is taking place. Training depends on how far the race is and how long it would take you to run that far.
If you have a race of 5k which is 3.1 miles and you run 10 minutes per mile (6 mph) then it will take you around 31 minutes to complete the course. You should then build up your running time on the treadmill to exceed that. Try running to 40 minutes the week before then when you encounter the race you'll find it easier as you've run further than that distance already.
Do that with the other distances too. Work out how long they'll take you depending on your speed and look to do longer than that a few weeks before the race. This will make the race feel easier and you'll increase your performance. I don't recommend you run at race pace for these long runs and don't exceed the time it will take you to run a marathon in your training. You need to save that for the race itself.
You may want to do some speed work in your training runs. These are designed for treadmill running and will enable you to run faster in your normal runs. If your race has hilly parts of the course you can also repeat that on a treadmill. Try using the incline to replicate those hills. Here are some training routines for different races:
Whatever you're running for there is time investment required. Exercising is not something you can dip in and out of. Especially if it's for one of the reasons above. Whether it's for your health, for weight loss or for a race you have quite a commitment when it comes to it. That's why a treadmill is so convenient. Where ever you stop on a treadmill you're always at the beginning instead of miles from home.
If you're running for weight loss and health benefits then we recommend you combine the 2. By doing what we recommend you run for health benefits you will get all the weight loss benefits as well. That is jogging or faster for 75 minutes a week. You can do that all in 3 times a week or spread it out to 7 days a week it's up to you.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here's my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*