Gonzo Treadmill Workouts

By Rick Morris

Running on your treadmill is often more comfortable and in many ways, easier than running outside. When running on the treadmill you can avoid hot temperatures, rain, snow, ice and air pollution. Treadmill training is often easier due to the lack of wind resistance and the assistance of a moving belt. That doesn’t mean you can’t make treadmill training more difficult. You can! In fact, you can make it brutally difficult. Are you looking for some highly effective but outrageously challenging treadmill workouts? Here are just a few gonzo treadmill training runs. These workouts aren’t for everyone, but if you are looking for the supreme treadmill challenge, look no further.

The Treadmill Mountain Climb

Hill workouts are no big deal. Runners do them every day. This treadmill training run goes way beyond hill training; it becomes mountain training. Depending upon your treadmills maximum incline and your running speed, this gonzo mountain climb will result in an elevation gain of around 1/2 mile.

  • Description:  A progressive hill climb beginning at 1% incline and progressing to your treadmill maximum incline.
  • Pace: Run at your typical easy endurance run pace.
  • Incline: Begin at 1% incline and increase the incline by 1% every 1/4 mile or 400 meters. After you reach your treadmill maximum incline begin to decrease the incline by 1% every 1/4 mile or 400 meters until you reach 0% incline.
  • Recovery: No recovery

5 x 3 Minute Repeats with Increasing Elevation

This is a common distance runners workout. Why do I consider it a gonzo training run? Because when you do this one on the track or trail you tend to subconsciously slow down as you fatigue. The treadmill doesn’t allow you that luxury. It keeps up the same relentless pace throughout your workout. This gonzo treadmill run also adds in the additional difficulty of increasing incline.

  • Description: After a warm up, run 5 x 3 minute repeats at 3K pace or a very hard pace.
  • Pace: 3K or 2 mile race pace. This pace should feel very hard.
  • Incline: Run your first repeat at 0% incline and increase by 1% for each subsequent repeat.
  • Recovery: Recover between each 3 minute repeat with 2 minutes of complete rest.

Progressive 20 Mile Hill Run

Standard long runs are hard enough. This one takes the long run into gonzo territory by adding in elevation changes and a progressively increasing pace.

  • Description: 20 miles at a progressively faster pace with frequent elevation changes.
  • Pace: Run the first 10 miles at easy endurance pace, miles 11 to 16 at marathon pace, miles 17 to 19 at tempo pace and mile 20 at 5K pace.
  • Incline: Run the first 10 miles at 2% incline, miles 11 to 16 at 0% incline, miles 17 to 19 at 5% incline and mile 20 at 8% incline.
  • Recovery: None

Max Outs

This title says it all. Make sure you perform a thorough aerobic warm up and some dynamic flexibility drills before you start this gonzo run. Cold muscles and max outs do not play well together.

  • Description: Run between ten and twenty  –  30 second repeats at your maximum pace and incline.
  • Pace: Run at the fastest pace you can maintain without flying off the back of the treadmill.
  • Incline: Your treadmill maximum incline.
  • Recovery: Recover between each 30 second repeat with 1 minute of complete rest.