Between the sloppy, muddy trails and Spring showers, unpredictable weather this time of year may be one reason to take refuge in your trusty ol' gym. Treadmills might feel safer and more controlled, but you might even find the workout feels a little easier. Don't sell yourself short! Use these tips to upgrade your treadmill time and maximize the benefits of your run.
To Burn More Calories
- Do intervals: Running at a consistent pace is great for longer training runs, but during shorter workouts, increase the intensity by including speed intervals. By alternating between running a few minutes at a moderate pace and throwing in bursts at a quicker pace (or even sprinting), you'll burn more calories, build endurance, and become a faster, stronger runner. Not to mention, intervals have also been proven to fight belly fat. Here's a 30-minute treadmill interval workout  for you to try.
- Gradually increase your speed throughout your workout: Running faster burns more calories, and since you don't want to start your run at a seven mile per hour (mph) pace, start out with a brisk walk (four mph) and every two to five minutes, give your speed a little push until you're running at a five to eight mph pace.
- Run longer: It's good to mix up the type of running workouts you do, so on days that you're not running intervals or building up speed, do a longer run at a consistent pace. If you run for 30 minutes (at a pace of 10 minutes per mile) you'll burn 270 calories . Forty-five minutes burns 405 calories, and an hourlong run burns 540 calories.
To Strengthen Your Muscles
- Raise the incline: Hills help to target your thighs, calves, and booty, so pump up the incline and you'll notice a little extra power in your lower body. Doing hill work will also help prevent shin splints.
- Incorporate walking lunges: Slow down the speed, take wider steps, and do walking lunges to tone your tush and legs.
- Let go of the handles and pump your arms: Using your upper body while running not only tones your biceps, triceps, and shoulders, but since you're balancing without holding on, you'll also tone your core.
To Increase Your Speed
- Incorporate tempo runs: If you want to run faster, you must practice running at a faster pace. Tempo work  involves running slightly faster than your normal, comfortable pace for a steady period of time. After warming up, set your desired pace on the treadmill and run. The treadmill is like a metronome forcing you to keep tempo.
- Practice negative splits: This technique involves running the second half of a run at a faster pace than the first half. It seems like it might make your total time slower, but conserving your energy in the beginning and allowing your muscles to warm up will actually help you comfortably increase your pace on the second half of your workout, so you end up with a faster time. Find more about the benefit of training with negative splits here .
- Include intervals with incline: Throughout your workout, periodically raise the incline for a few minutes to represent the hills you'd find on a trail run. Then when you lower the slope to a flat position, you'll feel stronger and be able to run much faster.