An 8-Minute Treadmill Workout That’s Actually Fun

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An 8-Minute Treadmill Workout That’s Actually Fun

Ever heard of the 10-20-30 workout? The training protocol refers to a specific interval format: run, bike row, etc. at a gentle pace for 30 seconds (low), accelerate for 20 seconds (medium) then push it for an all-out, 10-second sprint (high). Then repeat the set all over again. (Yes, the numbers are flip-flopped, but we didn’t create the name, so let’s roll with it.) This easy-to-follow program has been shown to help improve runners’ speed while being deemed more enjoyable.

Although the study isn’t new, everyone is talking about it again. And the bottom line is that going all out for 10 seconds is totally doable—and it delivers the results you’re looking for.

Want to give this sequence a go? We tapped Luke Lombardo, senior coach at Mile High Run Club in New York City, for an eight-minute 10-20-30 style treadmill workout (plus a warm-up and cool-down). “It is the perfect way to boost your metabolism and burn fat, while having fun at the same time,” he says. Plus, on a summer weekend, we know you want a workout that delivers results without being a time-suck.

The Workout

Incline: Keep the treadmill at a 1.0 incline throughout the entire workout.

Warm-Up: Start with a 5-minute easy jog at a pace where you can hold a conversation.

Perform 4 Rounds Of:

  • 30 seconds of a light jog (4-6 mph)
  • 20 seconds of a fast, but controlled run (7-9 mph, think 10K race pace, or a speed in which you could only say a few words)
  • 10 seconds of an all-out sprint (10-12 mph, think you’re seconds from the finish line)
  • Recover for 1 minute (you can choose either a fast walk or light jog)

Cooldown: End with a 5-minute jog at a pace where you can hold a conversation.

About the Author

SELF is the ultimate wellness resource and community. We recognize that wellness is as much about self-expression and self-esteem as it is about exercise and nutrition; that it’s not an all-or-nothing lifestyle; and that every person’s individual goals for healthy living are different, and that’s OK. We’re here to celebrate, motivate, support, inform and entertain you—and make you laugh, too. Join the conversation and catch the latest SELF news, recipes, advice, laughs and more on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.


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33 responses to “An 8-Minute Treadmill Workout That’s Actually Fun”

  1. Fantastic !! Nice post, you have given some easy practical tips to help people. Specially the Workout section is really good. Great article.

  2. Avatar Cynthia Roberts says:

    Is there a workout for people who had a total knee replacement and can’t run on the treadmill

    • Avatar monotone2k says:

      If you can’t run, walk. If you’re looking for a workout that doesn’t involve impact, swim.

    • Avatar Barbara says:

      Try the Walk to the Beat mp4 music player from Leslie Swansone’s Walk at Home. Comes with everything you need. Good beat, encouraging words, great rhythms to the music. Got it on Amazon. Just got it a week ago and had to start only doing the first three songs, now up to 5. If you do three songs, she says you have done a mile. Pretty good pace. Had my second knee replacement in mid June. Hope you are doing fine.

  3. Avatar Alison says:

    I don’t mean to be pedantic but this is an 18 minute workout – not an eight minute workout and what exactly is FUN about it? It doesn’t mean I won’t give it a try but its still just walking and running on a treadmill

    • Avatar Robert says:

      What did you think it was going to be, cartwheels?

    • Avatar DetroitSinkhole says:

      Take what you need and leave the rest. The workout can be adapted to any time period. It gives you the ratio of increments so improvise based on what works for you. No need to trash the article or the author, who, based on the comments, has written something helpful and encouraging for most of the readers. Or perhaps you just needed to use the word pedantic in a sentence.

    • Avatar Stacy says:

      Breaking your run up into intervals changes up the routine. When you change a routine it can be fun. All workouts are just that, working out. We pick something we enjoy doing and if it becomes dry we change it up to make it fun, but at the end of the day it’s still whatever it is. Tennis is tennis, soft ball is soft ball, biking is biking. But change the game or rules or scenery and it can become fun. That’s the point the author was making. Perhaps running is just not your thing. That’s fine but let’s not be negative. The eight minutes is based on the intervals. That was pretty obvious. The total time with warm ups and cool down is 18 minutes.

    • Avatar Leonard Dumire says:

      It’s actually a FOURTEEN minute workout..5 minute warmup + four (4) intervals equaling one minute each (4 minutes total) plus 5 minute cool down =
      14 minutes total.
      I agree its a good program, similar to what I do…..but please get some basic math and writing skills when giving out advice on a site this big.

      • Avatar Jennifer says:

        You’re omitting the 1 minute recovery with each round. That adds up to 8 minutes for the workout, plus 5 minutes on either end for warm up and cool down.

    • Avatar Jennifer says:

      I’ve tried this workout, and I think the “fun” is in frequently changing the speed on the treadmill while trying not to fall on your face, and having everyone else around you think you’re having a hard time deciding what speed you actually want and being annoyed with the loud beeping that comes with adjusting the speed every 10, 20, or 30 seconds. And then, once you feel like no one cares anymore, the workout is over.

      It’s a great workout, but it’s a real pain in the butt to do, at least on the treadmills at my gym, which don’t seem to have an easy way to set the speeds to automatically adjust for you.

    • Avatar Veronika Noble says:

      It’s short bursts of challenge! I love interval training for I get bored easily. orange theory fitness best gym out there! Just remind yourself how much your body enjoys the short bursts of activity! Both your heart and your mind will benefit!

  4. Avatar Lori Perkins says:

    This must be for runner because I could never keep up with the speeds. To bad because I was looking for something fun to do on my treadmil

    • Avatar Robert says:

      I don’t think they’ll kick you out of the 18 minute treadmill workout club if you lower the speeds to a tolerable level for you. I could be wrong tho.

    • Avatar April Spencer Archer says:

      Adjust the speed for you. Start with a slow jog, increase your speed as recommended to a faster pace, your pace may be slower but everyone is indevidual so be sure your pace is such that you can say a few words. Finally run as fast as YOU can. You will find that YOUR pace will become faster in time. Patience and perseverance. Have fun!

    • Avatar Ian says:

      Use the talking guidelines as your speed indicator. If you can still say a few words while jogging= Slow pace, Only a word or two at a time is=Medium pace, all out for ten seconds is just as fast as you can go=High. Ignore the absolute mph speeds indicated they are just an average for people who have begun running already. You will see that your speed/ fitness level will increase over just a few runs. Good luck and go for it- your pace is for YOU, it works the same !!

    • Avatar DetroitSinkhole says:

      I am a beginner runner (at 50+ years old) and these speeds are probably a stretch for me but I have learned to take what I need and adapt it. I started out with the couch to 5K(C25K) app and could barely run for a minute and a half but ran a 5k after just 10 weeks and was very slow but made it without walking, which was my goal. I also watched lots of videos on youtube for beginner running and breathing tips. I made major improvements once I started running outdoors and it’s fun tracking my runs with Runkeeper. Both apps I mentioned are free so I am not trying to promote them….just find them very useful. Good luck.

      • Avatar mellody J Halvorsen says:

        Thank you. Your post is encouraging. I have just started back up after 20+ years off. I am 56 and need to get in better shape. I mostly do the treadmill in the mornings before word. But I am going to try this.

  5. Avatar Michele Marks says:

    I’m going to try this. I’m not a runner, but I’d like to find joy in a good run. I have friends who love it. I need to start somewhere, and this sounds like the place.

    • Avatar DetroitSinkhole says:

      I started with a “couch to 5k” app…..there are several of them out there. And I signed up for a 5k that was 10 weeks away to keep me going. It was very doable. A big part of it for me was gaining the confidence as my ability increased and the app does this with baby steps. If you need to, you can repeat a week, or, if it’s too easy, move on to the next week. Either way, I constantly felt a sense of accomplishment and improvement so it kept me going. At first it was just me challenging myself to run a 5k. Now, I actually enjoy it…..but it took awhile for me to get to the “enjoyment” stage. Good luck to you.

    • Avatar Ray says:

      I love running. I used to dread it, but then I discovered headphones and house music

  6. Avatar skillet_tosser says:

    This sounds like a great way to get the blood pumping and build some speed into my running. Intervals like this make workouts fly by so fast.

  7. Avatar luke says:

    Wish my treadmill went more than 4mph 🙁

  8. Avatar SuperBoppy says:

    This would probably work well on an exercise bike as well.

  9. Avatar Gerry Kurth says:

    I do interval running on a treadmill: roughly 50% at 7MPH and 50% at 3MPH excluding warm up and cool downs (he explains pedantically). Appr 2 minute cycles. Any thought on how that stacks up to the cycles described?

  10. Avatar NikL says:

    This will only work on a manual treadmill. The electric ones can not adjust the speed that quickly.

  11. Avatar Dan-o says:

    yeah run 10 to 12 mph lmao is this a joke!

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