Six/Sevens – a treadmill incline workout

This workout was originally inspired by a treadmill workout found on “runner’s world” . The original workout goes like this:

1 Set: 90 seconds @ 6 percent grade and marathon pace
1-minute recovery @ flat jog
1 minute @ 7 percent grade and marathon pace
2-minute recovery @ flat jog

Do 6-10 sets.

I made some slight modifications to the workout, I didn’t do my marathon pace but instead ran consistently between a 9km/hr and 10 km/hr pace. This is slower than my marathon pace but I didn’t slow down for the “recovery at flat jog”. Personally I feel that changing both the speed and the incline at the same time very set would make this workout stressful. I also modified the times.

1 Set:90 seconds @ 6 percent grade (9km-10km/hr)
1 minute @ no incline(9km-10km/hr)
1 minute @ 7 percent grade(9km-10km/hr)
90 seconds @ no incline (9km-10km/hr)

I altered the “set” so that each one was 5 minutes, starting with a 5 minute warm up at a slow run. I then reset the treadmill and did 1 minute at 9.5km/hr before starting the 6 percent grade.

IMG_20140924_131121  There might be a way to set the treadmill to regularly change both the speed and the incline automatically but I prefer to have full control over my workout and opted to change the incline manually for every set. This can become frustrating, as the buttons on these screen controls are not always responsive, but it does keep you entertained as you fight to both jog and alter the incline.


I did this complete workout twice before reviewing it, the first time I had trouble gauging my ability at both the incline and speed. I started out at 9.2 km/hr and eventually moved up to 10km/hr towards the end of my workout.


Towards the finale of this first workout, I realized that I could run 10km in under an hour if I pushed it at the end. I vowed to stay at a 1 percent incline to mimic outdoor running but quickly broke down and raced to the finish at a 14km/hour pace for the final few minutes.

The result? I just made it, exhausted and exhilarated by making the mark but I also wasn’t jumping at the opportunity to repeat this exact workout. For my second run, I picked up the pace at the beginning, knowing that I could make the 10km/hr goal with consistency instead of a full out sprint at the end.

IMG_20140926_135411The result of this most recent workout, was perfect. I left the treadmill feeling content with my overall speed, putting in a good effort throughout, and looking forward to repeating this challenge in the future. I also had the opportunity to sprint at the end while doing 1 km at a 1 percent incline and the final km at no incline, I felt accomplished but not exhausted.

HeartrateThe heart rate monitor feedback was also interesting, showing that each recovery granted me some relief, although with declining rates of return towards the end of my workout.

Overall this workout definitely beat the tedium that I usually associate with the treadmill, I recommend trying it more than once, to get a pace that suits you and remember that you can start with 6 or fewer reps on an easy day, working up towards 10 on the harder days. The variety kept me from feeling too sore and it felt good to do some much needed hill training.



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