Fitness Tips

How Long Should I Run on the Treadmill?

The treadmill is the staple of every gym. No matter where you go, you will find plenty of them – just as common in-home personal gyms. The purpose? Burning calories and getting toned from the comfort of your home.

My treadmill is one of my favorite pieces of fitness equipment. I love running for miles, and I totally understand those who run because they have to, but they find it boring and exhausting. You are not alone.

Now, how much time do you actually need to run on a treadmill? How long does it take to see some results? Are you overworking yourself or are you actually slacking? Here is everything you need to know about the duration of your workouts.

What is Your Goal?

To determine the amount of time you will need to run on a treadmill you have to factor in your goals

You need to be aware of your goal before I can tell you how long you should be running on a treadmill and what workouts you should be doing.

Everybody is different but generally, people who use the treadmill have similar goals in mind – burning fat, right? Long-term goals make the difference though.

For example, the most common use of a treadmill is to lose weight and burn fat. Some other people go in a different direction – they could do with some extra strength, resistance, stamina and endurance. If you are getting ready for a race, running on a treadmill will also add to your stamina.

We will be discussing all these goals in this article so by the end of it, you will have a crystal clear idea of how much time you need to spend on a treadmill to achieve your desired goal.

How Long Do I Need to Run on A Treadmill to Burn Fat?

Running is the most accessible way to exercise and burn fat

Running is one of the most common things you think about when you want to lose some weight. It is the easiest and most accessible workout that you can do. Basically, you need an open space and a bit of time on your hands. Just go running – on a field, a track, in a gym, around the block and so on.

This is the most popular option out there and it has been a primary choice for people all over the world. Advanced fitness gadgets make it easier these days because you can use a treadmill in the comfort of your home. There is no need to go to a gym or run around in circles around your neighborhood. 

A lot of treadmills come this modern screens these days, also there are a lot of interactive apps that give you the option to run with other people from all over the world, A popular app like Zwift for example has many treadmills that are compatible with it, so no need to set it up on your end.

How Much Time Do I Need on A Treadmill to Get Into Shape?

How long you need to run on a treadmill to get in shape comes down to your current physique

Just as losing weight and burning fat, running is also a very common idea among those who want to get into shape. Running is still common today among both amateurs and professional athletes. Just like it comes to losing weight, treadmills are just as common when you simply want a better physical condition.

You get a bunch of different options with a treadmill because you can force yourself to change the speed or perhaps the angle. The setting is comfortable and offers numerous choices for your workouts – all you need is a bit of will.

How Much Time Do I Need to Gain Strength and Muscle Mass?

Running on a treadmill offers a great cardio and adds to your workout

If your goal is to build muscles and gain an overall stronger body, running on the treadmill is not just good cardio, but also a good addition to your workout routine.

You just cannot go wrong with it. Just like running outdoors, running on a treadmill will work on most muscle groups and help with your cardiovascular health – great cardio also helps muscles get stronger due to the extra oxygen they receive.

At the same time, you can use the treadmill to perform upper body exercises, which are indirectly connected to lower body muscle groups. In other words, your whole body will benefit from a decent workout for your muscles.

How Much Time Do I Need for Extra Stamina and Endurance While Training for A Race?

Working on your endurance and stamina is essential before taking part in a race

Are you planning to run in a marathon or a race? You just cannot attend such events without proper training. You need to start training weeks or even months ahead, especially when it comes to stamina and endurance – this is when running on a treadmill is no longer a choice, but a must.

Indeed, you can go outside and run around, but doing it on an indoor treadmill will make it more comfortable, provide different options and save you lots of time. Change the speed, challenge yourself, increase the inclination angle and so on. Mimic running uphill and do all these while watching TV.

How Long You Should Run on A Treadmill by Goals

How long you should run on a treadmill by goals

Now, why do you want to run? What is your goal? The treadmill can definitely help in a plethora of different situations. Knowing what you want in the future will push you in the right direction, so you will know precisely how hard to push for it.

Burning Fat and Losing Weight

If your goal is to lose weight, then shoot for two sessions a day

If losing weight is your primary goal, aim for two different workouts a day. You can do one in the morning and another one in the afternoon.

The first workout should not exceed 60 minutes, but make sure you do it intensively and challenge yourself. You do not have to aim for exhaustion though. A good workout will easily burn 300 calories. The more intense you are, the more you will get. Some people can easily exceed 600 calories within an hour.

The second workout is more suitable if you cannot have 60 minutes for your first one. Even if you do, it still pays off pushing for a second routine. Opt for a HIIT workout for around 20 minutes. You will also manage to lose about 300 calories – even more if you are lucky.

Workout to burn fat and lose weight

If your goal is to lose weight, then shoot for two sessions a day

You do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to use a treadmill, but there are still a few common mistakes you should be aware of in order to maximize your HIIT workout. Here are the steps.

  • Warm up first. Do not spend more than five minutes. You can jog or just walk at a fast pace.
  • Pump up the speed gradually and start jogging faster and faster. If you are new to this, go up to 6.5MPH and adjust it from there. If you are more experienced, go up to 12MPH and figure it out later. Stick to this speed for about 30 seconds.
  • Rest for a minute by walking on the treadmill and go back to high speed runs.
  • Feel free to incline the running platform if you want to challenge yourself even more.
  • Repeat for up to 20 minutes.

Here is a video of what HIIT workouts on a treadmill look like.

Getting Into Shape

You can get into shape by working out on a treadmill but you have to put in the time and work

Getting into shape is difficult, but not impossible. A treadmill will help you reach your goals, but it obviously requires time, patience and persistence. Getting into shape goes in more direction – you will need to lose a bit of fat here and there, gain some tone over there and so on.

One workout a day will get you there in the long run. However, it will take time. Since such a workout will take about 10 minutes, you can have plenty of them everyday. Whenever you find a moment, simply start all over again. You can have one in the morning before work, another one when you get back and one more in the evening, you can also use the incline feature if the treadmill you are using has incline, to get more resistance and get in shape faster .

Workout to get into shape

Workout on a treadmill to get in shape  is possible, but you need to do it right
  • Warm-up for a few minutes, whatever works for you – up to five minutes. You can take a walk at a fast pace on the treadmill or jog.
  • Increase the spit and go up to 10MPH. It is an accessible speed regardless of your fitness level – suitable for beginners and more experienced people. Stick to this speed for about a minute.
  • Reduce the speed to 5MPH and take a fast pace walk for around 10 seconds.
  • Repeat the alternating speeds for around 10 minutes.

From many points of view, this workout is similar to a classic HIIT workout. It is not that intense though. Resting times are also lower, while you can exercise at a higher intensity for longer. The way it is designed will intensify the pressure on your body and help you get in shape in no time.

Here is an explanatory video on how to do this workout.

Building Muscle and Strength

It might not sound very practical, but building strength and muscle mass on a treadmill is very possible

Weight lifting is the best way to gain muscle and strength, but you can get there with nothing but a treadmill too. Apart from running, you can do a bunch of other workouts on the treadmill that do not involve weights. Moreover, such a workout will last for about 15 minutes, so you can have it a few times a day. Be careful though, if you have had knee injuries in the past, running on the treadmill can be bad for your knees if done incorrectly.  

Workout to build muscle and strength

Contrary to common belief that you have to use weights to build muscle, you can actually do it on a tread

There are more types of exercises that you can do and they will all work on your strength and particular muscles. Here are the most popular ones.

  • Side stepping – instead of walking forward on a treadmill, you can step laterally. Basically, you perform a lateral walk at a lower speed – whatever works for you to avoid falling. It will work on your obliques, abs, thighs and hips.
  • Crossovers – This is a more advanced exercise, so start with side stepping. Once you master it, it will work on the exact same areas, but it will do it in a more efficient manner. It is similar to side stepping, but it has a different tempo.
  • Squatting – Squats are the base of all lower body workouts. Squatting on a moving treadmill is not suitable for beginners, so you need some experience. There are more types of squats you can do – reverse jump, jump or side squats, just to name a few.

Perform the exercise you can for about a minute, then take a 15-second rest while you walk. The workout can go for up to 15 minutes. You can stick to one exercise or another or perform all of them.

Here is a video of how these exercises should be performed.

Getting Ready for A Race or Marathon

Running on a tread is one of the best ways to prepare for a race or marathon

The treadmill is a must if you are getting ready for a race or marathon. You can run outside, but the treadmill is more versatile and convenient – plus, it provides lots of analytics.

Workout for getting ready for a race or marathon

To get ready for your race, your workout on the tread needs to be as efficient as it can get

Here are the steps for an efficient workout.

  • Warm up for about five minutes.
  • Get the speed up to 12MPh and start running. Stick to this speed for about a minute.
  • As you get used to it, increase the inclination angle by a few degrees. It depends on how much resistance you want – more is better, of course.
  • Set a goal or continue until you feel exhausted.

This video will give you a few insights on how to train for a race or marathon.

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Ben Mayz

Hi there! I'm Ben, main author and chief editor at I have been obsessed with Strength Training and Fitness for 16 years now. My passion for living a happy fit lifestyle is what made me realize that fitness is what I wanted for my future. I went on to earn my Masters in Sports Training & Biomechanics. My passion for Strength training & fitness and my love of helping others is what made me start Fitlifefanatics. Here, myself, and a team of specialist aim to provide the most accurate, and actionable information possible in hopes to help foster the fitness community forward. You can learn more about Fitlifefanatics on our About Page