Treadmill workouts for the mountains

running cardio

Most of us have no time to train. No time to get climbing in altitude. Having a city life really plays havoc on our everyday training . Going to the gym is always the best way to stay fit and to increase your stamina before climbing mountains.

Running on treadmill is sometimes the only way to improve your stamina and to increase your cardio performance. The best way is to start with easy running programs at least 5 months before your expedition to be physically and mentally prepared.

1 – Increase incline

To simulate steep hills, gradually increase your incline on the treadmill. I increase my incline and speed every 3/4mn after a 10/15mn warm-up. You can also do a pyramid workout; run at a fast pace from 30s to 2mn (depending on your training program and fitness) followed by a slow pace run to recover. Repeat the work-and-rest intervals for at least 30mn per session depending on your fitness and goals. To strengthen my legs and boost my endurance (and to fight boredom), I also do some bike and Kettlebell exercises.

2 – Monitor your cardio condition

Use a heart monitor belt and keep an eye on your heart-rate (you can also download an App on your mobile). Do not hesitate to adapt your training program. The main objective is to keep your heart rate as low as possible during your session when gradually increasing incline and speed.

3 – Increase speed

Increasing speed and inclines help building your stamina. Challenge yourself and include to your training a few bursts of speed to push your limits (depending to your level of fitness). Push beyond what you usually do weeks before your expedition. Start at moderate speed and speed up your pace to increase your cardio performance. Keep on monitoring your heart rate and try to maintain your heart beat in the green zone.

4 – Eat, drink and breathe

Eat 4 hours before your training session. Carbohydrates, heart healthy fats (fish oil) and proteins will help muscles to stay in shape. Drink a lot to avoid exhaustion and muscle pain. Breathing properly is also essential to maintain continuous work and to ease the oxygen transfer to red blood cells. In altitude, the lack of oxygen will harm your body and reduce the oxygenation. Having a regular running program will help you optimizing the process of adding oxygen to the red blood cells. Never forget to stretch after each running exercise and practise some yoga to learn how to breathe properly.

Running on a treadmill may not be as fun as running outdoors but it will surely build up your endurance. The incline is not as good as walking uphill but it can simulate a generous uphill climb. After some time, weight your backpack and start running with a loaded rucksack, 4kg is great as it is the exact weight of your oxygen cylinder in altitude.

I suggest that you go running outdoors whenever possible and follow the recommendations of a personal trainer to add some fun to your daily training.


I am a full-time blogger, an entrepreneur and an avid traveller. I share my travel experiences and inspiring mountain and trekking adventures through stories, photos and videos to help you explore the world. As a photographer, I invite you to travel with me to some exciting corners of the world to discover your own dream destination. Life is short, keep your dreams big !

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