The treadmill is a much more powerful training tool than most people realize. It allows for more creative workout programming, allowing you to challenge your body in ways beyond simply getting a few miles in at a steady pace.
Anyone from casual joggers to racers can master the machine. Instead of watching TV and slogging through a couple steady-pace miles, make the most of your workout with purposeful and structured training. Here are a few workouts that will take your run to the next level by focusing on two key elements: duration and intensity.
1. Hill Repeats
Hill repeats are a great way to strengthen the hamstrings and glutes and train outside of your comfort zone. Dust off the incline button and try a 5% incline for 3 minutes followed by a two-minute easy recovery at a 1% incline. Repeat six times.
This is a classic. With a one-to-one ratio of work to recovery, you're sprinting as much as you're recovering. Sprint for 30 seconds, then jog for 30. Sprint for 60 seconds, then jog for 60. Sprint for 90, then jog for 90. Got it? Sandwich a two-minute walk in between the first set of 30-60-90-60-30 and start it all over again!
3. Progressive Twos
Run at threshold (88% maximum heart rate) for two minutes, followed by a two-minute easy recovery. Repeat six times but increase your speed by 0.2 MPH each time. You should be breathless by the last one.
Training for a race? Half marathon or full? Complete 70% of the distance at your target pace (if you're planning to run 10 miles, run 7 of them at your target pace). You can push yourself at the beginning, during the middle or during the end, but make sure to get your target pace in for 70% of the run (for me, target pace is threshold, which is 88% of my maximum heart rate).
5. Descending Fartlek
This is a favorite! Six minute push, three minute recovery, five minute push, two-and-a-half minute recovery, four minute push, two minute recovery, three minute push, one-and-a-half minute recovery, two minute push, one minute recovery, one minute push, thirty second recovery, thirty seconds ALL OUT! Walk for two minutes. Since recovery is always half of the “work,” as the intervals get shorter, your recovery speed will increase.
Complete these five routines on a treadmill to take your running workout to the next level. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!