My Top 4 Treadmill Workouts

snow-icy-hbee-road_2-778535The weather around here (as in most of North America) isn’t very pleasant right now. I will run outside in almost any conditions – rain, cold, extreme heat, etc.. But when it’s below zero or the roads are covered in snow and ice, there’s no choice but to take the runs indoors. I was proud of the fact that I went almost 2 years with running 2-3 times a week and never having to resort to the treadmill. That streak has ended…and lately I seem to be doing more workouts inside than out.

Treadmills are boring. Five minutes seems like twenty. A mile feels like two. It sucks. Even if you have a TV 18 inches from your face, it’s still painful to run on a treadmill. Not to mention that long-term use can really mess up your stride and cause injuries. I outlined some of the other differences between running on treadmills and roads in a post a few years ago, you can find it here.


Don’t be this guy!

So if you are like me and are stuck doing your runs indoors this time of year, you might want to give a few of these workouts a try:

1) Pyramid Intervals – After a 10 minute warm-up, where you gradually increase the speed, ramp up the speed to a pace that is a little faster than your 5K pace. Run 1 minute at this pace. Then slow it back down and recover for 1 minute. Then go back to the fast pace for 2 minutes, followed  by a 2 minute recovery. Repeat for 3 and 4 minutes, then drop back down through the intervals all the way down to 1 minute – for a total of seven (1 min.-2 min.-3 min.-4 min.-3 min.-2 min.-1 min.).

2) Tempo – This one is pretty simple. Turn on a TV show or a sporting event. Run at a comfortable pace while the show is on. Every time it goes to commercial, ramp up the speed to your 5K pace or faster. Run at this speed until the  commercial break is over and the show comes back on. Shoot for a 30-60 minute run. Another option – while watching a football or baseball game, run at a hard pace while one team is on offense and then switch to a recovery (easier) pace when the other team is on offense. Alternate back and forth for the entire workout.

3) Hills – After a 10 minute warm-up, ramp the incline up to 1.0%. Run at a comfortable pace for 5 minutes. Then increase the incline to 2.0% and do another 5 minutes at this incline. Put the incline back at 0% and do another 5 minutes. Repeat the 5 minute intervals at 1% and 2%. If you are feeling good on this seconds round you can either increase the speed or try 2.5% or 3.0% incline.

4) Lactate Threshold – 4 minutes at an easy pace, lower your speed by 2 mph for a 2 minute recovery. Increase speed to 1 mph above your speed for the first interval and do another 4 minutes, then lower your speed by 2 mph for a 2 minute recovery. Do two more 4 minutes intervals, each at 1 mph faster than the previous one. Each 2 minute recovery should be just 2 mph slower than the interval you just completed. Example: Your first interval is at 7.5 mph, recovery is at 5.5 mph. The second interval would be 8.5 mph with a 6.5 mph recovery. Interval three would be 9.5 mph with a 7.5 mph recovery. The final interval would be 10.5 mph with a 8.5 mph recovery. This workout will be very difficult, but it’s worth it!

Of course, you could always just set the speed to a comfortable pace and run steady for a hour…but what fun is that???!?!?

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