When it comes to speed workouts, most runners head to the track for interval work. It turns out you may be overlooking a great tool for quickening your pace: the treadmill. Whether you love or hate the treadmill — and even if you hate the treadmill — you’ll have a new appreciation for the machine after you start using it for speedwork.
USING THE TREADMILL FOR SPEED TRAINING
In fact, the treadmill can even make speedwork more enjoyable, because you can control your external environment and run in your most-ideal temperature. Even better, there is little question as to whether or not you are hitting your goal pace on a treadmill.
“The treadmill is a great tool for specific speedwork because you can set the treadmill to the exact pace you are looking for,” explains Erin Truslow, founder of Big Pistachio Triathlon Coaching and Personal Training and author of “Treadmill Workouts.” “You can either warm up slowly to it or program it in and get going right away.”
Though runners of all levels can do speed work, Truslow advises making sure you have a solid base and can do some endurance running before attempting a speed workout. “Then if you are looking to increase your overall speed,” she continues, “add track workouts or a speed work session on the treadmill once a week.”
Here is a basic speed workout anyone can do on the treadmill, with a goal to build speed and anaerobic power. As you’ll see, there is a warmup and cooldown included, both of which are vital to your results and help you stay injury-free. “These are always important to any workout,” adds Truslow. “For example, the warmup prepares your body for the work it’s about to do, gets your heart rate elevated and core temperature up and helps prevent injury.”
30-MINUTE TREADMILL SPEED WORKOUT
Warmup: 7-minute easy jog, run or walk (depending on your level)
- Run 5 minutes at a strong effort (you should be breathing heavy, but not all out)
- 10 x 1 minutes fast (or sprint effort, all out); 45 seconds of easy jogging or walking
Cool down: 5 minutes of moderate-to-easy running, jogging or walking
Bonus: For an extra challenge, during each of the 10 x 1-minute sprint efforts, increase the treadmill speed 0.1 for at total of a 1.0 mph faster by the end of the session.