When I was training for my April half marathon last year, at least two of my weekly runs were done on the treadmill. It's just what had to happen. Since I find the treadmill desperately boring, I tried all kinds of workouts to help me get through the runs. Some workouts were OK, some were really pretty good, and one was awesome. I fell in love with one awesome, easy, fun workout that I believe helped me finish faster than I had expected. I don't remember where I got the workout, so I can't give proper credit, which is too bad because it deserves it.
For some reason, I stopped doing the workout after the half. I don't know why, other than I rarely ran on the 'mill after April so I didn't need special workouts. Now, training for the marathon, I'm back at it. And I love it.
So, for those of you who have been slogging through treadmill runs, I'll share this bad boy with you. I promise you: It is easy. It is fun. It will make you faster.
Presenting . . .
1 mile warm-up (I start at about 10 min/mile pace and then go to a 9:30 pace for the last quarter mile)
12-15 bursts: 2 minute cycles of 30 seconds at 5K pace (I do 7:12) and then 90 seconds easy (I do 9:30 pace)
1 mile cool-down (I start at 9:30 and slow down each quarter mile)
That is it.
You can do anything for 30 seconds, especially run at your 5K pace. If you are training for a half or full marathon, the 30 second 5K pace bursts will help keep some speed in your legs. If you're training for a shorter race, you'd probably want to go slightly faster than 5K pace in order to get the most benefit from the workout, and you could probably run fewer bursts. If you're not training for anything but you just want to keep your mileage up this winter, these bursts will take some of the boredom out of treadmill running.
So, have at it, friends. Enjoy!
Have a great weekend, everyone!