With running season on the horizon, more people are pounding the pavement. If the weather isn’t cooperating, or you just want to get away from the masses outside, treadmill workouts can be very effective. They can also be boring.
Beat the dread of the tread with nonstop speed intervals. Interval training breaks up your total workout into these tiny, more manageable increments. One minute of running sounds a heck of a lot better than 20, right? It’s a mind game, but it works!
Speed intervals are also great for increasing your overall fitness and fastness. Pushing the envelope — even for just a minute — trains your legs to move at a higher cadence. The more you do speed work, the more your body will adapt to these faster paces (5K PR, anyone?).
Bring a towel and water bottle, hop on a treadmill and get started with this customizable 20-minute routine:
Trainer tip: always run on a 0.5 – 1.0 incline to mirror the terrain outside. Otherwise, you’ll feel as if you’re running downhill (which sounds great, but does you no favors).
4-minute warm-up @ 4.0 – 5.5 mph
1 minute @ 7.0*
2 minutes @ 6.0
1 minute @ 7.2
2 minutes @ 6.2
1 minute @ 7.4 (starting to notice a pattern?)
2 minutes @ 6.4
1 minute @ 7.6
1 minute @ 6.6 (just when you thought you had the pattern down)
1 minute @ 7.8
4 minutes recovery/cool-down
*Feel free to adjust these speeds up or down, depending on your fitness level.
Post-workout, be sure to stretch…a LOT! Speed drills call on your fast-twitch muscle fibers, which can tighten up quickly once you stop moving. Runners are especially prone to tight iliotibial (IT) bands, hamstrings and calves. Using a foam roller will relieve some of the tension. Have high arches? A massage ball is your new best friend. While seated, step on the ball and roll it all over, focusing on the trigger spots. Simply stand up if you want to add pressure and get deeper into the fascia.
Liz Lotts is a personal -trainer-turned-triathlete who is admittedly addicted to long distances and wants to share her real-life lessons as an endurance athlete. Tweet her @Lottsomiles if you have questions, quirky comments or inspirational quotes to share.