my go-to treadmill workouts

St. Louis has been getting a ridiculous amount of snow this winter season.  It is actually one of the snowiest January’s we’ve had on record.  Although I don’t really mind snow (it makes the cold weather so much more bearable), it makes it difficult to get my training runs in.  Luckily, I wasn’t snowed in today (I had to skip my run last night because I got home too late), so I hit up the gym on my way home from work (hard to “work” when there aren’t any kids for daycare) to use the treadmill.


My commute home from work around 10 this morning.  This is a HIGHWAY, not a side street.  Ah, the freedom of no lines… I promise I was really careful with driving and taking this picture, Mom.

I’m not a big fan of running on the treadmill, but I’ll do it if i absolutely must (usually when it’s icy/snowy, storming, and/or dark).  My favorite workouts to do on the treadmill are speed workouts – they make the time go by so much faster because of the constant change in speed or incline.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • Tempo:  This was today’s run and also my favorite.  I usually go for a set amount of time (40 minutes today) and see how much distance I can cover in that amount of time.  A mini competition, if you will.  There are a few ways I do my treadmill tempos…
    • Gradual Build-up.  Divide the time by 10.  For example, 40 minutes divided by 10 is 4.  So, every 4 minutes I would increase the speed by 0.2mph.  You can do this until you reach the halfway point and then go down by 0.2mph every 4 minutes until you reach 40 minutes, OR keep increasing until you reach a max speed you want to hit and then cool down for the remainder of the time at a comfortably slow speed.  I started at 7.0mph today and reached 8.6mph, then cooled down at 7.0mph again for the last 4 minutes.
    • Easy-Hard-Easy.  This one is better for shorter runs of 20-30 minutes.  For a 30 minute run, I will run easy for 10 minutes, at my 5K or 10K pace for 10 minutes, and return to easy running for the last 10 minutes.  (This is my go-to when I do my tempos outside since there is a clearer speed change.)
  • Repeats:  These can range from short 200-400m repeats to longer 800m-1 mile repeats.  I start with a 1 mile warmup then go right into my designated number of repeats.  Between each repeat, I do an equal distance recovery before going into the next repeat.  For example, if I’m running 400s, I do a 400 recovery jog (or you can walk too) and then move right to the next one.  Finish with a 1 mile cool down.
    • You can also do these by time since sometimes it is hard to measure out 200, 600, or 1200 meters on a treadmill.  Go for 1 or 2 minutes and then recover for 1 or 2 minutes.
  • Hills:  These are by FAR the hardest (for me, at least) to do on a treadmill.  I did these the other day and they  Pick a set distance for the hill, usually about 400m (any longer gets ridiculously hard).  After your warmup, increase the incline to 6-8% and the speed to something you can keep comfortably for the duration of the hill.  For example, I started with an easy jog, then increased the incline to 8% and my speed to a little faster than my average pace.  My goal is to be able to do these on the treadmill at my 5K pace, but right now, that’s just not possible.  Once you’ve finished your hill, decrease your incline back to 1.0% (this is actually flat ground – NOT 0%) and your speed back to a jog for the same distance as your hill.  And of course, cool down for a mile after you’ve finished them all.
    • Like the repeats, you can always do these for time instead of distance!

These are my go-to workouts, but I KNOW there are a ton more out there you can find at Runner’s World or any other running related site or blog.  Tempos, repeats, and hills keep me occupied much more than just plain ol’ running and make the time FLY by!

I think that exciting tempo I did today definitely calls for some delicious SNOW ICE CREAM!

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The photo on the left is last week’s snow, the right is today.  Oh yeah, and there is a bowl somewhere under that snow on the table.