In a perfect world, we all would run outside, in 50 degree weather, on a soft path through a beautiful park. The reality however is that sometimes due to travel, or temperature or other circumstances we are stuck on the dreadmill. Treadmill workouts can indeed be boring, but they also have their benefits. They are predictable. You can choose the pace and incline, the temperature inside is controlled, and it allows you to work out in a safe environment if you are alone.
Here are four workouts from runnersworld.com that can make your treadmill workouts a bit more exciting.
1. The Speed Demon.
Run easily for 10 minutes, then set the treadmill at a speed about 20 seconds per mile faster than your best recent 5-K pace. Run three 3-minute repeats at this speed, alternating with 3 minutes of very slow jogging. After completing a set of three repeats and recovery jogs, rest for 5 minutes by jogging. Then run a second set of three repeats and recovery jogs. When finished, run easily for 5 minutes to cool down.
2. The Progression.
Begin with a 10-minute warmup, and then set your treadmill at a speed about 15 seconds per mile faster than your best recent 5-K pace (this new pace becomes your 5-K goal pace). For your first treadmill workout at this pace, run continuously for 5 minutes. Finish the workout with 10 to 20 minutes of easy cool-down running. For each of the next 10 weeks, run the same workout but increase the time you spend at your goal pace by 1 minute per week. At the end of 10 weeks, you should be able to run a 5-K race at your goal pace.
3. Indoor Hills.
Warm up for 10 minutes, then set the treadmill at your approximate marathon pace. (If you've never run a marathon, estimate your marathon time by multiplying your typical 10-K time by 4.65.) With the treadmill elevated 1 degree, run for 2 minutes at marathon pace, then elevate the incline to 2 degrees and run for 2 minutes. Next return to 1 degree for 2 minutes, but then climb to 3 degrees for 2 minutes. Continue in this manner, raising the grade on every other 2-minute repeat until you've reached 7 degrees (the inclination pattern is 1-2-1-3-1-4-1-5-1-6-1-7). If you feel exhausted before you reach 7 degrees, stop, and don't let it worry you. Try the workout several more times and you'll develop the ability to handle the hills. Finish the workout by running an easy 8- to 10-minute cooldown.
4. The Broderick Crawford.
This workout gets its name from its "10-4" pattern, a familiar phrase to fans of the old Highway Patrol TV series. Begin by warming up for 10 minutes, then run for 10 minutes at your current 10-K race pace. Jog very easily for 4 minutes to recover, then surge again for 10 minutes at your 10-K tempo. Recover for 4 minutes, and complete the workout with 10 minutes of easy cool-down running.