Ladder workouts – or speed sessions with intervals that build in increments – are a great way to work both speed and distance into a single session.
This beginner version gradually increases the length of your run/recovery intervals by one minute (rather than calling for a series of equal-length intervals) before steadily decreasing your intervals by the same one-minute increments.
Start with a five-minute warm-up at a comfortable pace. Your hard run should be at “race pace,” meaning it should feel difficult but not be an all-out sprint (in other words, not so hard that you can’t maintain it for the duration of the interval).
Jog recovery segments at an easy pace where it’s comfortable to maintain a conversation, and end the workout with a five-minute cool-down and stretch.
Use this workout whenever you feel the need to spice up your routine between races, and use it bi-weekly during training to help build your speed, confidence and endurance, regardless of race distance.
While I can’t promise the entertainment level (or cool factor) of this ‘dancing treadmill guy,’ I do have a workout that’ll help make your next trip to the gym a lot more efficient.
It’s a cardio-strength hybrid where you’ll be hopping off the treadmill every five minutes to complete a few moves, so find a spot where you can easily maneuver back and forth without losing your machine between sets.
Before you know it, you’ll have three miles and a total body strength training session under your belt.
Now, that’s something Treadmill Guy can get behind.
Get fitter, faster with this speedy interval workout, which I like to use when trying to pick up my overall pace.
It starts with a slow warm-up to get the blood flowing, then mixes short sprints (at a 7mph pace) with three-minute ‘climbing’ recovery segments (6.1-6.4mph) throughout the course of the workout.
Tweak this to suit your individual need for speed by adjusting the paces accordingly. Just make sure you start with an easy enough recovery pace and keep ‘climbing’ each time to gently challenge your body to recover at a faster pace.
As soon as this workout starts feeling too easy, push the sprint speed up slightly and/or adjust the recovery pace up. The first minute of recovery should feel tough, but then your energy should pick up over the next two minutes so you feel peppy enough to be able to tackle the next sprint segment.
If you’re nodding your head at the cartoon above, I’ve got a great workout for you!
Below is my boredom-busting treadmill routine. It’s designed to distract, so over the course of 30 minutes, you’ll be constantly adjusting your speed. And as an added benefit, this interval approach aids in burning extra calories.
So crank up the tunes, get in the zone, and watch the minutes fly by…
A few things to keep in mind:
- Maintaining an incline of one percent throughout the workout can help prevent shinsplints
- Listen to your body: If any pace feels too fast, modify to suit your fitness level
- Calorie burn will vary based on a number of factors: Age, weight, intensity and efficiency, to name a few
- Finally, be sure to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program!
For someone who is admittedly not much of a math person (apologies to my engineer father), I can get pretty nerdy about numbers when it comes to running.
Ask me to do much more than tally a restaurant tip, and I’ll most likely feign a hearing problem. But start a conversation about stats such as personal records and pacing, and I’m a bonafide mathlete!
I love playing with pacing as a way to motivate myself during workouts, especially on the treadmill: Can I run negative splits, doing each mile just a bit faster that the last? What’s my average pace, and will I be able to decrease it over time? How far can I run in 30 minutes? How quickly can I run a 5K?
But while trying to convert the treadmill’s miles-per-hour readout to my pace per mile can help kill some time, sometimes you just want to focus on the task at hand, so here’s a handy conversion chart. Check it out if you’re curious about how fast you’re going, both per mile and per hour.
Note: Treadmills are notoriously inaccurate, especially if you don’t calibrate it with your personal information, so expect a small margin of error when it comes to exact speed, distance and amount of calories burned.