Occasionally, when needs must, we all have to turn to the treadmill for a run or too. For me, I tend to run most of my ‘speed sessions’ on the treadmill and the occasional other run. As I do most of my runs solo, that is to say on my own, I find it hard to maintain effort and pace on the speed sessions. This is where the treadmill helps. Sure, I know it is not as effective as running on the open road however, the benefits of being able to maintain the pace / efforts during the whole session outweigh the downsides.
Speed sessions are also a good way of maintaining your mental focus when using the treadmill too. Many of us would just give up and die of boredom 20 minutes into a run on the treadmill however, with a targeted speed session, most tend to be able to hold the focus and keep going. Some of my favourite treadmill speed sessions are listed below:
10 mins warm-up to get the blood flowing, then 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 followed by 10 mins warm-down jog. This session is 1 minute hard, 60s recovery, 2 mins hard, 60s recovery, 3 mins hard etc. I always try and run the second half harder (faster) than the first.
10 mins warm-up, then 6 x 3 mins hard (5k pace or less) off 90s slow jog recovery between each effort, followed by 10 mins warm-down. This is the classic speed / interval session and is easy to execute.
This is a little harder to focus on however, can be a real effective session. I usually start with 10 mins warm-up jog followed by 20-30 mins at tempo (that’s around my 10 mile pace) and finish off with 10 mins warm-down jogging.
This is a real cracker and is also VERY tough…I start with 5 mins warm-up jog, 8 mins at my lactate threshold, 2 mins easy jog then do 8 x 400m efforts at sub 5k pace off 60s SLOW jog recovery for the first 4, then have 60s/45s/30s/15s recovery on the second half. I then do 8 mins at lactate threshold, followed by 5-10 mins easy jogging. This one is brutally tough however, if you can do this for a few weeks you’ll soon start to feel the benefits.
Longer repeats can be great for developing your lactate threshold which, in turn, can lead to better race performances. One of my favourite long repeat sessions is the mile repeats. I usually start with 10 mins warm-up jog followed by 5 x 1 mile repeats at sub 10k pace off 90s jog recoveries, then finish off with my usual 10 mins warm-down jog.
So there you have it…if you’re forced into using treadmill the above sessions will help make it just a little more bearable.