Treadmill Tempo Workout

As the temperatures are starting to drop at night my morning runs have been significantly cooler for the past few weeks, sometimes even a little chilly! I am definitely not complaining, because being a little chilly when I head out the door is a breath of fresh air after being swamped with humidity this summer.

As we get closer to fall goal races and all the seasonally themed 5ks, I got to thinking about some speed work (and my lack thereof this training season;) and was reminded of my old favorite tempo runs.

Last winter, I did most of my tempo runs on the treadmill because it was the easiest way to push myself to run faster when my legs were feeling lazy (and it was impossible to run even remotely fast in the snow). I definitely have a love/hate relationship with the treadmill: I will avoid it at all costs but whenever I do hunker down and get on it, I always surprise myself with what my body is capable of running.

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As we hit the halfway point this week (yay for Wednesday!) I wanted to share my favorite treadmill workout for tempo runs. It is so simple, but even completing just 3 miles of this workout once a week allowed me to shave about 15 minutes off my half marathon time and get a new PR! I’ve done this workout on the roads by running a loop around our block and have found success there too!

Winter Blast Half Marathon

You can shorten or lengthen any of the recovery or warm up/cool down distances, but I like to keep them shorter (the distances in the 3 mile workout) when I am feeling lazy and don’t want to get in all the extra mileage ;). The shorter workout is more intense because there is less time for a cool down between each interval, but I have found that this gives me the same benefits as the 5 mile workout because the intervals are the same.

When I know my legs will need more of a chance to recover, I go with the 5 mile workout. If I want to get in more distance I’ll add even more length to the w/u and c/d, or add more intervals.

It took me some experimenting to figure out exactly what paces will allow me to recover and what paces will push me to my limits on the treadmill. When I am running to recover or just wanting a super easy run, my go-to pace is between 10:30 – 11:00 minute miles. On the treadmill, my recovery pace is always 5.8 and my w/u and c/d pace is 6.0.

Whenever I am just getting into tempo workouts again, I start my run out at my warm up pace (6.0) and add .5 to that to get my first interval speed (in this case mine would be 6.5). For each recovery I set the speed back to 5.8, and then for the next interval I will add .1 to the speed of my previous interval (in this case my first interval was at 6.5 + .1 = 6.6 speed for interval #2). I continue to add .1 to each interval after that.

Treadmill Speed Workouts

3 Mile Treadmill Tempo Workout      

  • Warm-up:
    • .5 mile at easy pace (my treadmill speed = 6.0)
  • Interval #1:
    • .25 mile @ 10k tempo pace (my treadmill speed = 6.5)
    • .1 mile recovery (my treadmill speed = 5.8)
  • Interval #2:
    • .25 mile @ tempo pace + .1 speed (my treadmill speed = 6.6)
    • .1 mile recovery (treadmill speed for me 5.8)    
  • Interval #3:
    • .25 mile @ tempo pace + .2 speed (my treadmill speed = 6.7)
    • .1 mile recovery (my treadmill speed = 5.8)
  • Interval #4:
    • .25 @ tempo pace + .3 speed (my treadmill speed = 6.8)
    • .1 mile recovery (my treadmill speed = 5.8)
  • Interval #5:
    • .25 @ tempo pace + .4 speed (my treadmill speed = 6.9)
    • .1 mile recovery (my treadmill speed = 5.8)
  • Interval #6:
    • .25 @ tempo pace + .5 speed (my treadmill speed = 7.0)
  • Cool Down:
    • .5 mile recovery pace or slower (my treadmill speed = 5.8)

 

5 Mile Treadmill Tempo Workout

  • Warm Up:
    • 1 mile at recovery pace
  • Interval #1:
    • .25 mile @ 10k tempo pace
    • .25 mile recovery
  • Interval #2:
    • .25 mile @ tempo pace + .1 speed
    • .25 mile recovery
  • Interval #3:
    • .25 mile @ tempo pace + .2 speed
    • .25 mile recover
  • Interval #4:
    • .25 @ tempo pace + .3 speed
    • .25 mile recovery
  • Interval #5:
    • .25 @ tempo pace + .4 speed
    • .25 mile recovery
  • Interval #6:
    • .25 @ tempo pace + .5 speed
    • .25 mile recovery
  • Cool Down:
    • 1 mile at recovery pace or slower

 

When I’m in the habit of running a tempo workout each week, I’ll always look through my paces or record my treadmill speeds, and decide whether that felt like it was the absolute fastest I could go and I was dying at the end, or if I thought I was still able to run some more by the end of the workout. If I was still feeling pretty decent at the end of the workout, then the following week I would set the speed for my first interval .1 higher than the previous week (for example if my first interval was at a 6.5 this week, then next week I would start at a 6.6 and still increase each interval by .1).

Treadmill Runs

I’ve never been able to run much more than 5 miles on the treadmill because it is just so dreadful ;). These workouts really help me make the most out of the times that I am on it, and make sure that I can be as efficient as possible so I don’t have to stay on it forever.

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Treadmill Tempo Workouts
Treadmill Tempo Workouts
How-I-Beat-My-Half-Marathon-Time
Treadmill Speed Workouts for Runners

 

 

 

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