So yesterday I did my first “speed” workout on a treadmill. I put “speed” in quotations because I’m not feeling very speedy these days based on the fact that I’ve spent about the past 6 months training for a 48.6 mile endurance event (the Dopey Challenge). I haven’t pushed myself hard in quite some time, but hey…we all gotta start somewhere.
One of my running goals for 2014 is to run a sub 2 hour half marathon. It’s a little (OK…A LOT) ambitious since my PR for a half is 2:09 but I figure if I shoot for the moon I’ll still land in the stars and end up with another PR. Corny right?
Anyway, I decided to ease into this whole speed workout thing and start with short intervals of 400 meters each (400 meters = 0.25 mile = 1 lap on a typical high school track). For this workout I did 6 intervals at around a 5K pace. Between each interval I went back down to my conversation (easy) pace which is typically around 12:00. (my body pretty much has this pace locked down right now).
This past July I ran a 4 mile event with an average pace of 9:16 (seems CRAZY now) so I thought 9:30 would be a good starting point for my current 5K pace. As I was planning this workout in my head I thought to myself, “Well maybe I’ll start at 9:30, and then if I’m feeling good I’ll do 9:15 and then finish it off with two intervals of 9:00. It’s only a 1/4 mile.”
HA! 1/4 mile feels like forever when you’re on a treadmill and you haven’t ran at 5K pace since July!! Needless to say, the 9:30 x 6 was plenty challenging enough!
This was pretty much how it went down:
Warm-up: walked for about 2 minutes and then 12:00 (conversation pace) until I reached 0.5 mile.
Interval 1: 9:30 (5K pace) for 0.25 miles, back down to 12:00 for about a minute
Interval 2: 9:30 (5K pace) for 0.25 miles, back down to 12:00 for about a minute
Interval 3: 9:30 (5K pace) for 0.25 miles, back down to 12:00 for about a minute
Interval 4: 9:30 (5K pace) for 0.25 miles, back down to quick walk for about a minute
Interval 5: 9:30 (5K pace) for 0.25 miles, back down to 12:00 for about a minute
Interval 6: 9:30 (5K pace) for 0.25 miles, back down to 12:00 for about a minute
Cool-down: ran about 1/10 mile at 12:00 and then slow walk for 1/10 mile
NOT including the cool-down I ran for a total of 3 miles with a total time of 34:13. I’m curious to know what my average pace would have been without the warm-up…but I’ll have to save that bit of trivia for a future workout. After Interval 2 I knew that anything faster than 9:30 wasn’t going to happen unless I wanted to be scraped off the floor at Snap Fitness.
NOTE: I set the incline at 1% just because it’s what I’ve always done but word on the street is that 1% really doesn’t make much difference unless you’re a Kenyan.
Besides the actual running, the hardest part about this workout was just keeping an eye on all the numbers and deciding what to do and when. Most of the time I kept the display set so it showed the distance and my total time. I would try to work it out so when it was time to start up at 5K pace again it would be easy to add the 0.25 mile in my head and then I would just wait for that magical number to show up on the display so I could take a short break.
There was definitely NO playlist or music happening here. I really needed to concentrate on my running and all the number crunching gave my brain something to focus on so that part was kinda fun. I suppose if I learned more about the treadmills at Snap I could program all of this craziness ahead of time…but what fun is that?
You probably run either faster or slower than me…that’s GREAT! I’m not sharing these numbers for the sake of comparison, I just want to give you an idea of how you might be able to adapt this workout to your pace if you’d like to work up a sweat! I also like to use this blog as a training journal. 🙂
Here’s a pic of the workout that you can save on your phone and set next to your treadmill!
It will be interesting to see how doing these speed workouts will change my running. I’ve been running for about 3 years now and haven’t really been consistent with adding intervals or speed workouts to my training schedule up to this point. After going through the RRCA running coach certification class this past November I understand now how important it really is! Running is just like any other type of workout routine, if you keep doing the same thing all the time, you’re going to reach a plateau. You need to continually challenge yourself and change things up if you want to get stronger (faster) and improve.
Now that I have a starting point, I’ll be better prepared for next time.
Have you ever done a speed workout on a treadmill before or do you typically only use it to check off your daily miles?