4 Fun and Fast Treadmill Workouts

>> Thursday, January 19, 2012

Before I get to the workouts, I'd like to give you a quick race report. This past weekend's 10K went extremely well. I took 50 seconds off my post-pregnancy PR, finishing in 50:35. As I described it to Stephen, I wasn't racing, but I also know I couldn't go much faster, if that makes any sense.

Getting back into racing shape will take some time, but I'm more than happy with 8:08 miles!

With Stephen at my side for a quick warmup and cool down, I also got in my longest run since July. 8.2 miles total, at an average pace of 8:20. At this rate, I'll be more than ready for the half in May. I might even sneak in another half as a preparation race in April. Which brings me to goals: Stephen and I have both decided we'd rather focus on improving our 15K and half marathon times and enjoy lower mileage this next year (or two). Life's too hectic and wonderful right now to bog it down with hours of slow miles.

This month, I'm trying my best to run five days a week. Outdoors, mostly. But there is at least one day per week when that just isn't going to happen. On those days, I sometimes take a break. But I do have some go-to treadmill workouts that keep me sane while running in place.


Upstate NY is super cold these days. The sun rarely shows itself and, even when it does, I rarely have time to squeeze in my run before it sets. Though I try my best to run like a mail carrier through the dark streets, dodging sleet and snow, there are some nights when I'd rather stay in.

The workout: 4 miles. Warmup is .5 miles at 6.5 MPH. Then I increase to 6.8 MPH and pretend I'm outdoors, working in some "hills" at incline levels of 3 to 6, .25 to .5 miles long each, 4 to 6 hills in all. Cool down of .5 miles at 6.5 MPH.


There are days when Ada eats every hour from noon until 10PM. I feel like my butt is super-glued to the couch. She's usually pretty fussy, too, since cluster-feeding is typically worst during a growth-spurt. On these days, I need to finish a workout FAST. And to help my mood, which is usually anger boarding on rage, I need to get my legs moving FAST.

The workout: 2 to 3 miles at a steady 7 MPH to 7.5 MPH. In other words, comfortably fast. No warmup or cool down. NO TIME!


I've never enjoyed speed work. I achieve faster times by racing a couple times a month so I can sort of slide the rest of the time and log more comfortable training runs outdoors. On the treadmill, I can't plod mindless miles. I need intervals to play with in my mind.

The workout: 3.5 miles. Start out with a .25 mile jog at around 6.7 MPH. Then jump up to 7 MPH for .5 miles. Switch to 7.5 MPH for another .5. Back down to 7 MPH for .5. Then to 7.7 MPH for .5. Then down to 7.5 MPH for .5 miles. Then up to 8 MPH for yet another .5 miles. Then way down to 6.5 for a .25 mile cool down.


There are days when Ada's been crying for hours. When she hasn't slept well. When I'm drained from doing diaper laundry -- again. On those days, the last thing I want to do is lace up and run in the cold dark air. On those days, I'd rather curl up in a fetal position and cry myself.

The workout: 1 (a single) mile. At any pace that feels right that day. That's all. But the "motivator" part in the title comes from this workout's amazing ability to get me going at least another mile -- sometimes two -- because it feels so good to get out stress through movement. Even if I don't run longer, one mile affords me about 10 minutes of alone time that I desperately need these days.

Of course, you can just substitute your own speeds to make these workouts your own. Increase by the same increments, etc. Even though I don't love the treadmill, I know it will help me get into better racing shape. And sooner than if I carefully crept along atop ice-covered roadways all winter. (Still, I'm a big advocate of outdoor running in the chilly weather.)

Stephen and I were chatting, and I think I win in our household for the longest treadmill run. Not by much. His was 15 miles, at which point our treadmill broke. Mine was . . . 16 at a gym when I was in college. I'm not bragging. I think we're insane. Tonight I struggled to finish 25 l.o.n.g minutes for a 5K. I don't think I'll be putting in double digits indoors anytime soon -- or ever again, for that matter.

What's the longest you've ever suffered indoors on a treadmill?

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