Blast out of Boredom

Treadmill workouts to make you love running indoors

BY GAIL O'REILLY

If treadmills and boredom are words that come to mind when you are in the gym, here’s how to create your own mind-blowing, energy-boosting personalized training programs that will help you discover how motivating running on a treadmill can be.

Define Your Base and Top Speed: It is essential to set the parameters for your programs. First, determine your base, a single speed you can comfortably maintain for an entire workout, i.e. 10 km/h. Next, define your top speed. Go up 0.3 speed intervals at a time from your base until you reach the maximum pace you can run for 20 to 30 seconds. This speed varies from one runner to another, but an increase of 2.25 – 3.2 km/h is common. Keep in mind, this is not an all-out effort, but a speed you should be able to reach several times in your workout.

Accelerate! Bring on speed and blast out of boredom. Here are three drills to try:

Rocket Launcher: Run at your base and then propel your speed up to a fast pace or to your top speed. Alternate back and forth between the intervals 3 to 5 times.

Two Steppin’: Increase your speed by 0.6, and then decrease by 0.3. Continue to increase and decrease your speed and “two step” your way up 3 to 4 times, i.e. go from 10.0 to 10.6, down to 10.3, up to 10.9, down to 10.6 and so on.

Pyramid: Increase speed by 0.3 or 0.6, 3 to 5 times, or to your top speed, then decrease with the same intervals back to your base.  

Rise up! Add incline to elevate the intensity of your run. One easy way is to turn your speed drills into incline drills.  Follow the same formats and adjust your incline levels by 0.5 per cent or 1 per cent at a time. Aim to hold your base speed in the drills, but lower it as needed. Two other incline drills you can try are:

Rolling Hills: Start at 3 per cent and add 1 per cent of incline at a time.  Go from 3, 4 to 5 per cent, come back to 3 per cent, then go up to 4, 5 and 6 per cent, go back to 3 per cent and go up to 4, 5, 6 and 7 per cent. Continue rolling up and down.

The Wall: Bring your incline to 10 per cent with base speed. Then increase your incline 1 per cent and simultaneously decrease your speed 0.3. Continue your run up the wall by increasing your incline and decreasing your speed. When you reach the maximum incline at 15 per cent (on most treadmills), you may be at a walking pace.  Modify as necessary.

Double the Fun! Combine speed and incline together, for double the thrill and intensity, as outlined in this drill:
See-Saw: From your base speed and incline at 1 per cent, alternate between adding 0.2 speed and 0.5 per cent incline. Continue the “see-saw” of speed and incline intervals until reach your maximum.

Interval Lengths: Continuous short, snappy intervals of 10 to 45 seconds are fun and will definitely keep you engaged.  You can also vary the interval lengths within the drills. For example, in the speed drill Rocket Launcher, you may run at base for 45 seconds and at the faster speed for only 15 seconds, instead of going 45/45. To make your drills more challenging, increase your intervals to 1 to 3 minutes.

Extras: Always incorporate a proper warm-up and cool-down into your workout.  Run at your base speed for active recovery between drills for 1 to 3 minutes, or for as long as you feel necessary. Avoid stopping, and if needed, drop below your base speed for additional recovery. Keep running — you will build a stronger foundation.

To simulate a flat road outside, hold your incline at 1 per cent, instead of zero. And remember, be patient with learning these new drills. It will take extra effort initially, but the payoff will be immense as you watch your overall pace grow!

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Gail O’Reilly is a certified fitness trainer, yoga instructor, and avid cyclist and runner.

 

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