With a new puppy who loves to run, a dry (so far) winter and weekend running dates with friends, my treadmill time has diminished to pretty close to zero miles. So when everyone called in sick to Friday’s run, I figured I’d skip the long sleeves and gloves needed to venture out to 34º temps and instead take advantage of my gym membership and get some treadmill miles in.
After about 5 minutes, I realized my treadmill mental threshold (I used to be fine running 4 or 5 miles a few times a week) had also diminished. Instead of stopping, which is what I really wanted to do, I quickly switched to doing one of my favorite interval sets – speed ladders.
Figure out what your top, all out running hard, can’t hold it more than a minute pace is. Maybe that’s a 7-minute mile, right now for me, it’s around 8:30, which on the treadmill is equivalent to 7.0 MPH. There’s a handy conversion chart here if you’re not well-versed in conversion paces. Then back it off by 11 clicks. I started my one-minute intervals at 6.0 MPH, or a 10:00 pace.
Alternate running one minute, and walking (or an easy jog) one minute, increasing your speed by 0.1 each run minute, up to your highest possible pace. THEN, come back down. You’ll be amazed at how much easier those top end running minutes are as you come back down the interval ladder than they were going up. Since this is based on time rather than distance, this is also a great training set to do with a friend who runs a different pace than you.
After you get back to your starting run pace, jog a 5-minute cooldown. Miraculously, my run went from not thinking I’d ever be able to finish to getting a 55-minute run in that was fun and engaging.
Next time you find yourself stuck on a treadmill wondering how you’re going to get your workout in, try this mind game interval set, or create your own pacing or incline.