Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How to Run Speed Workouts on the Treadmill

Speed Tuesdays are back! I wasn't going to formally start training until January but after my 10 miler on Sunday, I've felt pretty good.  I receive Speed Workout emails from the Running Club I ran with a couple weeks ago, so I decided to try it out.  Unfortunately, due to the snow, I didn't get up to do the workout in the AM so I had to go during lunch.  But I had a 12pm meeting so I *tried* to sneak it in before.  I didn't get the entire workout done but I did pretty well.  Felt good to get my legs moving fast again.

Scheduled Speed Workout: 400, 600, 800, 1200, 800, 600, 400 with 400 RI (rest interval)

Actual Workout: 400, 600, 800, 600, 400 with 400 RI

I generally do my workouts on the treadmill and this is how...
I measure distance on the treadmill and time using a watch on my wrist. 

I did a 1 mile warmup at 1.0 incline, 6.0 pace (10 min pace) and then started my speed at 1.00 distance.
(fyi, I took all these photos today after my spin class so ignore times and pace, I just wanted to show the distance...try to find a treadmill that has the lap set so it resembles an actual track)
First up: 400 meters = .25 mile (1 lap)
Start watch at 1.00 and run until 1.25, stop watch
 So when the red cursor hits 1.25, I stopped my watch. 
First 400, 8.0mph, 1:50 min
Then rest for 400 meters... I usually drop the pace down to 5.2-6.0 but jump on the sides of the treadmill to write down my time on a piece of paper, then carry on jogging until the next interval... also, drink plenty of water during this time!
Next up, 600 meters
600 meters (my favorite event in high school track by the way) = .25 + .12.5= .37.5 (kinda hard to calculate 200s on a treadmill but hopefully you get the idea- basically add 400 meters plus another half lap...)
600 at 7.7 mph, 2:50
400 rest (during rest, I write down my time on a piece of paper then continue slowly jogging at 5.5 mph)
800 at 7.5 mph, 3:50
400 rest (during rest, I write down my time on a piece of paper then continue slowly jogging at 5.5 mph)
600 at 7.5 mph, 2:56
400 rest (during rest, I write down my time on a piece of paper then continue slowly jogging at 5.5 mph)
400 at 8.1 mph, 1:47
.50 Mile Cooldown (time constraint, usually like to do a full mile cooldown)

If you're interested in trying out speed workouts for an upcoming half or marathon, I suggest basing your pace off your fastest 5K or 10K pace.  I generally like to do my speed workouts at 7:15-8 minute pace. To calculate what you should run these distances at, I used the McMillan Running Calculator.  Plug in your best 10K time and voila- workout times! 
For Speed Specifically:
Oh and one other thing to show you... what pace you run on a treadmill.  I love this chart... notice how when you go up to 1% incline, your pace becomes more accurate to outdoor running... so always go up to 1% incline people! (thanks Leah)
Hope this inspires some of you to run speed on a treadmill- I'm telling you, it's so much fun!
Merry Christmas everyone!  Off to visit mine and Theo's old roomie!  Maybe a snowy run in the morning??


  1. Girl you are fast! I wouldn't be able to do a speed workout outside. I need to see the speed on the treadmill.

  2. oooh this is definitely inspirational! I've been avoiding the tready like the plague lately, but with winter and all I think we need to become closer friends on snowy/icey/dark mornings. Nice running!!

  3. I usually enjoy speed work on the treadmill! As long as it's not a ton of long repeats. If I'm doing mile repeats or even a bunch of 800's, I'd much rather be outside. But I do really like knowing and being able to control my exact speed. Haha 200's would be a bit tricky on a treadmill - gotta be good with the mental math a little!
    Merry Christmas!!! Hope we can meet up sometime in the new year :)

  4. Lizzy, Thanks for posting! I've wanted to do one of your speed workouts and I am going to do this on Christmas eve :) I'll be sure to let you know how it goes!!

  5. I usually avoid the treadmill except for speed work. I love doing intervals on the treadmill so much better than intervals outside! That's so interesting about the treadmill speeds vs outside!

  6. Nice work girl! Speedy!! Thanks for sharing your workout! I love working on speed and this will be something to incoporate!
    Thanks for the chart on inclines and running outside!

  7. Question... your "recovery jog" in between speedwork, how does that compare to your normal pace???

  8. Great post, Lizzy! I love your shorter posts.