The treadmill is a fantastic training device for runners when used correctly. Unfortunately, far too many runners don’t take full advantage of the treadmill, spending much of their time plodding along at speeds too slow to get much of the workout. To get the most out of a treadmill, runners need to focus on increasing intensity — either by running faster or using the incline function.Today I’ll provide five tips that all runners can use to increase the intensity of their treadmill workouts, thereby increasing their running intensity, burning more calories and building more muscle.
1. Use a little incline, all of the time — One of the basic differences between running outside and running on a treadmill is the lack of wind-resistance created by running through the wind. When you are not pushing through the wind or pushing off the concrete, your giving yourself a little break in your workouts. To compensate for this, start by turning up the incline to 1.5% to 2.0% from the beginning of your workouts. As you add hill work, they will be above and beyond this level of incline, so think of a value of 1.5% as “flat” ground.
2. Increase your speed, rather than your duration — When you’re looking to get more out of your workouts — either because you are looking for more of a challenge or you’ve just been doing it awhile, the first thing to change is to increase the speed on the treadmill. You can do this in a variety of ways, such as adding short intervals at faster paces or increasing the pace progressively over the course of the workout, but the bottom-line is that by increasing the speed you’ll be pushing yourself harder. One of my favorite treadmill workouts is to start out by warming up walking and then jogging and then increase the speed about 0.5 miles per hour every 1-2 minutes until I can’t go any faster. This results in a relatively short, but very intense workout. Another favorite is to increase the pace over what you’ve been doing (say 0.5 MPH) for 1-2 minutes and then back-off and do this three to five times during a workout. Over time, you’ll get more comfortable with that faster pace and this will become a new base-line and you’ll go faster from there.
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