Unless you are training for a race in Texas or Florida, winter is typically not peak racing season. A majority of runners focus on developing their base during winter, which means a focus on strength and endurance rather than race-specific workouts. Typically, base building features mostly easy miles, which can become monotonous on the treadmill – which is why you want to have some engaging treadmill workouts for winter training for when you do run harder.
Hard interval workouts are fun to do on the treadmill. However, they are not always the most appropriate workout for every runner during winter. Workouts that emphasize strength and endurance complement the goals of the base building period, while also preparing runners for more intense workouts later in the spring season.
In addition to building strength, these workouts break up some of the monotony of the treadmill training. You likely run the same tempo run or mile repeats several times per season. Base building is the ideal time to do a different workout. These workouts function well for the treadmill, since you can so precisely control pace and incline on the treadmill. Run one of these treadmill workouts for winter training on days it is too icy to do a workout outside, and you will find that you are stronger by the time spring training begins!
The concept of a progression run is simple: you run faster as the run progresses. The treadmill allows you to easily do this, and this workout passes time on the treadmill. Progression runs improve endurance and fatigue resistance, which are valuable no matter which distance you intend to race in the spring.
You can also put a progression twist on a tempo run or interval run. For a tempo run, start close to half marathon pace and work down to 10K pace. For interval, increase your pace with every one to two repeats.
1 hour progression run, starting with 10 minutes at an easy pace and then increasing pace by 0.1 mph every 5 minutes.
If you want to build strength and endurance, long hill climbs are the perfect workout. Very few runners can easily find a mile-plus hill to run up without a long drive, but the treadmill allows you to run long ascents even on a busy weekday morning.
A hill Pyramid adds enough variety to prevent a long climb from feeling like a long slog. You are
Warm up with 10-20 minutes of easy running at a 0% incline
3 minutes at 4%, 2 minutes at 6%, 1 min at 8%, 1 minute at 10%, 1 minute at 8%, 2 minutes at 6%, 3 minutes at 4%
(To make it easier, add a 1 minute recovery jog at 0% in between each segment; to make it more difficult, repeat the pyramid.)
Cool down with 10-20 minutes of easy running at 0%
Alternating Pace Repeats:
Since you can easily toggle between paces, use that feature to add a new twist to a traditional interval workout. For anything from 2-minute intervals to 2-mile repeats, alternate between a marathon or half marathon pace and 5k to 10k pace, with slightly longer recovery after the faster intervals.
Alternating pace repeats can provide an appropriate workout for transitioning from base training to race specific training. Since you alternate between two paces (often one at a high intensity and the other close to aerobic or lactate threshold), the overall intensity of the workout is lower than an interval session in which you run every workout at 5K pace or faster.
Warm up: 1-2 miles easy running
Main workout: 6-8 x ½ mile, alternating between marathon pace (1.5-2 min recovery) and 10K pace (2.5 min recovery). Marathon pace is approximately 40-45 seconds per mile slower than 10K pace.
Cool down: 1-2 miles easy running
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What’s one of your favorite treadmill workouts?