Example: Based on the example of the 37-minute 10K race pace above, the athlete would have run the first 2 x 3-minute cycles as follows: 8.7 mph or 6:54 pace at 1-percent grade for 1 minute; 8.8 mph (6:49 pace) at 2-percent grade for 1 minute; 8.9 mph (6:44 pace) at 3-percent grade for 1 minute. The next 2 x 3-minute cycles would begin at 8.9 mph at 1-percent grade, then 9.0 mph for 1 minute at 2-percent grade, and finish the sequence with 1 minute at 9.1 mph on a 3-percent grade.
- When this 6-minute block is completed, move into another 6-minute (2 x 3 minutes) block beginning where sequence #2 left off (9.1 mph, but at 1-percent grade). Once you have concluded these 18 minutes, jog slowly for 3 minutes (1:30 to 2 minutes per mile slower than where you began), and progress forward with 2 more 6-minute sequences (12 minutes total) with the same formula—with each 6 minutes beginning at the same tempo where the runner previously left off, but at a lower incline.
The workout should total 33 minutes, including your warm-up and cooldown.
Treadmill Session #2: 2:30 Downcycles
Purpose: Increase speed-based endurance with tempo work and moderate gear changing
The 2:30 downcycle is my favorite treadmill workout. Warm up for 1.5 to 3 miles and complete relaxed accelerations at the end of the warm-up.
- Begin your first 2:30 interval at a 1-percent incline approximately 30 seconds per mile SLOWER than your current anaerobic threshold, or the pace you can sustain for 45 to 55 minutes during a race. Highly trained athletes can use the pace at which they can race for 60 to 70 minutes as a rough guesstimation of their anaerobic threshold.
- After the opening 30 seconds, pick up the tempo 7 to 8 seconds per mile, and elevate the incline to 2 percent. At the 1-minute mark, pick up the tempo another 7 to 8 seconds per mile while remaining at a 2-percent incline. At the 1:30 mark, move forward again 7 to 8 seconds per mile (now 21 to 24 seconds per mile faster than you began the 2:30 piece), and move the incline to a 3-percent grade.
- When you reach 2 minutes, move the tempo an additional 7 to 8 seconds per mile quicker while remaining at a 3-percent incline.
- Once the 2:30 segment is concluded, lower the incline to 1 percent and jog very easily for 1:30. Once that 1:30 recovery is over, move right back into another 2:30 "downcycle."
I recommend beginning with 2 sets of 3 x 2:30 downcycle with a 1:30 recovery float. Including recovery, this session will be 28 minutes in length.