One of the most important elements of just about any training program is the tempo run. Tempo runs can increase your lactate threshold by forcing you to hold a faster pace for a longer of time, just as you would in a race. This can be the perfect way to bridge the gap between your jogging pace and the pace you want to hold on race day.
"Because you know the speed on the treadmill, you're able to consistently hit target workouts and can control the outcome," says Henglels. "When you don't have to face the outside elements, such as snow, ice and wind, you can focus directly on your targeted pace and speed."
Henglels does caution that the speed accuracy on the treadmill display can vary, so use it as a guide. Adjusting your pace based on how you feel is still recommended, no matter where you're running.
- Warm up for 10 minutes, jogging easy.
- Run 2 to 3 miles at a comfortably hard pace that you can maintain.
- Cool down for 10 minutes, jogging easy.
- Add 1-mile to the tempo effort every two weeks until you reach 8 to 10 miles.
Interval training will not only increase your top-end speed, it'll boost overall fitness by making you stronger and more efficient.
"The majority of the time, we're running at a slow and steady pace, which makes us really good at running slow because it only exercises the leg muscles in that slow pace range of motion, and usually only tasks the slow-twitch fibers," explains Badner. "When you change your pace to something faster, the range of motion of these muscles is increased and the forces they apply increase."
What's more, interval workouts can help to alleviate some of the boredom that comes along with a monotonous treadmill session by breaking up the hard running into shorter bursts.