Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Treadmill Hill Workouts

by Justin Daerr

I always prefer to run outdoors, but sometimes the weather or other circumstances prevents a solid workout from happening. Over the years, I have come to embrace the treadmill and take advantage of what it has to offer. A lot of athletes like that a treadmill allows you to lock into a pace without having to think about it, but I actually prefer the treadmill for another reason: controlling the incline. With a treadmill, you can run yourself to the top of a hill and the magically be at the bottom again in a split second. Taking advantage of this feature is a great way to get in some hill work and to keep you more engaged in your training. Below are a couple of examples of workouts I will do when the snowbanks start rising.

Workout One: The Basic Build
I actually created this workout while staying in a hotel on the road and only having about 30 minutes to run.

Start at a gradual pace and set the incline to 1%.

Run 60 seconds at 1%, 30 seconds at increased grade (2% or more), then return to 1%, but when you return to 1% you bump up the speed .1-.3 mph or kph.

Additionally, the grade bump increases as you go along; I usually do something along the lines of:

2% for the first 5 minutes
2.5% for the next 5 minutes
...and then keeping adding incline until finished.

This session can be really challenging if you want or just a gradual build if you are looking for a more moderate session. Either way, you stay engaged throughout.

Workout Two: The 4,3,2,1
Warm up as needed, but preferably about 15 minutes as you want start the main set at a good steady effort.

Main Set:
After setting the pace to a steady effort, run:

4 minutes at 2%
1 minute at 0%
3 minutes at 3%
1 minute at 0%
2 minutes at 4%
1 minute at 0%
1 minutes at 5%
2 minutes at 0%

Then you have the option of repeating this one or two more times.

If you are not accustomed to running hills on the treadmill, I would suggest choosing a conservative pace or incline to begin with. Then over time you will be able to better gauge the intensity of a session based on the pace and incline combination you choose.

Happy (indoor) running!


Justin Daerr is a professional triathlete and co-owner of Endurance Corner. You can follow him on Twitter @justindaerr.
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