Go Triathlete

Treadmill Speed Set: 5K or 10K Training

In Portland, it rained 3 inches in 2 days last week. Not the worst thing ever, but coupled with sub-40 degrees and rotting leaves covering everything it may not be the best outdoor running weather. That being said, just about anything is better than mindless treadmill time watching TV, right? Well, not if the treadmill time isn't mindless. Having a goal on the treadmill is key and using the treadmill to build speed through the off-season is easy with a few tools.

Here’s a treadmill set to get you started, use the written program if you are a Sprint or Olympic racer, and double it if you are a 70.3 or Ironman racer.  

As you get stronger, you can start and finish faster or work with different grades to add intensity to the set. To start, pick your top end speed goal (you will only be here a short time) and count back 2mph for starting set. In this example, the top end speed will be 9mph (or 6:40 pace)

Run ½ mile at very easy pace, then hop off treadmill for .10 miles
½ mile at 7.0mph / off treadmill for .10 miles
.4 miles at 7.5mph / off treadmill for .10 miles
.3 miles at 8.0mph / off treadmill for .10 miles
.2 miles at 8.5mph / off treadmill for .10 miles
.1 miles at 9.0mph / off treadmill for .10 miles
Run ½ mile at 8.0mph (be amazed at how easy this now feels!)

Keys:  start easy to give yourself a chance to warm up. Keep treadmill moving during recovery, build mph so next set is ready to start. Be careful when getting on / off the treadmill, use handrails for smooth transitions. Double all distances (including rest) for 10k program.

This set is great for improving turnover and training the body to work at higher speeds. The short distances allow success at paces far above race goals and adding grade turns this into a killer speed workout! Be conservative the first time through, then start to challenge that finishing pace more and more as you get stronger through the winter…