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If you dread the tread, check out these six routines that will help you outrun boredom and get better results than ever.
Turn Up Your Tempo
Set the incline to 1 percent and warm up with 10 minutes of easy running. Then set the pace 2 minutes faster than your easy running pace—say 8 minutes per mile if you usually run 10-minute miles for a long, easy run. Go at that tempo for 3 to 4 minutes, and then walk for 3 to 4 minutes. That’s one round; do 3 to 5 total rounds.
“This is a maximum aerobic effort that helps you push your easy pace,” says Rich Agnello, C.S.C.S., a coach for the New York-New Jersey Track Club and Next Level Sports & Fitness Training.
Warm up with 5 to 10 minutes of easy running. Then set the incline at 1 percent and start running at a 5 miles-per-hour pace. Increase the speed 0.2 mph every minute until you completely fatigue.
“This workout will systematically and incrementally increase an athlete’s lactate threshold,” says Andrew Kastor, head coach for Mammoth Track Club in Mammoth, California. “It will also develop mental patience and boost VO2 Max.”
Warm up with 15 to 20 minutes of easy running. Then run a half-mile at 75 percent of your hardest effort. When you hit the half-mile mark, slow to a jog for 200 meters. That’s one round; do 6 to 8 total rounds.
“By not fully recovering between repeats you still improve your ability to run fast, but also ensure you have the aerobic strength and support to maintain goal pace on race day,” says Jeff Gaudette, head coach at RunnersConnect.net.
The Horrible Hill Workout
Warm up with 10 minutes of easy running. Begin your workout by setting the incline to 8 percent and sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Then lower the incline to 5 percent and walk for 30 seconds. After walking, sprint for 90 seconds at your 10K pace, then walk for 2 minutes. That’s one round; do 6 to 9 total rounds.
“This workout challenges your anaerobic and neuromuscular system while also helping build strength with the long hill repeat,” says Gaudette.
This one requires a television to be in front of you. Warm up with 10 minutes of easy running. Every time a commercial comes on during a show or game you’re watching, run 1 ½ to 2 minutes per mile faster than your warm-up pace until the regular program returns. Do this until completely fatigued.
“It’s a killer toward the end of a close basketball game,” says Budd Coates, a four-time qualifier for the Olympic Marathon trials and special contributor to Runner’s World magazine.
Warm up with 10 minutes of easy running. Start the treadmill at 7 miles per hour on a 1 percent incline and run 60 seconds at that pace. Then lower the speed to an easy pace and take a 60 second break. Bump up the speed to 7.5 mph and repeat this 60 seconds of running with a 60-second break while increasing the speed by 0.5 mph after each break. Once you can’t hold that faster speed for the full 60 seconds, drop the interval down to 30 seconds of running with 60 seconds of rest until you can’t go anymore.
“As the workout progresses, you carry more and more fatigue into the next interval,” says Steve Magness, head cross country coach at the University of Houston and professional running trainer. “It’s a great workout that gives you bang for your buck on the aerobic and anaerobic side of the coin.”