Manipulate the speed and incline buttons available on treadmills to improve your speed.
If you are looking to improve your running times and gain some speed with your current average pace, an easy three-day per week running schedule on the treadmill can pave the path for improvement. Determine the time of day that is best for you to run, carve out and commit to a designated hour each day, and discipline yourself to stick with your speed-enhancing schedule. With a consistent training schedule comprised of tempo, hill, and interval work, you will unveil noticeable improvements in a matter of weeks.
Stay with the Tempo
Tempo runs are steady runs of at least 20 minutes, where you maintain a pace approximately 20 to 30 seconds slower than your 5k pace. Treadmills are ideal for tempo runs because they allow you to set your tempo pace precisely using the speed button. Unlike outdoor running where it is easy to slow down and speed up, once you set your pace on a treadmill, it does not waver. On your tempo run day, warm up with an easy two to three miles before increasing your treadmill speed to accommodate a 20-minute tempo run. If you are training for a distance longer than a 5k, extend your tempo run accordingly.
Hurry up the Hills
The incline button on the treadmill allows you to simulate outdoor hill running. Repeating hill sprints as part of your training improves the speed at which your brain instructs your muscles to power. This type of explosive hill repeat work utilizes more muscle fiber, improves muscle force, and enhances your overall running (See Reference 2). On your hill work training day, warm up with an easy two to three-mile run. Set your incline button to a grade of five to seven percent and run as fast as you can on this incline for 30 seconds before backing off and recovering two and half minutes. Repeat this alternating cycle for next 30 minutes.
Interval work on a treadmill is an effective way to get faster and to improve your overall aerobic capacity. Just as you warm up for your tempo run and your hill work, warm up for your interval work with an easy two to three mile run. For the next half an hour, alternate between running 60 seconds at a speed that is as fast as you can maintain followed by 60 seconds of recovery. Your recovery pace should be about 30 to 60 seconds slower than your tempo run pace.
Get Strong and Relax
Combine at least two days of strength training and one day of relaxation and total recovery with your schedule for speed on the treadmill. Include body weight lunges, squats, and calf raises as part of your lower body strength training. Discipline yourself to truly recover on your day off by refraining from any exercise. Your muscles will thank you with improved performance when you get back on the treadmill.