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Too hot to run? Try these treadmill workouts

summer-treadmill-workoutsI wouldn’t call myself a fair weather runner, but I’m certainly not one for extremes. Living in the Northeast means bitterly cold winters and — alternatively — a good share of oppressively hot summer days. I relish everything in-between, as that’s when the bulk of my training is completed. On either end of the spectrum, however, I find solace in (occasional) treadmill running.

Logging miles indoors isn’t easy for me. It involves mind games and a bit of body trickery. I have discovered four workouts that make my time on the “dreadmill” less monotonous, more productive, and possibly even fun.

Fartleks (speed play)
Begin with a warmup of half a mile. Then alternate between easy jogging and hard effort (think 5K pace). I don’t always time my fartleks the same way, but you can try something like hard effort for 1 minute followed by 5 minutes easy running and repeat as many times as you wish. Cool down with another half mile. Aim for between 30 to 45 minutes.

If you really want to challenge yourself or you’re strapped for time, try 30 seconds at mile pace alternating with 30 seconds of easy jogging for just 20 minutes. Don’t forget to warm up and cool down.

Ladder
Begin with a warmup of 1 mile. Then run 1 minute at tempo pace, 1 minute jog; 2 minutes tempo pace, 1 minute jog; 3 minutes tempo, 2 minute jog; 4 minutes tempo, 3 minute jog; 5 minutes tempo, 4 minute jog. Then come back down the ladder. Cool down with another half mile to a mile.

(Don’t know your tempo pace? Try this calculator.)

Race
Begin with a half mile warmup, then reset the machine and challenge yourself to a 1-mile, 5K, up to a 10K race. (You can go longer, if you wish, but I usually stick to shorter distances for my sanity.) Try to beat a recent time or stick to a new goal pace. Who knows — you may surprise yourself with a PR on a Tuesday afternoon. Be sure to cool down and reward yourself with plenty of water.

Just 15 Minutes
When all else fails, I promise myself I’ll just run for 15 minutes (around 2 miles), which is about how long I can run on a treadmill steady state without getting bored. The trick with this workout is that you can usually go longer once you reach your time limit. When I’m particularly discouraged by the weather, I tell myself than anything is better than nothing.

With all these workouts, it’s important to also note some keys to good treadmill running. You’ll want to up the incline to help simulate outdoor running/wind resistance. A grade of 1 percent or more should do the trick. If you’re not used to running on a belt, you may want to ease into it since treadmill running utilizes slightly different muscle groups. And though you’re indoors, be sure to slug lots of water.

What’s your favorite treadmill workout?

Written by  Ashley Marcin.

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