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Saturday, March 6, 2010 03:18 pm

Treading on the indoor blues

As a southern Indiana native, I can openly admit that I’m not a big fan of Springfield winters.

Ice and snow covered my neighborhood’s streets and sidewalks for weeks in December and January, making driving difficult, dog-walking unsafe and running nearly impossible. (Note: I can lend credibility to this complaint. I attempted to take my foster pup Gunther for a quick jog in the park and slipped on a covered patch of ice. Think feet over head.)

As my co-worker Pat mentioned earlier, I’m training for a few different races, so I toughed it out some days. But on others, it was just easier to head to the gym. If you’re thinking that treadmills are a boring buzz-kill, you’re right. I completely agree. So this winter, I decided to try something new — interval workouts.

Interval workouts call for alternating fast-paced exercise with slower recovery periods. Here’s an example: run at 7 mph for two minutes, jog at 4 mph for three minutes, repeat. This method doesn’t just build endurance and burn more calories, but it also makes treadmill time fly by.

I usually do interval workouts on nights when I’m scheduled to run three or four miles. It’s so much easier to stomach the treadmill for 30 to 40 minutes when I know I’m breaking the workout into smaller, more manageable pieces. Plus, I can read up on the latest People and Us Weekly gossip during the recovery periods.

I’ve listed my two favorite interval workouts below. You can find these, plus two others, described in more detail here at Runner’s World (http://bit.ly/bf4UoJ). For an extra challenge, set the incline on your treadmill to 2 degrees. This helps add "air resistance" to indoor running.

Speed it up
Warm up for 10 minutes at a slow pace

Run 3 minutes at a fast pace
Jog 3 minutes at an easy pace
Run 3 minutes at a fast pace
Jog 3 minutes at an easy pace
Run 3 minutes at a fast pace
Jog 5 minutes at an easy pace

Cool down for 5 minutes at a slow pace

10-4’s
Warm up for 10 minutes at a slow pace

Run 10 minutes at a moderate pace
Jog 4 minutes at an easy pace
Run 10 minutes at a moderate pace
Jog 4 miles at an easy pace

Cool down for 10 minutes at a slow pace


Even though winter's almost over (finally!), these workouts will still come in handy on rainy March and April days. Thanks for reading & good luck!


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