Hotel Gym Workouts: Running

BY IN Exercise Institute News On March 7, 2016

Workouts for time-poor travellers who use treadmills for an indoor workout.

Similar to our previous article around indoor cycling workouts , travelling athletes may struggle to maintain fitness or wouldn’t dare even consider building it while they are travelling. However, similar to the protocol used by Hickson, Bomze, & Holloszy  (1977), or the ‘Hickson Protocol’, we replicate tenants of Vo2 max training and adapt it to running on a treadmill.

Treadmill running has strengths and weaknesses to its effect. It is convenient and also occurs in a controlled environment, meaning you can replicate various physiological events via running to specific intensities. However, most treadmills vary in how accurately they measure velocity and gradient. However, we can approximate intensity by baseline testing and attempting to apply the results across various equipment. We also hope this form of training might take some of the boredom away from indoor training, which we all know to be somewhat ‘challenging’ at times…


FML- running on a treadmill can be pretty mind-numbing !!!

The tenant of treadmill training in this article is based around 3 parts:

  1. Baseline measure of Vo2 max pace (the pace at which you can maximally sustain using your aerobic fitness), and Tmax (how long you can sustain a percentage of your Vo2 max pace). Thus a measure of intensity (Vo2 max) and a measure of duration (Tmax). This is most safely and effectively completed as a Running pace test at exercise institute for accuracy and interpretation, though we will go through the test in some detail herein. To book your test today please email here
  2. Apply a % of Vo2 max and a % of Tmax to create an interval set based solely on YOUR fitness level.
  3. Increase the number of intervals gradually and incrementally over time to avoid injury. Running at speed loads the body differently to running at a marathon pace. With an increase in intensity, the body dissipates load via different muscles, tendons, ligaments and via the skeletal system. Therefore it is a different loading pattern and needs to be treated as such.

The Vo2 test is incremental in nature. Running on a treadmill can also best replicate the demands of outdoor running by increasing the gradient to 1%, reflecting a similar drag experienced when moving through air at 12-15km/hr. Here we increase the pace every several minutes to linearly increase intensity until you cannot continue. The test lasts around 10-15 mins and only uses your aerobic energy system.

Where you finish on the test is your Vo2 peak (approximation). We then take 95% of this peak and use this as the minimum pace to elicit Vo2 max (known as Pmax). After 10 mins of rest we measure how long the individual can maintain their Pmax for a time variable. We then take 90-95% of Pmax variable and 60% of Tmax to hone an interval schedule for the individual.

A good deal of evidence shows that training to within 90-95% of Pmax increases maximal pace in highly trained endurance runners (see HIT study from Laursen If the end pace is 15km/hr we then take Pmax to be 14.25km/hr, thus 95% of Pmax would be around 13.5km/hr. This is the intensity variable for the intervals.

Tmax is the length of time one can sustain this speed. Using a % of Tmax is best outlined in an article by A. Switters, (2015).

A working example could be offered with an individual having a 5 min (or 300 second) Tmax time, thus 60% of Tmax would be 3 mins. An interval set of 3 mins on at 13.5km/hr, with 3 mins light activity (9km/hr) would equate to 95% Pmax @ 60% Tmax. This could initially be completed for 4 repetitions, with 5 repetitions being completed after a 2 week adaptation phase, then 6 repetitions after another 2 weeks and so on and so forth. The idea here is to treat running at high intensity as almost a completely different loading to running at lower intensities.

To surmise, by completing a incremental speed test we ascertain Vo2 peak. We then take 95% of this figure to equate to Pmax. Using Pmax we measure Tmax – how long an individual can sustain Pmax.

95% of Pmax and 60% of Tmax is then used to determine the interval schedule; initially using a small number of interval repetitions and increasing in number over a chronic phase (weeks).

This interval set completely tailors the treadmill workout to the individuals physiology regardless of ability. Meaning re-testing can also be done with great ease as one improves fitness.


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