Workout Wednesday – 3 Offseason Treadmill Workouts By Justin Levine

Its cold and you are in the offseason mix it up a bit and hop on that dreaded treadmill for a different type of workout to help improve your fitness.

The triathlon offseason is a time to let off the gas pedal, allow our body to fully recover and get away from the constant grind of training.

Triathletes usually have a four- to eight-week period after their last race where training volume should be kept low.

It’s still important to train. However, structured training is not what you should be after.

Leave the periodization cycles for the main periods of the triathlon season. The offseason can be a great time to implement lower volume workouts but can still help you maintain your fitness levels.  


Workout #1: Treadmill Cruise Hill Repeats

During the winter months, it can be tough for some people to get outside to do their running. 

This is a great workout for the offseason because it’s away from the cold, it takes less than an hour and it keeps the mind occupied.  It will also develop running strength by incorporating hills to the workout. 

First, complete a thorough dynamic warm up. Then follow the workout below: 

  • Warm-up jog for 8-10 minutes;
  • Perform 4 x 30 seconds at 7.0 mph, then a 30-second recovery at 5.5 mph at a 1 percent incline;
  • Main set: 4 x 5-minute hill repeats, keeping heart rate at Zone 3 (no higher); focus on good running mechanics throughout each interval—2-minute easy jog, no incline for recovery;
  • Set 1 at 4 percent incline;
  • Set 2 at 5 percent incline;
  • Set 3 at 6 percent incline;
  • Set 4 at 7 percent incline;
  • Cool down: Five to 10 minutes of easy jogging to allow heart rate to settle back down

Workout #2: Treadmill Sprints

Many triathletes don’t sprint during their training program. Triathletes should consider strategically incorporating sprints into their training program for a few reasons. 

Running fast is fun; and running fast teaches proper running technique.Finally, you don’t need much time to produce a positive effect with sprinting workouts.

The key here is going at your own level and choosing the appropriate speed. 

After completing a thorough dynamic warm-up follow this workout:

  • Warm-up jog for 10 minutes slowly increasing your speed to a 10k race pace.;
  • Perform 7 x 30-second intervals at 5k race pace/30 seconds recovery at a slow run pace;
  • Main set: 6 to 10 x 15-second sprints/45 seconds recovery (grab the handles of the treadmill and hop off, then when it’s time to repeat grab the handles, get your feet moving first then when you feel comfortable let go of the handles); If you have never done a sprint workout stick to lower repetitions.  Start off at a speed you can handle with good form and rhythm but challenges you a bit.   Increase the speed as you feel more comfortable to handle higher intensities.
  • Cool down with a 10 minute jog allowing the heart rate  to settle back down. 

Workout #3: Base Run With Long Hill Runs

This is a lower intensity workout that will build your endurance. The longer duration hill intervals will give you stamina when running hills.

Implement these workouts if you need to improve your running on longer hills and build endurance at the same time.  The key is to maintain a low heart rate (stay at conversational pace) during the workout.

Complete a thorough dynamic warm-up and then follow the workout below:

  • Warm up jog for 10 minutes at 1.5 percent incline at your long run race pace;
  • Main set: 2 x 20-minute aerobic pace, long hill repeats at 5 percent incline. Again, keep the speed moderate. The idea is to stay aerobic, keep the heart rate low and work on your uphill running technique. 
  • After the first interval, run at your long run race pace for two to three minutes with no incline, then repeat the second interval.
  • Cool down with a 5-minute jog with no incline.

Give these treadmill workouts a try to add variety to your program this offseason.  Remember, always go at your level, modify the sets and repetitions accordingly and pay attention to your body. 


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