30/30s on a Treadmill at Incline

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  • #29022

    I enjoyed this article and I’m looking forward to incorporating these into my training.

    30/30 Interval Training and the Need For Speed

    I typically do a lot of threshold work (Jack Daniels’ “T” pace) so these are a nice change of pace (ha ha) from that.

    It occurred to me that 30/30s could be done pretty well on a treadmill at incline (14-15%), which should mimic mountain running more than my local terrain does. Any reason why this would be a bad idea?

    I tend to like to do very structured stuff on the treadmill as the constant changing of pace/incline helps ease the boredom. 30/30s would be perfect for that as I could drop either the pace or the incline on the “rest” intervals but keep the work intervals at 14-15% and whatever speed that might require. Of course I’d still do a warmup and cooldown as the article above suggests.


  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #29057

    I don’t see any downside. In fact, I prefer using a treadmill for this type of work. Without it, I’m prone to over-estimating the target intensity.

    briguy on #29085

    Excellent, thanks for the response.

    How do you typically build up the volume? Based on the article I linked above, I was thinking I’d start with the 2x8min, then build something like the below:


    Anonymous on #29118

    The only significant problem with 30-30s on a treadmill is adjusting the speed when you move from the 30sec easy to the 30sec hard and back again. Remember that to be more effective, 30-30s need to have only about a 5-7bpm drop in HR during the recovery phase. It may take some time to find the right paces for the ON and OFF 30sec so that you can toggle between them quickly.

    Your volume progression looks fine.


    briguy on #29143

    Thanks Scott.

    Are 30/30s a Vo2Max workout or moreso Lactate Threshold instead?

    The case for it being Vo2Max is the high intensity that’s hit in the “on” intervals, but HR stays pretty steady in the LT zone instead for the entirety of the on/off sections.

    Anonymous on #29153

    They could be either. It depends on the pace. If you’re working on a treadmill, I would go by pace rather than HR. Then you know exactly.

    Anonymous on #29223

    AS Scott Semple says, it depends on how hard you are pushing the 30s on time. The way these are typically done I would say they qualify as what some people would call a maxVO2 workout but it also has a great effect on the lactate shuttle which determines lactate threshold.

    What we like about them is that they have a very high muscular endurance training effect because the ‘on’ time is short allowing the effort to be quite high from a neuromuscular stand point. Blood lactate stays relatively low which allows you to accumulate a high volume in high intensity. The 30 sec recovery period allows the myoglobin in the muscle cells to rebuild its store of O2 which lasts about 10sec and means the subsequent 30sec ‘on’ time to be be fast.


    briguy on #29239

    I did them on trail and they ended up being kind of a Lactate Threshold workout as my HR stayed close to my AnT the entire time (whether “on” or “off”).

    Some of that was due to the effort I pushed when “on” (which was a fair amount harder than 5K pace), but my HR dropped less than 5bpm when “off” even though I was jogging quite easy then. One thing that probably had an impact on that were the conditions here in South Carolina. Even on an early morning run like that, temps were in the mid 70s and humidity at over 90%, so dewpoint was quite uncomfortable. In those conditions, HR takes awhile to drop off.

    cramblda on #29348

    I did 30/30s and some ladders as part of the Luke Nelson Into to Ultra Running last year. I found these workouts to be incredibly challenging but also a lot of fun.

    I tried a 30/30 on the treadmill once when traveling and just couldn’t make it work well. When I was running at that high of an intensity, controlling the speed along with the delay in treadmill response was very hard for me to manage. I’m 6′ 4″ (193cm) with a long stride. Stride length may contribute to this problem for me, in that I don’t get much wiggle room before I’m off the treadmill at the front or the rear.

    If I recall correctly, the instructions were to run at AnT +5-10 and then drop by 5 for the slower interval. I was running around AnT+7 and dropping to around AnT+2. For me, this was pretty hard work to be fumbling with treadmill controls. The ability to instantly change my pace on the hill if my HR was dropping or rising too fast was very helpful. Although being very novice at workouts of this high intensity, I basically just pushed it as hard as I could go up the hill continuously and there wasn’t really concern of going over the AnT+10 mark. However, after many weeks of these 30/30s and the 2-3-4-5-4-3-2 minute ladders, I could run at AnT+10 for 5 minutes without slowing. My max HR was only about +4 higher.


    briguy on #29362

    Good points, and thanks for posting with your experience.

    My treadmill has quick-access buttons that can change pace or incline at a press so I’m not too concerned that I’ll be able to manage it while in-activity.

    And I like the idea of setting a certain pace for each 30 rather than relying on my own feel. Plus, there’s always the challenge with treadmill workouts to just “hang in there” at a certain pace.

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