Adjusting hill sprints on a treadmill

  • Creator
  • #38405

    I’m in middle of the Intro to Ultrarunning plan and it has me doing hill sprints—-3 sets of 4×8 sec power running uphill. Lacking real hills, I tried this today on the treadmill and found that it doesn’t actually work that well. It takes too long for the treadmill to gear up to the pace I need for it to be a power workout, and it’s a little complicated to speed it up and then jump on.

    Is there a way to adjust the workout so that it still serves the same purpose but can be accomplished easier on a treadmill? I do have a *very small* hill nearby but not sure it’s steep enough or long enough to get what I need.

    PS it also has 2×30” med effort, but that feels more doable, as the treadmill can build to the needed speed in around 10-15 seconds

  • Participant
    OwenFW on #38406

    Sprint up stairs?

    Dada on #38408

    I also doubt that the speed of the treadmill is sufficient for a sprint.

    Brett on #38411

    I hold onto the rails and float a bit with my feet until the treadmill gets close to speed then let go. I then start counting 2-3 seconds after letting go as it takes about that long to top out. So, my sprints end up being roughly 13 seconds instead of the prescribed 10, but 10 seconds is at the max speed. I have an incline trainer that maxes out at 6 mph once the incline gets 25% and higher, so I just increase the incline if I find that 6 mph isn’t fast enough.

    Anonymous on #38636

    Even if the incline trainer has a silly limiter (which mine does as well), most people can definitely get these done on a treadmill. Really fast runners will either need a faster treadmill or the right terrain outside.

    The speed that I usually use is 240% of anaerobic threshold speed. We’re not training for sprinting, so close enough is close enough to get the desired effect.

    If the treadmill does have a limiter as inclines increase, I would use less of an incline and a higher speed. There are mechanical benefits to a higher cadence.

    Most importantly, don’t go fast enough to get hurt. You’ll stop before the treadmill does… 🙂

    MMK on #38702

    Thanks all for the suggestions.

    The speed that I usually use is 240% of anaerobic threshold speed.

    I did my AnT test on flat ground, so not really sure what the equivalent would be at 15% incline. On flat ground it was ~6:25 pace.

    I can’t tell if mine has a speed limiter or not, but it didn’t feel like I was sprinting, nor generating all that much power—despite pretty high speeds.

    I’ll give it another shot, however, I’m wondering, if it doesn’t work super well for me, would it be better to just go back to doing the Functional Runner strength routine instead of this? If the idea is strength training, will it matter all that much which one I do?

    Anonymous on #38736

    Strength is one component of sprints, but there are other benefits as well. Personally, I don’t treat them as equal.

    240% isn’t a magic number. You could find AnT HR at 15%, not the speed and then try something 2.4 times greater. Or you could mess around with the treadmill to find a speed where it feels manageable for the first 3-5″, but near your limit 5″ later.

    If not sprints, I would try hill bounding. You could do that on stairs as well, taking them three or four at a time with maximum vertical thrust between bounds.

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