February 04, 2014

Incline interval workout

My kids had another snow day yesterday... can you believe that?! I've lost count how many days they've had off because of this weather. Yesterday, the temp wasn't bad at all--in the teens--but the roads were a couple inches thick with ice from the downpour of rain we got on Saturday. I went for a walk with my IceSpikes yesterday, and I couldn't believe how thick the ice was. I tried to get a good picture to show the ice, but the pics didn't do it justice at all. The streets didn't have just patches of ice--it was literally about two inches thick on top of the entire road.

Needless to say, I'm still using the treadmill. I've actually gotten to the point where I don't mind it anymore! I've been watching Flashpoint, which keeps me interested enough that I actually look forward to the treadmill. Yesterday, I tried a completely different type of run, just for the heck of it, and I ended up really liking it!

In short: 20 x 30 seconds at maximum incline (my treadmill goes to 12%) at pace equivalent to 1-mile race pace (see below), with 30 seconds rest in-between.

In long: First, I determined what my 1-mile race pace equivalent would be, with a 12% incline. My 1-mile race pace on flat ground would be about 6:55 (8.7 mph); but at a 12% incline, I could get the same effort level (and heart rate) by running at a much slower pace. I used a calculator to figure out the equivalent, and it came out to 5.9 mph (a 10:10/mi pace). So by running at 5.9 mph on a 12% incline, it simulates running 8.7 mph on a 0% incline (in terms of effort). Is that clear as mud? Good.

Here is the calculator I used. Click where it says "Calculate equivalent treadmill pace at __% incline" and type in the max incline that your treadmill goes to (usually 10-12). Then, type in your 1-mile race pace (the fastest pace you could run for 1 mile) in the spot on the top right, where it says "Pace". Then click "Submit" and you should get the equivalent pace and miles per hour. That mph is what I used to determine the speed for my treadmill.

So I set the treadmill at 12% incline and 5.9 mph. I hopped on and ran 30 seconds, then hopped off (straddling the sides of the treadmill) and completely rested for 30 seconds. And I repeated that 20 times. It sounds like a lot, but it goes by REALLY quickly.

At first, I thought, "This is WAY too easy... it should feel a lot harder than this" but that was when I realized that the incline was only at 6.5%. I have no idea why it stopped climbing when I pressed the "12", but after 5 of the 30-second intervals, I realized the mistake and increased the incline to 12% for the next 15 intervals. That was definitely a lot harder!

My heart rate was at the top of Zone 3 during most of the intervals, and then when I hopped off to rest, it usually climbed into Zone 4 for a few seconds. It was definitely a tough workout, but I loved that I didn't feel like I was tearing up my legs by running so fast and hard. It was a very gentle run, because of the slower pace and high incline, but it was still a kick-ass workout!

The first 5 intervals were at 6.5% incline by accident, so my HR was lower

Most shocking to me, however, was the number of calories I burned in that short little workout: 198! I was only actually running for half the amount of time shown, so about 10 minutes of actual run time.

I never see a calorie burn even close to that for just over one mile! Anyway, I really enjoyed this workout--it was challenging in a totally different way; I didn't have to run fast; it went by really quickly because each segment was only 30 seconds long; and I burned an insane number of calories.

Because my run was so short in terms of distance, I went for a walk to try and get in my 10,000 steps for the day. I walked to my parents' house, where my kids were playing outside with my dad. My parents live on Lake Erie, which is totally frozen right now for as far as you can see. The kids set up a little sledding hill from my parents' yard down to the lake. I went down it a couple of times, and it was pretty fun!

We walked out onto the lake (the ice was at least two feet thick). I was nervous at first, because I think I watched too many Rescue 911 episodes about people falling through the ice when I was kid! But once I realized just how solid it was, we walked out pretty far.

It was such a gorgeous day with the sun shining! The sun helped melt some of the ice on the roads, so thankfully, the kids had school today. I was planning to go visit Mark today, but Jerry sent me a text when he got to work that he accidentally took both sets of car keys with him... so I was stuck home at home (again). I'll definitely go visit Mark tomorrow!


  1. We got another 8 inches of snow yesterday, so I'm stuck treadmilling and this is a great idea!

  2. You're getting hit with snow again today, aren't you? Man, it's been a tough winter! I had to get a night run in last night because I knew I would be on the treadmill today. I like yuor treadmill workout. I might try it.

  3. Looks like fun in the snow and ice to me! You in the upper Midwest have had it so much worse than us here in Nebraska. We haven't really had much snow, so today, after a measly 3" here yesterday, they called off school. I think they just wanted a day off! It is super cold, however, and the cold bothers me a lot since I lost weight. I lost my insulation layer! My son, who weighs close to 500 lbs., is a BIG geocacher. He posts pictures on FB of him and his 4-year old daughter walking out on lakes, in search of a cache, and I really worry that the ice will give away. Sometimes I don't think he realizes how big he is. Years ago, when he was very young, my husband drove out to a local lake to do some hunting, and when they went back to get in the car, it wouldn't start, so they walked across the frozen lake to get to a phone booth and call me. When I heard about their walk later, I was horrified. Like you, I guess I've watched too many of those TV shows where the ice breaks and people have to be rescued. It terrifies me.....

  4. how do you keep track of your intervals?
    do you keep count, or do you somehow figure out that x number of intervals equals x distance and stop then

    1. For these ones, I just ran 30 seconds on, and then rested for 30 seconds, so the distance was irrelevant. Usually, I use my Garmin to keep track of distance :)


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