Have you ever tried to run your interval session or speed workout on a treadmill?
For me, my plan today read “9×400 @ 5K” or in words: nine repetitions of a faster 400 meter run at your 5K-Race-Pace.
Problem Number 1:
In general, treadmills do not always show your current pace, instead they display your overall running time and speed in kilometres or miles per hour. To find my goal pace I entered my goal Half-Marathon pace into the McMillan Running Calculator and then checked the section for Equivalent Race Times in different times.
You could of course also use the “Your Optimal Training Paces” section but then you still have to convert the time into a pace. In my case roughly 1.50 minutes or 110 seconds multiplied by 2.5 and divided by 60 and then the decimal part multiplied by 60 again:
110 x 2.5 = 275.
275 / 60 = 4.58333
.4583 x 60 = 27.5
=> 4 minutes and 27/28 seconds.
Problem Number 2:
In order to convert your pace into a speed you will likely need another tool – at least I do. For this I use my trusty Treadmill Cheat Sheet. First you will need to find your pace under the Min/Km or Min/Mi section (with this tool you can even use your 5 km race time directly!) and then you look at the column entitled MPH or km/hr. I figured I would try to go for roughly 13km/hr or a little slower if I felt like it because I would still hit my time goal.
Problem Number 3:
What I finally had to get used to was shifting gears on the treadmill. The one I use at the gym here in Barcelona has buttons for every second speed (4, 6, 8, 10, 12, … km/hr) – some will have an actual number pad which makes things a lot easier. I took my cellphone with me to write down my 400m times during the recovery periods.
I was struggling with leaning forward on a moving surface and press buttons eleven times (since I could only choose 12km/hr and then go from there on) a little but managed not to break my neck.
Will I do this all again? Maybe not, maybe yes. It was fun being able to count down the meters on the display but I think I would be happier on a track or with a Garmin.
In the end I ran nine times 400 meter at 1.50 sharp without getting faster or slower.