Interval training is the most effective way to improve your speed and performance but it isn’t always an easy activity to plan out. When running outside, traffic and pedestrians can get in the way of your interval training. The great thing about treadmills, whether you want to do a hill workout or a intervals on a flat surface, you can go to the same place. Running on an interval training can also improve metabolism, endurance, and neuromuscular strength.
A research group out of South Dakota recently looked at how treadmill interval training on and incline and level ground effects running economy and power. They had two treadmill groups (one doing incline intervals, the other flat intervals) and a control group who ran their regular running routine. Running economy testing consisted of oxygen consumption and blood lactate. At the end of the six week protocol, the strength gains were relatively the same for the treadmill groups compared with the control group. The treadmill groups showed a significant improvement in running economy.
Improving your running economy means you are able to maximize your aerobic capacity (VO2max) while holding off your lactate threshold. This will allow your cardiovascular system to be more effective when running ad sub-maximal levels. It is interesting to note that there was not a significant difference between the incline group and the level group. This is a good sign for new runners. If you are going to be running an hilly event, it is important to practice on an incline but if you are new to interval training, you can still benefit from level-surface interval work. Another important point here is the strength component. If you think you are getting in a strength workout just by running, you are wrong. It is always important to add strength in order to support your running.
- Kathleen Leninger, PT, DPT,
- NY Custom PT & Performance
- 295 Madison Avenue #1026
- New York, NY 10017
- Farley D, Osborn R, Vukovich M. The Effects of Incline and Level-Grade High-Intensity Interval Treadmill Training on Running Economy and Muscle Power in Well-Trained Distance Runners. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. May 2014. 28 (5) 1298-1309.