Progressive Speedwork

in All Posts

Part of my half-marathon training plan calls for speedwork, which so far I’ve been pretty good about fitting in.   In fact, I did two speedwork seshs this week!


Normally, I refer to the contraption below as the dreadmill because I really, really hate running on a treadmill.  I find it intensely boring.  I know it’s necessary to run indoors when it’s too cold or too hot, but really – it is not my favorite thing.


However, I do not mind doing speedwork on the treadmill at all!  It goes so fast and constantly adjusting the speed gives me something to do.  Plus, I’m much faster on the treadmill. 🙂


Today’s speedwork sesh was Progressive Speedwork.  This means that with each speed interval, I either got faster or held the speed for longer.  Progressive Speedwork results in a beautiful negative split!


Here’s my times (roughly):


  • Distance: 3.0 miles
  • Duration: 24:56
  • Mile 1: 8:50
  • Mile 2: 8:17
  • Mile 3: 7:50


Here’s my speedwork breakdown:


  • Minute 0 – 1: 6.0 mph
  • Minute 1 – 3: 7.0 mph
  • Minute 4 – 5: 8.0 mph


During Mile 2, I extended my 8.0 mph sprint to two minutes (twice), and during Mile 3, I held it for three minutes once (which was so hard) and sprinted at 9.0 for the last minute or so.




Banana, fruit tray (grapes and strawberries), roll with butter and jam, and Greek yogurt.


I better get going – I have a plane to catch!


Do you love speedwork?  Or do you despise it?



  • Cathy K January 29, 2011, 10:11 am

    nice work, caitlin! a negative split is definitely a beautiful thing!
    there’s a time and a place for dreadmill training – speedwork is one of them, in my book. even a long run on a treadmill develops mental toughness! the key (for any treadmill use) is to – speed, inclines, etc. keeps boredom at bay!
    safe travels! 🙂

  • Baking 'n' Books January 29, 2011, 10:21 am

    Don’t do it so can’t comment. But can relate from the past. How do you find using gyms now when you are traveling?

  • Kalli@fitandfortysomething January 29, 2011, 10:21 am

    i agree with you-speedwork on the treadmill is the best!

  • Marie-JourneytoBodyZen January 29, 2011, 10:34 am

    I really like speedwork but find that it is so much easier on the treadmill (and a lot harder to quit) than when you run outside! 🙂

  • AJ @ Flowing to Fifty January 29, 2011, 10:41 am

    Love it! And I especially love the feeling afterwards. And the benefits when the regular walking or running gets easier and easier.

  • Susan January 29, 2011, 10:53 am

    I did my first speedwork session yesterday. And yes – I think it’s SO much better than long runs on the treadmill.

  • Camille January 29, 2011, 10:56 am

    The treadmill is amazing for speedwork! It has made my miles about 1 1/2 minutes faster!

  • Alex @ Healing Beauty January 29, 2011, 10:58 am

    I’m just getting into running and I am too shy to go to the gym so I like the idea of running outside better.

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) January 29, 2011, 11:03 am

    Great job! I actually love speed work! I actually love doing my 400m pick ups on the treadmill…but any other time, I hate the thing. 😉

  • Melanie @ Jon and Melie January 29, 2011, 11:07 am

    Nice work Caitlin! Speedwork is much easier on the dreadmill. 🙂

  • Kari @ Human, MD January 29, 2011, 11:07 am

    I think I am more likely to get a consistent speedwork session in if I do it on the treadmill (because I have to keep going fast, or fall off…). But I am significantly slower on the treadmill than on the road, in general. I ran a half marathon outside, and a week later was running a minute slower pace on a treadmill and was dying three miles in.

    • Jazz January 29, 2011, 12:58 pm

      I’m slower on the treaadmill too! weird.

    • Christina January 29, 2011, 6:34 pm

      Me too, significantly slower!

    • Kari @ Human, MD January 29, 2011, 6:37 pm

      I’m glad I’m not alone!

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table January 29, 2011, 11:09 am

    i love the treadmill for speed work. for me, it makes it so much easier to actually do the speed work.

    awesome time!

  • Zo January 29, 2011, 11:11 am

    Wow. I can’t imagine running 8.0 or 9.0 for more than a few seconds. I work my way up to 8.5….but only for 15 seconds and I find that a challenge. But it does feel good.

    I prefer the treadmill in part because I can set the speed. I suspect I couldn’t run as fast *in nature*! But, it’s nice to run outside when the weather is nice (if it ever gets nice again in the northeast).

  • Jenn January 29, 2011, 11:13 am

    I am at a conference right now, and one of the breakout sessions is Operation Beautiful! Totally random, and made me smile. The conference is for RAs, and I think it is a great idea for residence halls (I am a hall director).

  • Sarah January 29, 2011, 11:15 am

    I have the opposite effect on a treadmill, i’m much SLOWER for some reason! I always feel like im trying much harder to keep the same speed as i have outdoors. I have been having to do MOST of my runs indoors because of all the snow we have, there are NO clear sidewalks and the roads are always icy.

  • Caitlin @ TPL January 29, 2011, 11:18 am

    I LOVE speedwork, it makes me feel amazing, I think the sprints getting your heart rate up so high wakes me up even more than steady running. I go for 2 minutes fast run, 1 minute walk intervals and I do tend to get faster by the end. Normally about 3 miles with 5 minute warm up and cool down, perfect 30 minute workout! Have a good flight!

  • Melissa @ Running with Needles January 29, 2011, 11:22 am

    I’m been doing lots of speedwork on the treadmill lately. It seems to be the only way of not wanting to poke my eye out while running on it! And your breakfast looks amazing! I loooove Oikos Greek yogurt.

  • Maddie (Healthy Maddie) January 29, 2011, 11:23 am

    Great job with the speedwork! I like doing speedwork every once in a while but I like long, moderate paced runs better.

  • Clea January 29, 2011, 11:23 am

    Do you recover between your speedy miles by running or walking slowly, and if so, at what pace/for how long? This is something I still struggle with on speedwork since I’ve read different things about recovery jog lengths.

  • Lindsey January 29, 2011, 11:31 am

    I love the feeling of doing speedwork, but my shins always hurt afterwards 🙁 It definitely makes treadmill runs go much faster though!

  • Anne @ butter and bear January 29, 2011, 11:33 am

    Dreadmill sums up exactly how I feel about that awful contraption. Love to run outside, but I just won’t run on a treadmill. Luckily, I live in Texas, so there are very few days in the year when I can’t run outside.

  • Kerry January 29, 2011, 11:43 am

    When I was in the bulk of training, I loved doing speedwork once I had a good mileage base. Right now, I’m just working back up to time on my feet! I found that when I worked on increasing mileage and incorporating intervals at the beginning of my training, it led to injury and “burning at both ends”. In a few weeks when I get my mileage back where I want it to be, then I’ll venture to the track again.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing January 29, 2011, 11:59 am

    Speedwork is HARD! Effective and necessary.. but hard.

  • Angela (The Lady Loves to Eat) January 29, 2011, 12:00 pm

    I have a love hate relationship with my treadmill. Sometimes I can run miles and miles on it and sometimes I’m so bored to death I can barely make it a mile. I prefer speed work on a treadmill I’m actually not sure I have ever done speed work outside.

  • Paige @Running Around Normal January 29, 2011, 12:08 pm

    Whoa you ARE a speed demon on the t-mill. I have a love/hate relationship with speed work. I love it because it works, but hate it because it treats my hip badly 🙁

  • Kara January 29, 2011, 12:09 pm

    I used to hate speedwork, but I do it all the time now. Not because I want to, but because it’s the best way for me to squeeze in a good workout during nap time. It just happened naturally (trying to run as far as possible before the baby wakes up), but it’s really helped my running! So, when people say having to take care of a baby made them out of shape, suck it! 😛

  • Natalia - a side of simple January 29, 2011, 12:16 pm

    I don’t mind speedwork only if it’s on the treadmill. Plus, I need to have an awesome playlist “carefully constructed” or else I have a hard time focusing my mind on it. You did great! Have a safe flight home!

  • Morgan @ Life After Bagels January 29, 2011, 12:32 pm

    since my knee’s not doing so well these days, oh yeah and I’ve been sick for what seems like a month, I’m all over the bike – I wonder if I can do speed work on the bike, oh wait I’m sure I can isn’t that what a spinning class is?

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) January 29, 2011, 12:40 pm

    I also call it the dreadmill. I can only survive long runs on it if I have a TV with audio. Ugh.

  • Gill (snaxandthecity) January 29, 2011, 12:40 pm

    love speedwork! it’s pretty much the only running that i can tolerate. it makes the time go so much faster!

  • Kristen January 29, 2011, 12:49 pm

    Glad you managed to get to the gym and didn’t “waste” that gym clothes space in your bag.

    I have a love hate relationship with speedwork. It hurts so bad but I feel great about 5 minutes after it is over.

  • christina cadden January 29, 2011, 12:49 pm

    Love your shirt

  • Allison @ Happy Tales January 29, 2011, 12:56 pm

    I’ve actually never tried speedwork on the treadmill before, but i’ve heard it really helps the time pass by! I’m gonna have to incorporate that sometime…

  • Corrie Anne January 29, 2011, 1:04 pm

    I hate speedwork! But it’s so much better to do on the treadmill. I try to do it in my neighborhood and I start making bad traffic calls because I’m trying to sprint. I don’t want to get run over!!!! Plus speedwork does really help your workout time FLY! Nice work.

  • Kathleen @ Kat's Health Corner January 29, 2011, 1:07 pm

    Grapes and Strawberries are my favorites!!!! 🙂 Great running times!! 🙂

  • Stephanie@Thorns Have Roses January 29, 2011, 1:15 pm

    I’m always faster on the treadmill! Sounds like a great workout.

  • Kristy@RunTheLongRoad January 29, 2011, 1:16 pm

    Speed work is not my favorite…in fact, I rather do a long run instead! I just suck it up but at least it goes by very quickly!

  • Amber K January 29, 2011, 1:22 pm

    I actually prefer running on the treadmill to running outside, because I can hop off at any point if I want to.

  • Caitlin January 29, 2011, 1:22 pm

    I don’t know why but I really like that your voice isnt the perky one I expected… it definitely seems more relatable but also on some weird level it gives you more credibility! ha don’t know why but will start googling fun voice studies now…

  • J January 29, 2011, 1:28 pm

    LOVE Speedwork. I don’t mind doing it on the treadmill or the track. I love the track in the summer but when its really snowy in the winter I have to hit the treadmill.

  • Amanda January 29, 2011, 1:45 pm

    I like speedwork, whittled my pace from a 14:00 to a 10:30 since June. I run a lot on the treadmill for a bunch of reasons. Its winter up here, I have asthma, I have a gym membership etc. Once April hits I start going outside once a week. I find the treadmill keeps me a bit more honest as I walk a lot more when I’m outside.

  • monicanelsonfitness January 29, 2011, 2:18 pm

    love and hate with speed work. 🙂 treadmill is best though for it to me..

  • Jess@atasteofconfidence January 29, 2011, 2:18 pm

    Speedwork definitely helps the monotony of the treadmill, but I am actually faster outside!

  • Leanne (For Health's Sake) January 29, 2011, 2:28 pm

    Speedwork makes time fly by! Even when I run outside, I try to look ahead and tell myself to “sprint to the next set of lights” or things like that… it’s great to sometimes focus on 1-2 minutes of your run at a time, instead of looking at the BIG picture!

  • Lauren January 29, 2011, 2:36 pm

    Speedwork on the treadmill makes it way better, and I actually prefer speedwork on the treadmill vs outdoors or on the track.

  • Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} January 29, 2011, 2:40 pm

    I was a college sprinter, so speed work is definitely my thing. I prefer doing it on the track, but if I have to run on the treadmill, speed work is the way to go.

  • christine January 29, 2011, 2:50 pm

    I do most of my running on the treadmill because I live in like a safe bubble that is only conducive to 3 mile runs. I run much faster outside, though. The treadmill is great for speedwork and I try to do it at least once a week.

    Love, love, love your shirt!

  • Caitlyn (A Spoonful of Life) January 29, 2011, 2:55 pm

    Oh no! The dreadmill! That is definitely not my favorite machine, which is surprising since I pretty much ran on everyday last year. Lately, the dreadmill running I do is speedwork, like you.

    Those are very great split times!

  • Caitlyn (A Spoonful of Life) January 29, 2011, 2:56 pm

    Oh no! The dreadmill! That is definitely not my favorite machine, which is surprising since I pretty much ran on everyday last year. Lately, the dreadmill running I do is speed work, like you.

    Those are very great split times!

  • Holly January 29, 2011, 3:01 pm

    I had to run a long 6 today on the dreadmill, of course it’s supposed to be long as slow, but it never is. I always kick in up a notch in order to get it all to fit in the 1:05 before I would have to start the treadmill again. I am training for a 10M and than my first 1/2 Marathon so I do tempo and speedwork as well. I have only done easy speedwork, with no negative splits. I do love the treadmill for making me push myself, as I have only run outside a hand full of times and have no concept of how to pace myself. As the weather improves I will be doing it more!

  • faith January 29, 2011, 3:06 pm

    I LOVE speedwork and I love what it does for my body!

  • megan January 29, 2011, 3:13 pm

    Fan of non-treadmill speedwork here. I am so much slower on thatthing. I ran a 10k one weeekend in 53 mins and some change- the next weekend I struggled to run 6 miles in an hour on the mill.

  • rebecca lustig January 29, 2011, 3:18 pm

    speed work definitely makes the workout more interesting. i, also, DREAD treadmills and usually get bored or convince myself i’m done after about 25 minutes lol

  • Sarah (Sarah Learns) January 29, 2011, 3:26 pm

    i don’t mind running on the treadmill, but i ALWAYS mess around with the speeds and inclines. otherwise i go ca-razy! nice job with the negative splits! 🙂

  • Kiran January 29, 2011, 3:35 pm

    I always find I’m slower in a treadmill. So weird, perhaps it’s boredom? I love your tshirt, so cute 😉

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss January 29, 2011, 3:50 pm

    I haven’t tried speedwork yet, but I do have fast runs every now and then. I guess changing speeds is easier on treadmills and I’m like you, treadmill running is SO boring compared to outside!

  • Maren January 29, 2011, 3:56 pm

    I love that shirt!! And I love speed work when I have to be on the treadmill. You’re right, it goes sooo much faster!

  • Kiley January 29, 2011, 4:14 pm

    I actually really like doing speedwork, and on the treadmill is the best. It pushes me more than I would push myself otherwise. And it keeps better track of my speed & time than I would! That is a great shirt!!!

  • Rachel @ Grateful Girl Goes Gluten Free January 29, 2011, 4:41 pm

    I love speedwork, it passes the time so much more quickly!

  • Melissa @ For the Love of Health January 29, 2011, 4:46 pm

    Nice job! Speedwork is great when I feel like doing it! I also include inclines in my speedwork.

  • Runeatrepeat January 29, 2011, 5:39 pm

    I think I may start becoming a fan of it since I’m so desperate to get faster!

  • Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) January 29, 2011, 5:45 pm

    I def have a love hate relationship with speed work… hurts so good, right ?

  • Sana January 29, 2011, 5:48 pm

    Speedy speedy!! I hope your fot feels better!

  • Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! January 29, 2011, 5:51 pm

    I LOVE speed work! It has really made such a better runner. In fact, I just wrote a post about it:

  • Sara (Miles and Manhattan) January 29, 2011, 6:32 pm

    I LOVE doing speedwork on the treadmill. I suck at pushing myself outdoors and the tmill is SO easy in that respect. Nice run!

  • maria @ Chasing the Now January 29, 2011, 7:44 pm

    WOW! Great run, Caitlin. Looks like you could hit a 5k PR in the near future if you wanted. 🙂

  • Maryann January 29, 2011, 8:00 pm

    I love speedwork! I only do it on the treadmill..I usually just alternate a minute or two fast and a minute or two slow. Your workout looks like a good one! Safe travels!

  • Lisa January 29, 2011, 8:59 pm

    I used to do speedworkabout once a week. I liked it because it was hard and I felt sore the next day!

  • Rae January 30, 2011, 12:31 am

    I really don’t like speed work but if you have a good workout that’s not entirely too boring haha I’d love to try it.

  • Rae January 30, 2011, 12:33 am

    Fixed website**

  • Kathie @ Frugal Fit and Fabulous January 30, 2011, 9:31 am

    Excellent job on the speedwork. ya know, im one of those that actually does not mind running on the treadmill. then again, i have not gotten much experience running outdoors yet either. im training for my first 5k so i have a feeling once the warmer gets better my tune will change. LOL!

  • Joy February 2, 2011, 8:18 am

    Speedwork is something I have to start. I am a slow and steady runner I have a great time running but think I need to start pushing it a bit

Healthy Tipping Point