Camel Humps Workout

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After every finish line, there’s another race!  My next triathlon will probably be the Tri for Abby, a local sprint triathlon.  Since it’s a new race, my goal is to place in my age division (there might only be 3 people in my age division, so that’s not as impressive as it seems at first).  


For the next month and a half, I’m going to focus on speed training.  Running speedwork can be very hard on the joints!  I can’t do run internals more than once a week or my knees begin to beg for mercy.  However, I can happily integrate more swim and bike speedwork to maximize my training.


Hence, the Camel Humps Workout.  I call it Camel Hump because if you imagine it as a graph, there are two little bumps in speed. 


The first ‘hump’ illustrates the run, which you must do on a treadmill!


The Camel Humps Workout involves slow increases in speed every two minutes.  You’ll need to adjust the speeds per your own fitness levels.  You’ll want to max out at a pace that is fast but manageable for two straight minutes.  Here’s what I did:


  • 0 – 2 minute at 5.0 mph
  • 2 – 4 minute at 5.5 mph
  • 4 – 6 minute at 6.0 mph
  • 6 – 8 minute at 6.5 mph
  • 8 – 9 minute at 7.0 mph
  • 9 – 11 minute at 7.5 mph
  • 11 – 12 minute at 7.0 mph
  • 12 – 14 minute at 6.5 mph
  • 14 – 16 minute at 6.0 mph
  • 16 – 18 minute at 5.5 mph
  • 18 – 20 minute at 5.0 mph


This workout equaled 2.0 miles exactly!


I transitioned quickly, to replicate race-day settings…


And jumped in the pool for a similar progressive workout.  I used the clock to time myself, trying to shave 10 seconds off each 100 meters until I hit 300 meters, and then I worked my way back down, just as I did on the treadmill.  In total, I did 500 meters.  I’d like to make the Camel Humps swim longer in the future – but I’m still sore from Saturday’s race!


I like speedwork because it’s so mentally consuming.  It makes your workout FLY by.  And you kind of feel like a badass pressing the ‘increase speed’ button on the treadmill all the time.  Oh, wait.  That’s just me?  Nevermind.


Lunch featured leftovers from last night:


Pizza + goat cheese, more steamed greens, and a lovely peach.

IMG_8144 IMG_8146

Do you do speedwork?  Is your limit one – two days a week like me or can you do it more frequently?



  • Sara K August 9, 2011, 1:34 pm

    I love that you call it Camel Humps Workout, I think I’m going to try it. I’m kind of a novice at working out in general so gathering all the useful tips I can get from the blog-world.
    Ahh I just had a yellow peach like that this morning- summer really has the most amazing stone fruit 🙂

  • Khushboo August 9, 2011, 1:37 pm

    Great workout! I love speed sessions as it’s such a boredom buster! I am totally going to replicate that run, minutes 8-14 sound intensee!

  • Brooke @ Tales of a Bride-To-Be August 9, 2011, 1:53 pm

    I like speedwork, I can only to it twice a week. And I only do it for a total of 5 minutes. I usually do an easy run for 8 minutes (like 10:00 min pace) and then 5 minutes at a 7 minute pace and back to my easy 8 minutes. Thats all I can do now, but hope to increase it in the future.

  • cathy August 9, 2011, 1:53 pm

    i don’t do speedwork at all!
    but i DO love switching up the pace/incline on the treadmill – it’s mentally engaging and prevents boredom.
    nice workout! and i’m glad you have another race on the horizon!

  • Tricia August 9, 2011, 1:53 pm

    I don’t run a lot (I prefer the elliptical or fast-hilly walks on the treadmill), but when I do run, I always, always, always do interval workouts. The one you posted today would be totally manageable for me so I may give it a whirl tomorrow.

    • CaitlinHTP August 10, 2011, 9:49 am

      Oh yea, you could definitely do this on another cardio machine!

      • Tricia August 10, 2011, 12:52 pm

        Did this on the treadmill today and loved it! I even sent my husband a version for him to try (he’s faster than I am lol). It was just the kick in the butt I needed 🙂

  • Amy August 9, 2011, 1:56 pm

    My next race is a half marathon. I’m planning to run three days (one long, one medium, one speed), and the rest of the strength and yoga. I’m anxious to see if this translates to a possible PR!

  • Gavi @ Gavi Gets Going! August 9, 2011, 1:57 pm

    I love the Camel Hump workout–such a cute name! I love speedwork. It makes the workout fly by, and I love seeing my progress from week to week. I usually do one or two speed workouts per week, one of which is usually a speedy 5k. Like you, I try to start off easy, build up to a challenging/sprinting pace, and then finish off easy. I also love pool speed workouts!

  • Beth (Well I'll Be) August 9, 2011, 2:00 pm

    Doing speedwork is really the only way I can tolerate the treadmill! I don’t do it often enough though!

  • Beth (Well I'll Be) August 9, 2011, 2:02 pm

    Doing speedwork is really the only way I can tolerate the treadmill! I need to do it more often. It really does help my overall pace and it’s a great way to get in a shorter, but still tough workout.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat August 9, 2011, 2:04 pm

    I like the camel humps! I do speedwork on the treadmill and prefer it that way because I like to time myself for exactly a minute, or run at a particular speed, without having to guess or constantly look at a watch. I’m like you in that I don’t do it every day – I think I’d burn out pretty fast if I did! Usually I’ll work in about 2 interval runs per week.

  • katie @ KatieDid August 9, 2011, 2:05 pm

    I agree that speed work is much more mentally stimulating. I do sprinting about once a week. Sometimes running, sometimes biking, and today I did it on the elliptical. That’s the most I do, as I’m not training for anything but its an excellent way to stay in shape without needing to log endless miles running.

  • Faith August 9, 2011, 2:05 pm

    Hey, Caitlin! I just started jogging so that I can reach my goal of running a 5k this year, and while I’m only up to jogging two miles consecutively (so obviously, I know I’ve got a bit to go), I feel like I will never be able to go faster than 5.5 mph. I’m 5’2, and I feel like my short legs hold me back.

    Do you think their is a correlation b/w height and speed? Can short people work up to such speeds as you suggest here?

    • Caitlin August 9, 2011, 2:08 pm

      Hi there! 🙂

      I’m only 5 ft 3 so my answer is YES 🙂 You can do it. But it will take time to get speedier. Being taller = longer legs, which does help a bit, but then you also weigh more, which can make it difficult to run faster. So I think there’s a point of diminishing tallness returns. Not sure. Anyone else have any feedback?

      • Blair August 9, 2011, 2:52 pm

        Haha, I’m 5’11” and I still can’t get comfortable at anything faster than 5.7 mph or so for longer runs.

      • Wendy August 9, 2011, 2:58 pm

        My vote is definitely for diminishing tallnesss returns. My training partner is 6 inches shorter and 50 lbs lighter than me (I am 5’10”), and she is way faster! But I think anyone can get faster by doing speedwork.

        • Whitney August 9, 2011, 3:04 pm

          I don’t think there is any correlation between height and speed. The more you do speedwork the faster you get 🙂

    • Heidi August 9, 2011, 5:46 pm

      I’m 5’2″ and have recently been able to get up to 7.0-it just took me awhile to get there! So it’s definitely doable, but could take time. 🙂

      • Faith August 9, 2011, 10:59 pm

        Thanks, ladies! I’ll just keep at it 🙂

  • Kristin August 9, 2011, 2:05 pm

    So glad you’re doing the Tri for Abbey! My uncle is good friends with Abbey’s dad, so although I stick to just running (for now) I’m trying to help get the word out! Good luck training!! 🙂

  • Tami August 9, 2011, 2:05 pm

    i ran with my “fast” friend…Fast Dave is what I call him. it’s brutal but worth it. Looking down at my Garmin and seeing 7:45 for my pace made me nauseous

  • Leah @ L4L August 9, 2011, 2:06 pm

    I can really only do 1 speedwork session a week with running also. I usually go up to a local elementary school and use the track. It does make the time fly by!

  • Laura @ My Reason to Tri August 9, 2011, 2:12 pm

    i despise speedwork, but i do try to pick up the pace towards the end of the workout to help with my “kick”

    i have to know… do you take SO many pictures of your pool without looking like a total creeper. i want to take some pics of my lovely (not really) pool for the blog, but would feel like a total idiot!

    • CaitlinHTP August 9, 2011, 3:01 pm

      Haha I am well past the point of caring whether or not I look like a creeper. So I probably do look like a creeper.

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday August 9, 2011, 2:15 pm

    I prefer speedwork and intervals to long distance runs because they’re quicker and less boring even though they’re intense.

    My go to treadmill interval workout is 20 minutes (incl. 2 minutes of warm up and cool down)

    Minutes Speed (mph)
    1 – 2 5.5
    3 6.0
    4 7.0
    5 8.0
    6 9.0
    7 6.0
    8 7.0
    9 8.0
    10 9.0
    11 6.0
    12 7.0
    13 8.0
    14 9.0
    15 6.0
    16 7.0
    17 8.0
    18 9.0
    19 4.0
    20 6.0

    I also love doing intervals on the spinning bike. It’s much easier to pick up speed on a spinning bike so I can make the intervals really short, like tabata.

    • Camilla August 9, 2011, 2:22 pm

      looks great! thanks! 🙂

  • Rae August 9, 2011, 2:23 pm

    lol, love the name. It’s also called a pyramid workout, but I think i like yours better. Good luck in your tri, but maybe a PR would be a better goal, cause you never can tell who shows up…Ive set huge PRs and not placed cause there were more people in my age group than I thought!! Either way, good luck!

  • Camilla August 9, 2011, 2:24 pm

    I love intervals! I get most of mine from PBFingers and Sweet Tooth Sweet Life! Moves ‘n’ Munchies has great ones, too! 😀

  • Ashley O. @ The Vegetable Life August 9, 2011, 2:28 pm

    I too have to limit speedwork because of my knees 🙁

  • Baking N Books August 9, 2011, 2:30 pm

    Did you join a gym? How do you find it?!

    Wow..that TJ’s pizza must be big if there’s still leftover! 🙂

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen August 9, 2011, 2:31 pm

    I love speedwork b/c it keeps things interesting even though it’s super hard. I can only do 1-2 sessions a week though too. I try to at least do a tempo run or legit intervals of speedwork once a week. Although, if I get stuck on the treadmill (winter or bad weather) I tend to do more just to keep myself from getting bored in it.

  • Tracy August 9, 2011, 2:36 pm

    I do a camel hump (great name!) workout on the treadmill that involves increaseing the speed every minute, until I nearly die, then I decrease the speed every minute. The dying part is an exageration obvs 😉 I need more of a warm-up though, so I start at about 6.0 mph, and take 10 minutes to get up to 7.0 mph, then another 5 minutes to get up to 7.5 mph (which is about my current 5k race pace – 8:00 miles). After another 2-3 minutes of increase, it’s painful, but then I see if I can hang on and go higher. Some days I can, some days not-so-much. The killer part of this workout is on the way back down the hump… it’s so tempting to just hit the 5 (for 5 mph), but you have to let your breathing come back slowly, each incremental minute. The fact that you have to hit a button each minute keeps you focused though, and this can easily turn into a 40 minute workout.

    I can usually only handle one speedwork session per week.

  • Katie August 9, 2011, 2:41 pm

    I try to be cognizant of negative splits and try to have one run a week where I focus on continually increasing my speed to reach negative splits. You should really start biking more! Since I’ve upped my biking, I’ve really seen an increase in my running endurance and speed. I know it’s scary in Charlotte but let me know if you ever wanna give it a whirl 🙂

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me August 9, 2011, 2:45 pm

    I enjoy speedwork however don’t do it that often. It does make the workout FLY by.

  • Chelsea August 9, 2011, 2:51 pm

    I do speedwork on my @ home treadmill once a week 🙂 When I first started running I did it twice a week but now I only do it once a week along with my long distance runs and an easy run.

  • Wendy August 9, 2011, 2:55 pm

    I am training for a marathon doing one long run + 2 speed workouts a week! I hope it works and I don’t die on race day, lol. It’s based on CrossFit, which I already do on a regular basis, and each speed workout ends up being only 1-2 miles worth of running. I may be one of the few people that actually prefers a track workout over a slow and steady run. Plus, my body can’t handle a lot of miles, so I run less miles and make ’em count.

  • Whitney August 9, 2011, 3:01 pm

    I’m training for my first marathon and do speedwork once a week. Last night I did 8x400s at 6:40 pace on the treadmill. I can tell that speedwork is making me stronger and faster during my other runs. It’s a welcomed change of pace and I agree it makes the workout fly by!! 🙂

  • Kayla @ August 9, 2011, 3:14 pm

    its not just you. I did my first “speed” workout (intervals of .25mi alternating between goal and my first half-marathon pace) for 2 miles yesterday and I enjoyed jacking up the treadmill speed 🙂

  • Mary August 9, 2011, 3:17 pm

    I cant do speed more than a couple days a week, my hips start to really bother me. Actually… I should start stepping on the speed train if i want to do well in my half marathon in November!

  • Michelle August 9, 2011, 3:21 pm

    Speaking of your knees, hows it going with the Vibram toesie shoes?

  • Ali @ Ali Runs August 9, 2011, 3:24 pm

    I love speed workouts! They go so much faster than regular runs. I also love the results I see from them.

  • Emilie August 9, 2011, 3:29 pm

    My dog hates water, too! Great looking lunch there, and what a great way to re-create tri day! I love to swim and run, but I doubt I’d make it through. Best of luck to you!

  • Tanya @ Vegan Faith August 9, 2011, 3:29 pm

    This looks like a great workout! I can’t wait to try it!

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats August 9, 2011, 3:30 pm

    Haha love that you call them camel humps! I used to do interval training all the time, but I haven’t tried it out since I returned to running after an injury (i’ve only been back for a week!) but I can’t wait because it really does make the run go so much more quickly because you’re mind is occupied!

  • Carolina John August 9, 2011, 3:47 pm

    I love speedwork too. Lately my progressive runs like that one have been on going longer faster by increasing the speed every 10 minutes. Typically I’ll do 30 minutes at 8.0, then 10 minutes each at 8.5, 9.0, 9.5 and warm down for another 10 minutes or so. They are fun.

    Treadmill intervals are by far my favorite though. Watch your distance instead of time. warm up for half a mile, then do sets of 0.3 miles fast and 0.2 miles slow until failure. So each set is half a mile. Based on those progression splits, I would do the slow at a 5.0 or 5.5, and I like to increase the fast speed with each interval. So I would start do the fast repeats at 6.9, 7.1, 7.3, 7.5, and 7.7 mph. Do that once a week and in no time you’ll have to adjust the starting speed to be 9.0. yes, really.

  • Rosa - Fitness, Food, Fulfilled August 9, 2011, 3:52 pm

    My marathon training schedule recommends doing intervals once a week, but I skip this part. Ever since I developed plantar faciitis several years ago, speedwork leads to re-injury (must be the tendon being pulled to its limits). I’m not focused on finishing in a given period of time, so I’ll just run my tortoise pace.

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) August 9, 2011, 4:10 pm

    Marathon training has totally killed my desire to do any kind of speedwork. I know I should, but I’m so tired all the time that it’s out of the question :/

  • Justine August 9, 2011, 4:10 pm

    Is any of your husband’s family in London or other places where there have been riots? DH and I have been watching agape at it all (he’s from Sheffield)…

  • Kathryn (Flopoodle) August 9, 2011, 4:22 pm

    Speed work does amazing things for your pace, and you feel awesomely tired afterwards! I tend to only do it 1-2 times per week, too, since my hamstring is still recovering from an injury and extending it to run faster seems to cause more pain.

  • Lindsay@ In Sweetness and In Health August 9, 2011, 4:30 pm

    I don’t do races…but I like that camel humps workout just for a cardio day! I may have to try that soon 🙂

  • Sue @ Sue In Training August 9, 2011, 4:41 pm

    I’m totally with you, it seems my body can handle only a limited amount of speed work, so I try to do it only once a week. I have a love/hate relationship with speed work runs. It’s really fun to run faster than usual, but I always feel like I’m dying after just a few minutes. That’s when you need some mental strength to finish. Phew!

  • Heidi August 9, 2011, 5:49 pm

    I love speedwork and agree that it really makes a workout fly by! I’m with ya though-if I do it more than twice a week I start having ankle/foot issues. 🙁 I usually do speedwork on the treadmill, but recently tried it on the elliptical too to mix things up and I liked that too! I’m totally stealing this workout from you!!! 🙂

  • Heidi August 9, 2011, 5:49 pm

    I love speedwork and agree that it really makes a workout fly by! I’m with ya though-if I do it more than twice a week I start having ankle/foot issues. 🙁 I usually do speedwork on the treadmill, but recently tried it on the elliptical too to mix things up and I liked that too! I’m totally stealing this workout from you!!! 🙂

  • Sarah @ w30 August 9, 2011, 6:35 pm

    You are definitely not the only one who feels badass hitting the speed up button! I also like to increase my incline (of varying heights up to 10) when I take walking breaks. It works different muscles, so the ones I need to rest are still resting, but it keeps my heart rate up and I feel like I’m rocking a good workout even during my breaks.

  • Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats August 9, 2011, 6:45 pm

    Speedwork makes me feel like a badass too! lol. 🙂 I do speedwork once a week right now just because I am enjoying being able to run outside in the mornings since I don’t have to be up at the butt crack of dawn for school!

  • Lacey @ Lake Life August 9, 2011, 6:49 pm

    I’m in a peachy mood lately too. I’ve been eating Jenna’s roasted peaches with goat cheese, sprinkled with honey and roasted hazlenuts every day!

  • CJ @ August 9, 2011, 7:34 pm

    I dont really do speed work but I do like to do intervals. It makes the time on the treadmill go so much faster!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin August 9, 2011, 8:22 pm

    That’s how I do my speedwork too! Only, mine is a single camel hump because I just stick to running. Gradually increasing to a fast pace makes it so much easier than just jumping right in!

  • Mary August 9, 2011, 9:39 pm

    I haven’t done speed work since I started running outside in the spring. I was just talking to my best friend about it this AM on our long run (PDR 7 miles this AM in training for my first hslf marathon next month!!). I am definitely slower than when I was doing speed drills on the “dreadmill” but I think I will have to add them back in to speed up a little. My goal right now is just to finish that half though! And I agree with only once a week for the knees when you do it.

  • Emily @ Comfortable Home Life August 9, 2011, 9:46 pm

    I LOVE speedwork but I’m just like you — I can only do it once a week. I’ve never tried the camel hump, I always do intervals. I’ll have to switch it up this Wednesday!

  • Dana @ the Big Fat Skinny August 10, 2011, 6:23 am

    Awesome, Caitlin! I love the “camel humps” workout! I’ve been considering integrating a little speed work into my training for an upcoming half-marathon and this could fit in perfectly.

  • Amber K August 10, 2011, 12:15 pm

    I love the term camel humps workout and I love that it goes from “easy” to “OMG dying.” Nothing like a little HTP hilarity to lighten up my morning. 🙂

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