Friday, May 4, 2012

This Workout is No Joke–Try It!

I went the gym yesterday, set the treadmill on a 15% incline and started running.

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A 15% incline is no joke. In fact, the treadmill motor has to work very hard just to get to that incline. I figure if I’m going to work hard, so should the treadmill.

“But, we thought you were injured,” the blog world sneers at me.

Yes, this is true. But, unlike with my stress fracture, my doc and PT actually want me to run in order to stress the muscles/tendons enough to make them start healing.

This is a fine science. You have to run enough, but not too much. There should and will be some pain. I am told to keep it at about a “3”on the pain scale. I am told that if I have discomfort afterwards that lasts more than 24 hours, I should pull back.

image

One example of how to measure pain

Right now I cannot get on the bike because my bike seat hits exactly where my hamstring tear is. This feels exactly like someone jabbing  a Q-tip into my eardrum. When my tear first occurred (but before I really knew it), I took a 22 mile bike ride in the country and wanted stop and ask every farmer I saw if they would massage my sitz bone.

So, my challenge is finding workouts that I can do to keep my cardio where it should be, but not tax my body too much.

Enter the 15% incline. I first heard bout this from this blogger. Then I did some research on it. According to well known running author Matt Fitzgerald (Brain Training for Runners, Racing Weight, Run), fast walking or very slow running with the treadmill set on high inclines “stands to improve your running almost as much as running itself,’ yet it is very low impact. Theoretically, it won’t increase your risk of injury any more than say the elliptical will. You can read more HERE.

I ran this by my PT and she supported it. Although hamstring injuries can be irritated by uphill running, the treadmill is such a smooth and even surface that it can be quite forgiving.

Here’s what I did and kicked my ass:

Set treadmill on 12% – 15% incline. 15% is the highest many treadmills will go. This alone should tell you that you are a beast.

3.5 mph for 5 minutes (warm up)
4.0 mph for 5 minutes
4.5 mph for 2 minutes
5 mph for 1 minute
Repeat 3 times, then cool down for 5 minutes at 3.5 mph

Total workout time: 34 minutes

Eventually you can increase your time so that you work up to 60 minutes.

The high incline forced me to be on my forefoot and this felt like it took pressure off of my hamstring. I had no pain and got in a killer workout.

You obviously do not have to be injured to do this workout. If you are hard pressed for time, this 34 minutes will give you a great bang for your buck (that’s the line hooker’s use).

Be careful to ease into things. Uphill walking/running can put stress on your calves and achilles. Also, ask your PT, doc, gynecologist before you attempt this if you are injured. It certainly would not be beneficial or indicated for all injuries.

When you run on the treadmill, do you set it on an incline? Pre-injury I would put it on a random setting so it would shuffle between 1% and 5%. I would challenge myself to say at the same pace regardless of incline.

Ever try a workout like this one where your incline is super high, but your pace is slowed quite a bit – even to a fast walk? This was my first time. I LOVE a good challenge, so this is a great workout for me to add into the mix.

Have a great weekend friends!

SUAR

67 comments:

  1. I think I just hit my head on the table when I saw 15% incline. That is bananas friend. Let's say I hope I never have a hamstring tear and not just because of the pain but because of the 15% incline. Yup, I'm out.

    BTW - I just saw that you have join MILLIONS of other subscribers and I laughed out loud. That is awesome. I am going to put Gazillions on mine. I mean if there are a gazillion people subscribed why wouldn't others. Ha Ha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Mr.-Just-About-Ironman - I think you can handle 15%.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, probably not. I mean 15% is like running straight up.

      Delete
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  2. I have been looking for a low impact workout that would actually improve my running. For sure going to try this... Thank you.

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  3. Yeah, be warned: the treadmill may overheat or start acting funny if you go too long at the higher inclines (45 plus minutes). If you see smoke, you may want to stop. I use to try to do the steep incline walk for about 30 minutes to train for climbing 14ers. You just reminded me, I ought to start doing this again.

    That said, I was huffing and puffing at 3.5mph. You are quite the badass.

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  4. 15% incline? holy hell that's nuts...even for me. The max I've done is a 10%. I am taking time off running because of other things and will definitely give this a try. I plan to go back to running (and training for a full marathon starting June 1.

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  5. 15% is awesome! No sneering here. I bow down. :)

    I hope it helps and am glad you have something you can do that is good for the healing and will keep you happy and sweating!

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  6. My trainer has had me doing intervals of incline running for a while now--I use an incline of 11, speed between 5.0 and 5.5. It's helping to improve my running off the treadmill in a big way. I usually do Tabata intervals (20s running, 10s resting...eight times) with this.

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  7. I think I should try that. I am headed to the gym for the summer soon...the kids will be out of school and the HEAT will be here to stay any day now...

    I have a question..at this incline to hold on to the top of the TM or the side? I have never tried to go that high before.

    thanks for sharin the workout
    I tend to get bored on the TM and I am always looking for new ideas.

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  8. 15% incline? Yikes!! I love a good treadmill ass kicking, but damnnnn haha. The most I ever did was a 10% incline. Such a good workout.

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  9. I will try this walking! I'm still not allowed to run, but I've been encouraged to do hill walking. That certainly sounds like a hell of a hill.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it is. Start at 10-12% and see how it feels. Our PT gave me the go ahead on this one.

      Delete
  10. When I was injured (hell, what I am saying, I'm still technically injured) my doc said to do power walking. Okay. I found a treadmill workout that varied the incline between 2 and 10% and the speed between 3.8 and 4.8 MPH. I was so incredibly sore after that workout. More than I'd been from running excepting my first marathon.

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  11. Uh. I hate walking.. WALKING around San Fransisco. I refuse to subject myself to volentary tread milling of a crazy ass incline, when there is no pizza party at the end of my little jaunt. Pop in a Digiorno and then we'll talk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Then try running instead of walking. I hate walking too.

      Delete
  12. i use the treadmill a lot now that Perfect Pacer is injured and I no longer road run alone. I ALWAYS use a 15% incline. I walk at 4.4 for .25 mile, then lower incline to 8% and do a series of Tabata runs for .50 mile (at 9.0 speed) then incline back t0 15% for .10 mile (4.3 speed), down to 10% to finish the mile (8.0 speed). I do this for a minimum of 6 miles. I actually love it by the time I'm finished. I hate the first set. I have noticed that when I do get to road run - I am much faster (credit to Tabatas) and I've quit walking the intimidating hills in my town. And yes, everyone in our gym thinks I'm a beast.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wrote this one down because my butt, hamstring and vagina are pissed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure if it will help with the vagina, but it's worth a shot.

      Delete
  14. That sounds painful and scary, so I will pass. I'll just keep running down my totally flat roads then wonder why my hilly marathons are hard.

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  15. Oh god. Once I ran at incline 2, for like 30 seconds. But I'm not a runner, lol. Super impressed and frightened. I would have been staring at you in the gym.

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  16. Whoa! 5 mph at 15% incline sounds tough! I walk around my neighborhood, which has a lot of very steep hills, but I definitely don't go that quickly. Sounds like a great workout to keep up the cardio!

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  17. I've never done this on a TM. Sounds intriguing and I may try it :)

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  18. When you are injured and want to keep up your fitness, you do whatever you have to do! I also have a high incline treadmill workout on my PT schedule although it says backwards so it's scary from a clumsy point of view.

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  19. I suck going up hills. One would wonder why I keep signing up for Pikes Peak!! You are very hard core to run a consistent pace no matter the incline setting...I can't do it. It sucks to be old.

    Hope the incline workout helps keep you in tip top shape though...and great news that you got into PT earlier - hooray!

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  20. I enjoy incline work on the TM to simulate hills. When I say enjoy, I mean I enjoy it as much as riding my road bike on the highway while semi after semi whizzes by with thismuch clearance between me and their 18-wheeled death machine. It's an adrenaline rush. lol. I can't say I've ever purposely attempted a 15% incline but yeah, talk about a compact workout. Throw in some core work after that and a person will be beach body ready in no time. I really hope your injury heals fast and heals well. I know how it feels to be sidelined with an injury and to deal with some nagging issues after you're 99% healed. Take care and kick that TM's arse.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I don't know that I could tollerate that kind of hike on a TM, so if I were to try something similar I'd go for a steep hike outdoors. Running, I keep the TM at .5% (which is flat for the TMs at my gym), increasing the incline every third song or so while trying to maintain the same pace. Past 4-5% I'll slow my pace. I love hills and I think they are what keep my legs strong. I'm all about resistance in spin and on the elliptical. Hope you find relief and strength with your new workout!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Yup I believe it!!!!!!! And only because of the condition I'm in now. IT hurts to walk, move BUT I've been told I have to do it because it will help. So if it will help my screwed up condition surely it will get your better. :) Happy healing to you!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I actually heard about a workout very similar to this on a radio talk show. It sounded horrible so of course I tried it. You are not kidding, this workout is no joke!! Its what I do when I know I don't have much time but need to get something in for the day. Best 30 minute workout ever!

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  24. Who knew setting the incline at its highest % would be such a bear!! Poured sweat just walking fast!

    ReplyDelete
  25. When I injured my IT band a year ago (just typing that makes it ache!) Dr.'s orders were the 15% incline on the treadmill approach. Normally, I set it at 1%-5% to mimic the road, that being said, I would rather run outside, no matter the weather! I don't know how you can endure the dreadmill like that- amazing fortitude, even injured!

    ReplyDelete
  26. The past few weeks I have been doing my long runs at trails with ridiculous inclines (steep ranging from a quarter to a mile to a mile). Although my paces were slow - I had a feeling it was making me stronger. Today I went out for 12 on the pavement with moderate hills and killed my normal pace for 10-12 miles!

    IT HELPS!

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  27. So glad it worked out for you! Happy healing. :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. I've been doing similar things, training for Pikes Peak Marathon. Amazing how hard of a workout you can do when it's that steep, with very little impact. Brutal at the time, though. Hope it works for you.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hey! Your post made it to my Zite Running page. Big Time SUAR!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow that is super cool. I had no idea!! I am such a bad ass. If only. Thanks for pointing that out.

      Delete
  30. I rarely pass 5% on the TM - thank heaven I live in Colorado - no choice but to run hills outside!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Woo! Thats hard work on a tredmill, commitmemt right there!;)
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    ReplyDelete
  32. I have done walking and slow jogging on the treadmill at the 15%.
    It is great for the low impact!!

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  33. More great info! Thank you. I especially find the pain staging helpful. I always feel like I am trying to "describe my pain" to my PT. Thanks!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Your posts are super informative lately and coming at the perfect time! I went to a doc last week that specializes in running injuries and he told me the same thing. He told me to try running but to stop if the pain was above a 3 out of 10. He told me not to run 2 days in a row and no more than 4 miles. I've done just that, and according to your little chart thingie, I am at a Stage 2. I had no idea about the incline running though. I'll have to try that this weekend. I will ask my doctor about it on Monday when I see him. I have a feeling he will encourage me to do it.

    Injury sucks, but hey! We're getting back at it, slowly but surely! :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. I know this post is months old but would this work for plantars fasciitis?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kristen: I've been catching up on Beth's blog posts and saw your question. Try googling "Astym" for your plantar fasciitis. I battled it for 6 months before getting a recommendation for this therapy from a friend and it worked wonders! Plus, I could still keep exercising/running during the treatment. I am fairly new to running and constantly amazed that more people don't know about or do this therapy. Yes, it (Astym) hurts like hell, but I haven't even had a twinge of pain in that foot since I completed treatment 8 months ago.

      Delete
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