I'm a new subscriber to Runner's World and I have to say, this magazine rocks! It's been years since I read a magazine that contained truly useful information. (In between their ads for fat-free yogurt, health magazines are all about reaffirming what you already know; parenting magazines are really only helpful to people who aren't actually parents yet.)
This month's issue had a recommendation for treadmill speed drills caught my attention, as our recent cold spell has made me spend more time with this mechanical beast than I ever wanted to.
Here's the RW plan:
Run 5 minutes fast (I chose 7.0 on the treadmill but choose whatever's "fast" for you)
Run 5 minutes easy (I did 6.0 for "easy," but do whatever is a casual jog for you)
Run 4 minutes fast
Run 4 minutes easy
Run 3 minutes fast (around this time it dawned on me that I was getting my ass kicked by the treadmill)
Run 3 minutes easy (had to drop down to 5.0 here because my heart rate was 175)
Run 2 minutes fast
Run 2 minutes easy
Run 1 minute fast (the longest minute of my life)
Run 1 minute easy
Of course you want to add in a warm up and a cool down, but the heart of the workout is 30 minutes. And a tough 30 minutes it is indeed.
If you're like me, you'll hate every second of it while you're doing it but be grateful for the training a few days later when you do your long run outside and notice you're running much faster than you used to, with less effort.