Incline Vs. Speed Intervals…Which One Is Better?!

Now we’ve discussed adding speed intervals into your treadmill runs, as well as adding incline intervals into your walking treadmill workouts, yet now many of you are wondering which one is better for you?!

Well LiveStrong.com attempts to answer that question in an article titled Treadmill Incline vs. Speed. First let’s go over the differences in both so we’re all on the same page here, just in case any of you missed our latest posts.

Speed IntervalsAdding speed intervals on the treadmill, often called speed work or speed training, “refers to spurts of speed inserted in the middle of runs.” Now the length of these spurts can vary from timed intervals ranging from 15 seconds to 3 minutes or they can also be unplanned where you run as long as you feel you can or to a certain length. Yet take not that “you do not have to run to include speed work – you might be a walker striving to run and alternate jogging and walking.” This would be a good option for a beginner.

Incline IntervalsNow with incline intervals you switch up the intensity of your incline during your workout without varying the speed much, if any. “Runners may include treadmill hills as part of along training run, focus on one long hill or run short hill drills at an increased pace.” Treadmills are great for incline intervals for those who do not live near hills allowing them to “arrange their workouts so as to help meet their goals. Walkers may stimulate a hike and build glute and hamstring muscles by adding an incline to their workout.”

The benefits to both of these, incline and speed intervals, is that they’ll both increase the amount of calories you’ll burn during your treadmill workout. Yet which one is best still remains the unanswered question?! “Choosing hill work or speed work really depends on your goals.”

For one who experiences joint pain, incline intervals are a great choice to increase intensity of your walks, yet still avoiding the joint impact running can cause. Incline intervals also help to improve a runner who is training for an outdoor race because it more prepares them for outdoor terrains than speed intervals will. Walking or running on an incline helps to improve leg strength, movement efficiency, form and aerobic conditioning.

Yet for those runners looking to increase their running speed, speed training is obviously going to be the way to go. Also those “aspiring runners benefit from speed drills as it gives them an opportunity to ease the body into running without overdoing it and risking shin splints and extreme muscle soreness.” Speed intervals are going to help improve endurance and fat-burning capacity.

The ideal option would be to include both types into your workout routine to “benefit your overall fitness level and help you achieve your goals.” Yet whichever you feel is right for you, or you prefer, as long as you’re on that treadmill working out that’s all that matters!