Treadmill Workouts and Triathlon: Perfect Pace for Your Fastest 10K

  • By Liz Hichens
  • Published Jun 3, 2009
  • Updated Jun 3, 2009 at 7:33 PM UTC

Written by: Lance Watson and Lucy Smith

Over the next few days, LifeSport coaches Lance Watson and Lucy Smith provide a series on how to have the most successful run leg of your next Olympic-distance triathlon.

To run a fast 10K straight off the bike takes a unique combination of skills and training. Unlike a pure 10K road race, a triathlon 10K challenges one to cope with nutrition and hydration needs for an event lasting two or more hours, and with the physiological transition from cycling to running at close to threshold pace. Through practice and commitment, you can perfect your race-day fuelling and hydration strategies.

Using weekly bike-to-run sessions, you can create the muscular adaptations and psychological toughness required to run strong off the bike. Finally, performing regular interval sessions of fast running will condition your neuromuscular and cardio-respiratory systems to run faster over the full 10K distance.

To improve your run times for a 10K, you need to increase your anaerobic threshold, training your body to deliver and use oxygen and glycogen more efficiently. Provided you have a strong of base of aerobic fitness, you do this by running short, fast intervals, in which you raise your heart rate to within 10 beats per minute of your anaerobic threshold (or the fastest pace you can sustain for roughly one hour), followed by short recoveries.

These workouts serve to increase anaerobic threshold pace and also create a physiological tolerance for the discomfort of intense running and accumulating muscle fatigue. In the end, you will be able to sustain your optimal pace, cadence and stride length for the duration of the race. On the flip side, work at threshold-pace training is demanding on the body and causes significant muscle tissue damage, so you should do it sparingly and allow sufficient recovery time between efforts. Running too many interval workouts will result in injury or burnout.

Next up, Watson and Smith explain why running on a treadmill can help to improve your cadence, and give specific treadmill workouts to improve your 10k time.

Over the past 20 years, LifeSport coach Lance Watson has coached new triathletes in addition to many Ironman and Olympic champions. He is the official coach of Ironman. LifeSport coach Lucy Smith has coached athletes ranging from beginners to world champions. She is also a two-time world medalist and a 19-time national champion in distance running and multisport. For more information, e-mail or visit

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Liz Hichens

Liz Hichens

Liz Hichens is the Web Editor of She is an Ironman and marathon finisher and fan of all endurance sports.

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