by Andy Potts

Run month isn't over, apparently! Today we're here with Olympian, 70.3 and Ironman champion, and Wattie Ink. professional athlete Andy Potts. Although the weather is breaking around North America, some athletes are still on their treadmills, and still getting great results on them! Potts checks in today with a workout sure to build your efficiency and strength for your next 70.3 or Ironman.

Over the years, I have talked a lot about one of my key track/tempo workouts that I have called ’15 beat drops’. This is where your recovery time is completely dependent on how fast, or slow, your HR drops 15 beats from the end of an interval. Today, I am going to tell you about another one of my staple workouts, that I tend to do on the treadmill.

I typically do this workout on a Thursday, coupled with a shorter ride(1.5-2.5 hours) and a normal swim(1.5 hours). This workout is sandwiched between a fairly demanding day on Wednesday(1.5 hour swim, threshold bike work- 3.5-4.5 hours, and a 50 minute z2/z3 run) and Friday(long bike: 5-8 hours, z2 run-50 minutes-1:10) and therefore helps me solidify my Wednesday training and gets me primed for Friday.

So, what is the goal of this treadmill workout and what do I do?


Because I race mostly 70.3 and 140.6 distance events now, the running for me is more about strength then it is about pure foot speed; although that is still important and why I include it in my training.

Equally important, my run training is about raising my floor. For a full primer about Floors and Ceilings in your triathlon training, have a read here:

To do this, I manipulate the gradient and speed throughout the workout to raise the ‘floor’ of my recovery. First, though, we need to establish some terms and some goal paces.

What's my Base Pace?

To structure this workout effectively, you need to establish a realistic but challenging base pace and recovery pace. I would recommend setting your base pace at the grade adjusted half ironman race pace or half ironman race pace + :10/mile.

For example, My base pace for this workout is set at 9.0mph, that is roughly 5:45/mile at 6% grade or a 1:15 half marathon; which is within the ballpark of where I would run given I also train at 7k feet.

For your recovery pace, I would recommend starting at low end z2 and then progressing from their by either .5 or 1mph increments so that by the last 30 seconds, you are back at base pace at the lower grade.

The Workout:

10 min build warm up @ 1% - build to base pace for workout (8.0-9.0 mph) 
5 min steady@ 1% & base (9.0)

Main Set:
Four to six times through the following:
6 min @ 6% & base (9.0)
4 min recovery as follows: 30 sec straddle TM to recover/change settings
1 min @ 1% & base -3.0 (6.0)
1 min @ 1% & base -2.0 (7.0)
1 min @ 1% & base -1.0 (8.0)
Less than 30 sec @ 1% & base (9.0)

Cool Down:
5 min @ 1% & base (9.0)
Walk it out 

Alright, it’s time for me to jump on the treadmill. If you have any questions about this workout or need more tips, coaching or want to come eat, sleep and train like an Olympian with me and my coaching staff, check out all of the amazing programs we have at