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What is the opposite of love at first sight? Whatever you call it, that’s the sort of relationship the treadmill and I are working on.
You see, whenever I step on a treadmill, I have every intention of running for at least an hour. It seems like an adequate number; if I’m going to run in the comfort of a warm, dry, indoor gym, I should at least serve my penance of an hours worth of miles. (Runner’s weird like this.)
Yet every time I start running on a treadmill, without fail, I throw my plans out the window within the first half mile. I can’t blame it on the tedium of the human hamster wheel, as four or five minutes is hardly enough time on the treadmill for my attention span to completely dissipate. Perhaps it’s the call of those speed buttons in front of me, tempting me to run faster and faster. Perhaps it’s the fact that running faster causes me to focus on breathing (and not falling) instead of how many minutes I have left. Regardless of the plan I have when I walk through those gym doors, every treadmill run always ends in a sprint, and always ends much sooner than initially anticipated.
As I wrote last week, I’m trying to learn to appreciate the treadmill. Think about it, what an amazing invention for all of us to have access to! Your very own 2.5 x 6 foot moving road in the comfort of your home or a gym, free from the dangers of snow storms, texting drivers, and volatile Jack Russel terriers. And besides, there are even benefits to running on a treadmill. In trying to convince myself it was true, I wrote an article about it. Check out my fancy pinterest work to the left.
I have admitted, numerous times now to having zero shame in taking my runs indoors when the mid-day temperatures barely clear 10 degrees and the wind gusts reach gale force levels. I am not a hardcore weather runner, I’ll be the first to admit it. A warm Heather is a happy Heather, so in an attempt to not lose all of my running fitness once again this winter, the treadmill and I have some serious work to do over the coming months.
Alas, “learning to appreciate” anything is a process, as in learning to appreciate rest days (I hate them) or learning to appreciate the taste of beer (that took me a few years); thus, I don’t expect myself to be running marathons on the treadmill by winters end.
What is my rambling point this time, you may be wondering?
Instead of becoming frustrated with the fact that I hardly ever pass the four mile mark on a treadmill, I’m taking advantage of what does work for me right now, and that is intervals and speed. One of the greatest benefits of running on a treadmill is forced consistent pace. If I tell the treadmill I want to run at a 7:00/mile pace, I’m going to run at a 7:00/mile pace until I either a) jam my fingers on the down-arrow indicating to the treadmill that I want to slow down or b) fall off. ( I personally always aim for option “a”. ) On the contrary, while running on the road or trail I can try to sustain a specific pace, but fatigue may cause me to slow down without even noticing, as perceived exertion levels still remain high.
So to bring this blog post full circle, ending my treadmill sessions in a sprint (or at least a running effort that leaves me panting and slightly terrified of tripping over my own feet) is turning out to be great for my training. A long-run-failure-blessing-in-disguise, if you will. I’m hoping as the winter goes on, I will be able to come up with various workouts to keep me entertained on the treadmill. As I do, I am more than happy to share them with my readers, in hopes that we can all survive the doldrums of the winter months, and come out a little stronger on the flip side. So without further ado: week one of the treadmill diaries. Enjoy!
Have any great treadmill workouts? Feel free to share your pins or blog posts in the comments below!