February 20, 2012

surviving the 'dread' mill

When I first started running, I stuck mostly to the treadmill.  Partly because I thought I looked like a fool while I was running, and mostly because I was terrified of dealing with hills.  Though I got more comfortable with being outdoors, Chris started residency and the only way for me to get my workout in was to hit the gym.  So the treadmill it was.

Even though I would much rather be outside, I'm not interested in being outside at 5am (or before), and I prefer to get my workout finished in the morning.  So I'm still hitting the treadmill.  Treadmill runs have gotten easier as I've gotten faster.  Knowing I only have to last about 28 minutes to get in three miles is pretty doable.  For the 3-4 mile runs, to keep me sane I tend to do intervals and my own little version of speed work.  Alternating the speed and incline keeps me a bit distracted and helps the time go by.  If I'm not up for a hard workout, reading the captions on the TVs at the gym also helps.  Or people watching.  Anything to keep from watching ever 1/100th of a mile tick off.

For long runs (6+ miles) I would much prefer to be outside.  I could always do my long runs on Thursdays, when Ryann is at MDO, but it tends to eat up 2-2.5 hours out of my day (including a shower), and I would rather shower before Ryann gets up and have a good solid six hour time span to do what I want.  Thankfully I've lucked out and Chris has been home a lot of Sundays, or I've been at my parents.  But lately that hasn't been the case.  I've been slacking on the long runs because I am so sick of the treadmill.

Yesterday, though, I decided I needed to do more than six miles.  It has been a few weeks since I've done that distance and I was feeling guilty about it.  So I set out to do 7 miles on the treadmill.  A few things made that slightly daunting...

First, the treadmill switches to cool down mode after an hour.  I can make it 7 miles in an hour, but I have to be going fast.  And I wasn't up for killing myself.  I knew if I hit the hour mark before 7 miles, I'd just call it good and get off then.  The solution?  Take a bathroom break halfway through.  After 3.5 miles, I stopped my treadmill and made a little pit stop.  Then hopped back on and did another 4.

Secondly, BOREDOM.  Really that it is one of the most difficult things about being on a treadmill.  You are in the same spot for the entirety of your workout.  So spending over an hour in the same spot?  Not so much fun.  I started playing games.  For a while it was every time there was a commercial break in the show I had to change my speed.  Then it was if the guy next to me increased his speed I had to increase mine.  Obviously if it started to get too tough I slowed back down and then worked my way up again.

People watching is definitely another way to combat boredom.  There was, I'm guessing, a 13 year old girl at the gym with her mom yesterday.  Just a tiny little thing.  She must have changed cardio equipment five times during my 3.5 mile stretch.  I have no idea what she was doing.  Probably just trying them out, but it was kind of funny to watch.

Ok this post is mostly just rambling,  Moral of it?  If you're stuck on the treadmill play some sort of game with yourself.  Running is so mental, you just have to distract yourself.

And I'm patting myself on the back, 7.57 miles on the treadmill yesterday.  Not too shabby.

 

How do you survive mundane cardio workouts?
I hope the linky stays working this week.  Sorry for the mess last week!

11 comments:

Amy said...

I did 7 miles on the treadmill on Saturday and it was horrid!! I can't wait for warmer weather and clear sidewalks and trails so I can do longer runs outside. I like the idea of making a game of it, though. I'll try that next time!

Jennifer said...

I definitely make the treadmill a game. It's the only way to power through. With the right tv show and a good view it isn't horrible, but I still get bored. Great job getting your miles in!

Nicole said...

I can really relate to this. I choose to run on the treadmill during the week because 1) I need to run before I head to work because I don't have time/want to do it after school is over and 2) I'm a little leary to run outside at 5:15am by myself. It's fine during the week because I only run 3 to 3.5 miles. However, I'd much prefer to run outside. Time goes so much faster out there - more to look at, mind is freer. While I was training for my 1/2 this past fall/winter I was dreading the cold and the ice because I knew I would not be able to stand 8-11 miles boxed in on the treadmill in my basement. Luckily, the mild winter allowed me to be outside for every long run. I admire you for running over 7 on the treadmill. Maybe being at a gym would help my boredom. I can only stare at the TV/my basement walls for so long! :)

Amy said...

7 on a treadmill!! Goo!! I want to cry after 3 miles on that thing, 5 is def my max. I have 7 miles this week, I started half training again. Going to do the Johnston's half in Wichita in April. Can't believe I am doing this again. Congrats on the 7 miler!

Erin said...

My treadmill is in my basement, so no people watching for me :) I listen to music for shorter runs, but for 5+ miles, I watch something on Netflix via my phone...it's a great distraction until I can get outside!

Lisa said...

7.57 miles on the treadmill, thats awesome! I can only make it about two miles before I give up on the treadmill! I prefer running outside as long the weather isn't below freezing!

Kristen said...

As for the treadmill going into cool down after an hour . . . talk with someone at the gym and ask if any of the treadmill are in "marathon mode". It will allow you to go 90 minutes, I think. Not that you could run a marathon in that time either! I had the same problem and my gym did some research and put a few treadmills in that mode for me and my running buddies.

Lindsay said...

That's a lot of miles on that treadmill girl, GREAT job!!! This post couldn't come at a more perfect time considering I have been complaining about treadmill running since the day I started C25k ;0) Thank you for the tips and realizing it's all a mental thing!!

christa said...

Nice job on the treadmill speedy!!

Sharstin said...

Getting the miles in on the treadmill is for sure boring. I always do intervals and speedwor to mix it up:) way to go galsy!

Amanda@runninghood said...

I hear ya about the treadmill ! I live on one these days as I'm training for my marathon. the one in my garage has a computer so I watch youtube videos and at the gym I watch t.v or people. But sometimes I just think of getting fit and my goals. :)