More treadmill musings

I wrote before about the treadmill experience. Everyone who runs a lot eventually reaches that question of how to continue when the weather turns bad. I can hear some people already… “Buy a jacket” (got one) or “You wimp, just get out in the rain” (done that). I have been joining in the group runs with the folks from The Balanced Athlete in Kent and that seems to make it easier to bear the weather.

Still, who wants to get wet and cold so often that you catch a cold. Then you’re really screwed… Sooner or later you have to hit the treadmill but that brings its own problems. Such as:

Boredom – we are all beautiful people (haha) but running any serious distance in front of a big mirror in the gym is not very stimulating. If you’re a complete narcissist then no problem. I use the mirror to monitor how my stride looks – watching for poor form and so on. I don’t use an IPod though… the beat of the music is distracting when it doesn’t fit with the speed I’m trying to work with, but that’s just me…

Injury – the temptation is to set our desired pace and just go, but I have read how that can lead to problems. This upside – the ability to get consistent pace training – means your pace, gait, stride, etc also repeat endlessly… If there’s anything wrong with those that may be bad for your feet/legs, then what you do is dramatically increase the injury risk. I adjust belt speeds at least every mile – some 9 min miles, some 8 min, some 8:30… etc. On slower paces I also compensate by adding a bit of incline to keep heart rate up.

The waiting line – want to run 10 miles ? The gym is busy ? How many people will get ticked off watching my 80 or 90 minute effort. It’s just common courtesy and most gyms try to restrict people to 30 mins or so. At this stage of my Houston buildup, I tend to hit the fitness center at the quiet hours. Inconvenient but no complaints.

The weather – Yes, we came indoors to escape it, but now we have indoor wether to deal with. Used to wearing certain stuff for your runs ? I find it too warm for my desired pace in almost every gym situation. I usually take extra shirts and have to change every few miles or so. It sure helps to keep that nice woman on the next treadmill happier…

As I look up at the end of this posting, I see a nice clear, crisp winter morning. I’ll get my shoes on and happily do my 4 miles in the freah, Auburn air. Happy treadmilling, everyone.

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~ by John Rankin on Dec 7, 2006.

4 Responses to “More treadmill musings”

  1. this is a great description of a distance runner’s experience on the treadmill. You’re right, I succumb to its misery every winter no matter how much my mind protests to its impending boredom. Variation is key.

  2. I have mentioned this elsewhere also: I find the answer to the boredom is to get some great podcasts. Looking on iTunes or Podcast alley, there are so many comedy / current affairs / management / self help / radio podcasts to take you mind off things that even when I don’t feel like running, I go for a run anyway as I look forward to listening to the podcasts so much!

  3. I did 10 miles last Wednesday at 6AM with the temp being around 18F (-7.7777779 Celsius for NoelRyan). I rather be frozen (I was quite cozy actually after 1/2 mile) than bore myself on a treadmill. Funny, Runner’s World latest issue has an article about running on the treadmills…

    Beat The Treadmill Blues

  4. Oh boy – that is cooooooold!!!! I bet the hot shower afterwards felt good though!

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