Except when you don't have a choice. Freezing rain, ice/hail, and temperatures above 90 degrees are all conditions that will force me to either skip my scheduled run or get the miles in on the treadmill. Which is usually fine for a 30-45 minute run. But this past weekend, with 15 on the Pittsburgh Marathon training schedule, skipping the long run wasn't an option. And neither was running outside- it was hovering in the low-30's with freezing rain and snow- not the kind of weather you want to be spending 3+ hours in.
So onto the treadmill Matthew and I went! For three hours and twenty two minutes. And three seconds :-) Honestly, I didn't think it was that bad but as I was chatting with other runner friends, I realized that there's a lot of hatred out there for the treadmill. While I will always prefer to run outside, there are times that the treadmill is a must. So let's try to hate it less- here are my tips for surviving a long (or any!) run on a treadmill!
- Bring a Friend. Having a buddy to slog out the miles with on the treadmill is a God-send! It truly does help the time go by faster when you can chat with a friend.
- Split the run into time, not miles. This little mental trick is instrumental in helping me wrap my head around the run. For last week's 15 miler, I knew it would take at least three hours so I focused on getting through each hour; rather than each mile.
- Find something good to watch- or listen to. I'm lucky enough to have access to a small gym with a TV and a treadmill. I prefer to watch something inspiring, usually an athletic event. Movies, TV shows, and podcasts are also helpful in keeping your mind distracted. You can even use your phone to watch/listen if you don't have access to a common TV.
- Reach out to your social media tweeps. Several times during last weekend's run I shared my progress on twitter- and got lots of encouraging tweets back. It was really helpful to know that I had support from all over the interwebs.
- Use the Speed Interval function. I just learned about this a few weeks ago. Most treadmills have a "speed interval" button or something similar. It allows you to alternate between two different speeds with the push of a button- one for walking and one for running. It makes using the Galloway run/walk method ten times easier on the treadmill.
- Visualize your goal race. Remembering WHY you're on the treadmill can help you stick to it. Visualizing the course, the finish line, how you'll feel on race day- all of those thoughts can power you through the boredom that often accompanies the human hamster wheel.
So during this seemingly endless winter for most parts of the country, make friends with the treadmill and use it to help you reach your running and fitness goals!
What other tips do you have for the treadmill?