Due to popular demand....
So now that the cooler weather is here, I've been forced to return to the treadmill in order to keep up with my running. Yes, I know that it is only October and that this makes me a bit of a baby but I end up with earaches otherwise. I guess I'm not hardcore. Anyway, I didn't realize how much I had grown to appreciate that time running outside until I hopped on the treadmill. Blah.
Treadmill running can be a bit mundane so I thought I would share my tips with you.
Have a fixed goal in mind before you start your run. It can be difficult to stay motivated on the treadmill so it always helps me if I know how far I need to/want to run. If I said, "I'll just run until I get tired or too bored," I mostly likely would never get very far.
MUSIC. You need music and it needs to be loud. Forget about reading or watching television.
Get rid of the clock/watch. I don't want to know how much time has lapsed because then I can estimate fairly easily how much more time I have left. A minute can last for a really, really, really long time.
I have this routine where I try to keep track of how many songs I have heard. I know approximately how many songs will get me through a mile. The other day I wanted to run 3 miles. I thought I was close based upon how many songs I had run through. I was actually at 2.94 miles. Yippeeee! I've done this before and gone past my goal. I love when it works out that way.
Cover up the tracker. My treadmill has a .25 mile track on the display panel and watching that lime green light go around it is like watching a pot of water waiting for it to boil. It's torture. Plain and simple. What I do is pop the cover out of a CD case (I suggest one with a hot rock star on it) and place it over the display panel so that the track and time are covered.
I should note here that I still live like it's 1999, which is why I have music CDs. We have a stereo set up in our "home gym" so I don't run with an iPod.
Calibrated. Take note that the speed showing on your treadmill most likely is not accurate. In my experience, most treadmills are not calibrated, which means that the speed will be close but will not match true outdoor running.
Here's an example. When I want to run an easy run outside, I run at 10 minute miles. I've been pacing myself at 10 minute miles for years and years and years. I know what 10 minute miles feel like. If I try to run at 6 miles per hour on my treadmill, I won't make it very far. If I set the treadmill at 5 miles an hour, the speed feels more like a 10 minute miles.
The point in all of this is that it is very easy to get discouraged on the treadmill when you think you are running slow. When Rich and I first started dating, I lived in an area that was not conducive to outside running so all of my running was done on my treadmill. At that point, I could run 30 miles a week but I wasn't concerned with speed. When Rich discovered that I ran with the treadmill set for 5 miles an hour (12 minute miles), he kind of went, "Oh...."
And then we ran a 10K and I finished with a pace of 10:22. I had been running exclusively on my treadmill for five years so what does that tell you?
Speed training. I don't speed train the way you are supposed to but my time did improve throughout the summer so I must be doing something right. When I'm on the treadmill, I'll bump up the speed by .1 miles after each song. So if I start at 5.0 miles per hour, I'll bump the speed up to 5.1 after a song and then to 5.2 after that song, etc.
Other stuff. When it comes to fitting running into your schedule, I'm the poster child for "Just do it." I'm exhausted. During the week, I run after the girls' bedtime routine. I hang out with the girls when I get home from work. We then do baths and read books. I tell the girls that I am going for a run on the treadmill. Emily has been asking, "Why aren't you going for a run outside?" I explain that it is too dark for running outside. I am usually on the treadmill around 8:00. Dinner is at 9:00. I'm exhausted.
Now you can see why I didn't post this last night.