The Dreaded Treadmill

Like many of you, I hate running on the treadmill.  I will run in nearly any condition if it means avoiding the dreaded treadmill.  Unfortunately, there is one situation when I cannot avoid the treadmill and that’s work travel.  When I’m traveling, I usually need to get my run in early in the morning when it’s dark outside.  Plus I’m unfamiliar with the area, so I believe the safest bet is to hit the hotel fitness center for my miles.

If you cannot avoid the treadmill, try incorporating these tips to make it more bearable:

Zone out. 
For short and easy runs, turn on the tv, Netflix, or a good podcast and don’t think about it – just get it done.  When you get close to the end and your mind cannot stand it anymore, do some strides (20 seconds hard, 40 seconds recovery).

Speed work.
I love warming up for a few miles and then incorporating speedwork.  I just incorporated 8 x 400 to my 7-mile dreadmill run.  Our Happy Running group did 6 x 400 that morning, and I always try to do the same workouts even when I’m on the road.  I did a few more only because I wanted to get a full 7 miles in and the variation in speed is enough to keep things interesting for me.  I’ve done other variations of this workout – 800s and mile repeats work well too.

Just like speed work, fartleks are a different way to mix it up so the miles pass more quickly. This week, I did a 3-mile warm-up, then 1 minute hard and 1-minute recovery and did the same for 2,3,2,3,2,1,2,1 and then a mile cool down.  This is just another way of breaking up the time and I find that the “work” miles tend to pass quickly.

Break it up.
Just like you would for a marathon, break it up into digestible chunks. A 9-mile run?  No problem.  Instead of thinking about 9 miles on the treadmill, think of it as three 3 mile runs.  Finish the first one and you’re 1/3 of the way done!

This will screw up your entire training week and your coach will be mad, but when the situation calls for it, you gotta step up to the plate.  Occasionally, you’ll get lucky and there will be someone on the treadmill next to you in the hotel fitness center and, if the stars align, she may even be a decent runner.  In this case, it’s a race.  Consider it a tempo run.  Run fast enough to make sure your MPH displays a higher number than hers 🙂

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