Thursday, November 17, 2011

How to run on the treadmill without dying of boredom

This week, I've had good intentions. Intentions of running in the mornings before school. Because having the afternoons free is amazing! 

But every morning, I wake up somewhere in the 4 o'clock hour and think how impossible it is to get up when the alarm goes off at 5:10am. So I move it back to 6:30am, which leaves no time for running before school. (Although I did get up and run hills with my running group on Tuesday. When I have to meet people, I can wake up.)

So, this week I've been running on the treadmill after school. Because it's starting to get cold. And because I like to watch TV. And because there's 2 hours of Friends on TBS from 4pm-6pm. (Need I say more?)

Yesterday, I got myself all situated on the treadmill, and plugged my headphones (with only one working earphone) into the TV. And there was no sound! I guess after 12+ months of sweaty treadmill running, and sweaty summer running, they decided they'd had enough. I'm actually surprised they lasted as long as they did.

Hopefully not what I look like...
So what's a girl to do when faced with a treadmill run with no distractions? (Besides invent the plot lines of the TV shows. However since I was watching Friends, I pretty much knew the gist of the episodes anyway... haha.)

I decided it was time for SPEEDWORK! I've got one more race on my calendar for 2011--the Folepi 4-mile River Trail Classic. It's a 4-mile point-to-point (all downhill!) race the Saturday after Thanksgiving near my hometown. I've run it for the past several years, and it's always a good time. (Literally... because it's all downhill.)

One of my favorite work-outs in college was 400m repeats. We would often do 12-15 400m repeats at 5km race pace with 60 seconds standing rest in between. The purpose was to help our legs to 'feel the pace', so that when race day came, we could lock into that specific pace right away.

So, I decided to do a race pace 400m work-out to gear myself up for the Folepi 4-mile. And since standing rest is weird on a treadmill (who just jumps off the treadmill and stands there?), I ran 0.25 mi intervals at race pace, with a 0.25 mi recovery jog. I knew I wouldn't be able to do 15 repeats with the jogging recovery (too many miles!), but I thought I'd do at least 6.

Well, I ended up getting in 10! I alternated 0.25 miles at 9.5mph (6:18-pace) with 0.25 miles at 7.3-7.5mph (recovery pace). It wasn't quite as fun as 400m repeats on the track, but I'll take it. It sure beat the slow painful death of boredom from running the same pace on the treadmill.

So, the next time you're in a treadmill funk, switch it up! Run some intervals, jack up the incline, make yourself work. You won't be bored for long!

I chose a pretty green instead of pink this time. How exciting.

Oh, and I did buy some new headphones today. I thought about waiting until Christmas, but the treadmill will become my new best friend now that the temps are dipping down into the 20s-30s. (I can run in the cold with people, no problem, but by myself I am a wimp!) And for just $9... if they last me another year, that's definitely worth it.


aevansb said...

Good tips! Did Ben tell you that Sarah and I joined a gym? I've been running for 60 minutes every day alternating 2 minutes of walking, three minutes of jogging. It's a beat down for a beginner like me, but one day I hope to push the incline button without groaning. :-)

Sara said...

Yea, he did! That's great that you're doing 60 minutes!! Most people when they start shoot for 20-30. You'll get there... it might take a few months, but it'll come!

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