I HAVE TO ADMIT...// TREADMILL RUNNING
I have to admit, I’m not a big fan of running indoors. I’m also not one to dedicate an entire blog post to one single 3 mile run.
Treadmills suck. The majority of avid runners and walkers will tell you this a million times over every time the weather forces them inside. The time is quickly approaching in Iowa where treadmill running will become an everyday occurrence. And, that my friends is an incredibly sad reality. Or is it? This is only the second run I have had post injury. So, I don’t really have a whole lot of complaining to do when it comes to treadmill running. Still, when I woke up at 4 am this morning to the sound of pouring rain and bright flashes of lightning, I was more than a little upset.
The main thing that upset me, was that I wouldn’t get to do my normal route. I wouldn’t get to take off at a sprint, slow down to a maintainable pace at my regular mile marker, and then proceed to run crazy fast past Casey’s on the downward slope towards the gym. I didn’t even stop to think about the possibility of a treadmill run being beneficial. An easier run on my joints. A chance to work on my speed, and be okay with holding impossibly fast miles paces.
Treadmill running really comes down to two things: Pay attention to the numbers…and ignore the numbers.
Read that line over and over again about a dozen times. It won’t make any more sense, unless you read between the lines. The meaning becomes crystal clear when you’re on the treadmill running at sub 9 minute mile pace, midway through a 3 mile run, wanting nothing more than to slow down. Running fast is pretty simple at it’s core: you just put one foot in front of the other, pump your arms at 90 degree angles, and give it everything you’ve got. However, when you’re staring down the screen of a treadmill, watching the seconds and tenths of a mile tick by, it’s a little more difficult than that.
Oh, and don’t even get me started on how overwhelmingly scary it is to see your mph right in front of your face for your entire run. All you can think is, I can’t believe I’m doing this. How is this possible? And, most importantly, How am I going to go even faster than this? It these exact questions that I found swirling around my head as I ran on the treadmill this morning. The first mile is easy, 9:30 pace. Now, the real challenge begins, Upping the speed in a hurry at regular intervals just to nail that goal pace 9 minutes per mile.
At a certain point, you sort of just tune everything else around you out. Every part of you is focused on that screen.
This is what happened to me when I hit that 1.5 mile mark. I was picking up speed fast, and doing mental calculations in my head. Trying to figure out how I could get to 27 minutes flat without having to increase my speed every tenth of a mile for that last mile. I suddenly found myself regretting just how “slow” that first mile was. The solution my brain came up with was to up the speed by .2 every quarter of a mile…starting at the 1.75 mile mark. Sounds perfectly doable, until you actually have to physically push that upward pointing arrow while you’re already struggling to stay on this dreaded machine.
To make a long story short, I did it. I conquered my self doubt and completely exceeded my own expectations. I ran 3 miles in 26 minutes and 26 seconds, at an average mile pace of 8:49. I honestly cannot recall when I last ran that fast on the treadmill. Thankfully, my trusty running log says, I last hit this exact pace during a 3 mile run on May 1st. YEAH THAT’S RIGHT, WAY FREAKING BACK IN MAY…5 MONTHS AGO.