I never thought I’d hear myself say these words, but it’s true: I ran 10 miles on a treadmill on Saturday! Allow me to explain….as I’ve stated before, I much prefer outdoor runs to treadmill runs. But, one thing I (and all runners) have no control over is the weather. Saturday is my long run day, and it was raining…so much that Environment Canada had issued a heavy rainfall warning. There were also winds gusting to up to 40 km/h. I have run in the rain before. A couple of my training runs last summer were pretty soggy. But I just wasn’t feeling up for it on Saturday. And since I have treadmills available to me at the gym, I decided to stay dry and make use of them.
After my 8 am wakeup, I got dressed and had a pre-run snack (I usually just workout first thing when I get up before breakfast, but 10 miles is a long way to go on an empty stomach): a thin bun topped with Better ‘n Peanut Butter (I am almost out :(…I need a road trip to get some). I filled up my water bottle and prepared to be bored out of my mind, but determined to make it to the end, no matter how ugly it got. I usually only do about 45 minutes on the treadmill, I think I did an hour once, and remember even that seeming really boring, so I didn’t know how I’d survive 10 miles (which I expected to take 2 hours, hopefully slightly less).
I arrived at the gym, chose my treadmill, and changed the channel on the tv to NBC (that was one huge positive…the Today Show was on for most of my run, and I am a HUGE Today watcher). I put on my “Amazingness” playlist, which has lots of great, up-tempo songs that just make me happy (how can you not be motivated when you hear such classics as “Whip It,” “Don’t Stop ’till you get enough” and “Beat It?” Although I thought it was sort of ironic to hear “Takin’ it to the Streets” when I was inside on a treadmill :P). I opted out of the audio book for two reasons: there is always background music playing at the gym, and I didn’t want to miss anything, also, I thought that watching tv and reading subtitles would distract me and didn’t want to take on too many things at once.
There are several positives about long runs (or any runs) on a treadmill. You can have your water bottle right there, without having to stash it or carry it around. It’s also quite handy if you’re doing the run 10/walk one method (which I do), since your time is right there in front of you, you can get your timing perfect without looking down to check your watch. You can also use the speed to push yourself and try and go faster and decrease your overall time.
Since my 9 mile run last week took about an hour and 50 minutes, I figure I averaged about a 5.0 mph pace. Ideally, I’d like to do a 6.0, but I know I can’t make a whole run at that speed right away. I don’t have an exact split of what I did written out for you, but here’s a general idea. All of my one minute walking intervals were at 4.0 mph. My incline was 0 the whole time (I wasn’t going for hills on this run). The first 10 minutes I ran at 6.0 mph. I did another 10 minutes half at 5, half at 6. Then I started doing a lot of the 10 minute intervals at 5.5…that felt pretty good. For many of the intervals, I tried to run at 6 for at least a minute, 2 or 3 if I could. I think I was a little over halfway when I did another whole 10 minutes at 6.0. I was really flagging by the end….I was really pushing myself speed-wise, and I was starting to feel it. I’m not going to say the time flew by, but the Today show definitely helped keep time from dragging.
When I hit 100 minutes, the treadmill actually stopped (I guess it’s not programmed to be run on for longer than that?). Huge bummer, as I was less than one mile away from my goal. Luckily, I had been keeping close track of my time/distance, so I pretty much knew how much longer I had to go, but in the end I could have been a little over/under 10 miles, also, I was disappointed that I wouldn’t get to see that 10 come up on the distance screen. 😦 The last 15 minutes were pretty tough…my songs were starting to repeat, I was tired and getting sore, and the Today show was over, and I was left with Saturday morning cartoons and no remote to change the channel.
My final time? Almost exactly 1 hour, 50 minutes…aka the same time as it took me to do 9 miles…meaning I increased my speed! 🙂 Of course I would always like to be faster, but I was so happy! I know I never would have run that fast out on the pavement, without the treadmill to push me on…so maybe it was a good thing for this long run? I was a sweaty, exhausted mess at the end, but I made it. It sure was tempting to grab the handrails at times (downside of treadmills), but other than a few momentary grasps, I resisted the temptation.
After stretching, I went home, ran an Epsom salt bath and ate some thawed strawberries and raspberries mixed with plain yogurt, cocoa powder and Splenda…so good! Haven’t had this combo in a while, will have to do it again soon! I could only soak for 10 or 15 minutes as I had to drop off some food at my church for the fundraiser…but it still felt good. Last weekend, I bought some Rub A5-35 for sore muscles, so I immediately put some on my hamstrings, hoping to nip any stiffness/soreness in the bud. I also put heat (and later ice…after reading up on google) on my hamstrings on and off on Saturday. I think this really helped, because I wasn’t sore at all the next day! 🙂
So, in summary, the treadmill 10 wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I’m not saying I’m going to start doing all my long runs on the treadmill. I’m still hoping for a better forecast next weekend (plus, I want to get back to the book I’m “reading”). But increasing my speed was definitely a good thing (although I have never been quite so tired after a run) and at least now I know I can survive the treadmill for that long if I have to.