Monday, March 31, 2014

Treadmill Games

I am loving the fact that Spring is upon us and today holds the best 2014 weather yet.  It has been a long winter here with record amounts of snow and days of sub-zero cold.  This has all but forced my winter running regiment to be conducted entirely inside on what many runners have not-so-lovingly dubbed the "deathmill".  

Running on a treadmill is no one's favorite way to run, but sometimes its just the only feasible option.  There are ways to at least make it tolerable, however, and that is what I intend to share today.  I racked up over 250 miles on the treadmill over the past few months and in that time I got creative in ways to make the time pass.

Here are my "Treadmill Games":

1.  Intervals

Instead of just starting the run and going at it with the same monotonous pace until you have mercifully finished, try changing it up every few minutes.  This helps to keep the mind's focus off simply hitting the end time or distance and instead on tracking where you are at with your intervals.  I've done this in two ways.  In past years I've done a 3x3 set of intervals where I run 3 minutes and then walk 3 minutes.  This year, as my running progress I would run 90 seconds on 8mph, then 30 seconds on 8.5mph, and then a 1 minute cool down on 6.5 mph and then start over.   The constant changing of speeds helped both physically and mentally with keeping the run fresh.

2.  The "Distraction" Method

Sometimes the monotony of the treadmill can be overcome by simply distracting the mind.  In this Method I do set a constant pace and simply run til I've hit my target time or distance.  To accomplish this I throw a shirt over the treadmill computer to keep my mind from seeing how far (or not far) I've run.  I also find a good TV show or Movie to be watching on the TV (which I actually do with every run on the Treadmill) and work to keep the focus off the treadmill and on something else entirely.  This works for me on occasion.

3.  "Distraction" Intervals with Workouts

This third method is somewhat of a combination of the first two.  Sometimes it is a bit much to be constantly changing speeds and the like every 90 seconds or so.  With this method I'll set a timer on my watch for 10-20 minutes and I'll also cover up the Treadmill computer with a shirt.  After the timer goes off I'll pause the Treadmill and hop off and do other simple workouts like push-ups or sit-ups for about 2-3 minutes, and then I hop back on for another interval.  This at least breaks up the running monotony and also accomplishes other fitness needs.

What types of creativity do you have to make the Treadmill time tolerable?  As for me, all I can say is I'm so happy to be back outside running where nature and the fresh air are all I need to enjoy a good run.

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