Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Welcome to the Dungeon

I've made mention before that I have to do some, well, a fair amount of my running on the dreaded treadmill.  This isn't something that I prefer, but it's usually my most time-efficient option.  Almost every time I run on a treadmill, it's while I'm at work.  My job allows for me to take some time and workout (though it's never guaranteed that I get through a workout without having to get back to work, and understandably so).  So the reason why running on a treadmill at work is a great time saving option is because it doesn't take away from any of my family time, like my other training does.  The down side is that it's not a definite that I'll be able to get it in, and again, it is on a treadmill.

This is what I lovingly call the Dungeon
I've spent many lonely hours in this place, though secretly I do actually enjoy it.  Usually there's another person in there working out too, but not always.  It just depends on the time of the day.

There's my mistress.  The ol' treadmill.
I've gone through a few different relationships with this treadmill.  I first started using it last year when I had stress fractures in my shins.  After not running for over three months, I did 12 weeks of training for the Disneyland Half Marathon 2010 on this beauty (assuming that it was easier on my legs and less likely to bring back the stress fractures), and ended up setting a PR by about 30 minutes!  When I first started my training, I thought that there was no way I could improve my time in a race by only running on a treadmill.  I was clearly wrong.  Since that race, however, I have changed back to wanting to get most of my running done outside.  When I did the Goofy Challenge, I did more of a mix, but the majority of my running was outside.  And even though I prefer to run outside, I do see a use for running on the treadmill.

When I do run on the treadmill, I don't just turn it on and run on a zero incline and make it an easy run.  I try to make it a little challenging in hopes that I can simulate running outside.  For starters, I usually do a ten minute warm up, followed by a five minute stretch.  This is my typical routine for all of my runs, whether they are inside or outside.  I know everyone has their own opinion on warming up and stretching.  My opinion is that you need to find what works for you and stick with it.  My routine has been working pretty well for me (as shown by qualifying for Boston), so I think I'll be sticking with it.  Next, I always have the incline set to 1.0, at the least.  I usually will keep it at 1.0 for a couple miles and bump it up to 3.0 or so for a half mile or so, sort of like rolling hills, or random hills, or whatever you want to call it.

I also like to utilize my Garmin 310xt while I'm on the treadmill.  Unfortunately, Garmin's ant+ technology is not typically compatible with cardio workout equipment (Polar usually is).  So what I do is place my little Garmin unit right on the ledge of the treadmill so I can keep it in my sights.

There's my 310xt, and my water bottle.
I turn off the GPS signal on my watch and just do a manual lap every mile, according to the treadmill.  There is a footpod that can be purchased, which would give a more accurate reading as to how for I've actually run, but I don't have that, so I just trust what the treadmill says (I could go into a lot of depth on how treadmills aren't accurate because they just about never have any maintenance work done).  For my purposes, my method works very well because it shows up to my GarminConnect page as one mile laps, which makes it very easy to see what pace I did for each mile.

Take it from me, since I'm obviously well versed in all that is treadmill running, that you shouldn't dread the tread.  Just use it as a tool to enhance your run workouts.  You can get such a great workout in a controlled environment, and you can even do the same workout periodically to test yourself and see how you've improved.  So again, DON'T DREAD THE TREAD!

No comments:

Post a Comment