Friday, February 11, 2011

The Treadmill Chronicles, according to Mer

Back when she lived in DC, Mer made regular Eat Run Read appearances. She now lives in Reno and will be doing a series of guest-blogs entitled "The Treadmill Chronicles." Everyone say Hi Mer! And check out her Reno Day Trips Examiner page for fun times in the Reno/Tahoe area.

I am not what you might call a “natural runner.”  Don’t get me wrong, I love to run, I just have a certain amount of criteria for my daily running routine.  It can’t be too hot or too cold, I have to have music, I always run alone, I never wear a hat, I can’t run too close to work, I don’t run at night, I hate running up hills (example A: run-o-death) etc, etc.  Phew!  That’s pretty high maintenance if I do say so myself.  I started running 2 years ago and like to do it how I like to do it, end of story. 

Ironically, my favorite distance is the half marathon.  It’s enough of a challenge that it makes me stick to a training schedule but doesn’t require that I give up hours of my days off to devote to running.  Once I am actually running, I love it.  It just takes a little more time and energy to get me motivated than some of my other running buddies. [Editor's note: Are you referring to me Mer? Haha, clearly you haven't heard the moans and groans as my alarm goes off in the morning!] 

Because of all of my “requirements”, I frequently run on the treadmill.  I’m not one of those crazy people who get up at 5 am rain or shine to get my 6-miler in before work.  I should also mention that I live where it snows and am kind of a klutz, so when there is snow on the ground the safest option for me is indoors. 

This perfect storm of ingredients (and the fact that I have been telling Mollie that I will contribute to her blog since she started it) is what inspired me to share my treadmill life with people out there who maybe are high maintenance runners like myself, or for whatever reason need to utilize the indoor training method that our blog host is so adamantly opposed to, because, let’s face it, it can be a real drag to run on a piece of equipment that keeps you in one place while you stare at the little red numbers on the clock thinking “OMG it’s only been SEVEN MINUTES!!” 

So, here goes nothing!

Treadmill Basics

  1. Have a distraction.  I personally can almost never run without music.  I make playlists of music I love to run to and have a few based on what type of mood I am in or how fast I want to run.  I can’t listen to Kayne if I am running in the morning for example, although he does an excellent power-song.  Since I run on one of two treadmills in the fitness center of my apartment building, sometimes I am the only one in there and can run while watching what ever I want.  My favorite show to run to is Glee because of the music, but I also enjoy running to Seinfeld or a news show (helps evoke rage which makes me run harder).  Bonus: you can use the commercials as intervals for sprints or incline running.

  1. Set a goal.  Whether it’s for time or mileage, I find it’s easier to not worry about anything except running when I know exactly how far I am going to go.  When I run outside I use before even heading out the door because I like to have mileage markers along the way.  I recently purchased an iPhone and frankly don’t know how I survived without it.  I now use Nike+ GPS app every time I run whether it’s indoors or out.  It syncs with my music, tracks my mileage, pace, and calories burned.  I can set my goal before I start running and a little voice comes on to tell me when I am half way and “almost there.”

  1. Consider covering up the clock.  Place a towel or magazine over the treadmill controls so that you can focus on your form and the way you feel, much like you would while running outside.  This won’t work when running intervals, as listed below, because you will need to be able to use the incline or speed controls.

  1. Run intervals.  Whether its sprints or on an incline, running 2 minutes one way and changing it for the next 2 minutes can help make the time fly. 
Stay tuned for my favorite workouts, music selections, and even some treadmill rage!  I am friends with Mollie, after all.