On Sunday, when a long run of 18 miles was on my training plan, my first attempt was an outdoor run. But with the winds howling and rain imminent (thanks Hurricane Joaquin), after less than one mile my car transported me to the gym where I would log 17.4 miles to complete the distance. This was definitely the longest run I have ever done on a treadmill. It was not without dread that I signed in at the gym and proceeded to get ready for the run. Our gym has a cardio equipment limit of 30 minutes if the gym is busy and someone is waiting for a piece of equipment. With this in mind, I was prepared to make several trips to the gym to complete the mileage. However, luck was on my side because there were always at least two free treadmills during the time I was there from 7:15am to 10:30 am. How did I get through the distance? I have a few things that made it easier.
1. Stopping after each 6 mile increment: This gave me a chance to take a good break for water, a gel and a bathroom break. The treadmills automatically go to cool down mode after 55 minutes so I got in my 6 miles by increasing my speed during the cool down and that got me to the nice even number!
2. Trash TV: Being mindlessly occupied during a very long run can help ease the boredom when you are stuck indoors. My preference is always to run outside, in fact I frequently use the word dreadmill when I refer to running indoors. Watching TV can really help pass the time quickly if you choose your shows wisely! I love to watch HGTV, the ESPN sports channels, Bravo and sometimes an old movie. Any show that captures my attention is a winner!
3. A visit from Tom: Having a great support system can make marathon training much easier. When I spotted Tom approaching my treadmill with a Gatorade in one hand and a couple protein bars in the other, I broke out in a huge smile. He knew what a tough day it would be and the Gatorade came at exactly the right time.
4. Accountability: Having a coach and reporting back about my workouts makes me try harder. There is no reason I should feel this way, but I don't want to disappoiint someone who works hard to come up with my workouts and encourages me every step of the way.
And some thoughts on additional ways to make the treadmill something you can enjoy and not dread:
5. Grab a friend: Our weather has not been kind to us this fall and one Friday after driving to the track, my friend Pam and I decided to hit the gym since practice outdoors was cancelled due to heavy rain. We had a pretty tough speed workout, but being on a treadmill knowing someone else felt your pain made it so much easier. We also treated ourselves to a coffee date afterwards.
6. Bargain with yourself: I like to play "Let's Make A Deal", and come up with some really fun treat to have once a difficult and very long treadmill workout is done. While on the mill for my 18 miles, I had lots of great ideas, but the best one came after I returned home and a friend wanted to meet at Starbucks. Now that was a great way to relax and bask in the post run glow. I have also been known to do a little internet shopping too, usually for new running gear!
7. Be prepared for the worst: Some days, these runs will not go your way and it will be very painful getting in your mileage no matter how strong you are mentally. My best runs are the ones where I have to work the hardest. The easy ones are a no brainer, but the hard ones prepare you for race day. You won't quit on race day, so keep it up during the training runs.
Do you have ways to get through long runs on the treadmill? I would some ideas!