How to Run Long on the Treadmill


I mentioned yesterday a renewed love for the treadmill.  It certainly has a reputation that precedes it, and not a great one most of the time.  I can definitely understand if the treadmill is the only option that it would become sort of a dread, but truthfully it can come in very handy.

Reasons I love the treadmill:

Bad reputations

Bad reputations

  • It knocks out any kind of weather excuse….never rains or snows inside.  Although sometimes it is stifling in those gyms.
  • There is a lot more variety right at your fingertips.  I can’t just summon an incline outside.
  • I can stay on an exact target pace.
  • All of my “shtuff” can be right there with me – Gu’s/gels, water, towel, iPod – and not necessarily weighing me down
  • Alternative entertainment like people watching, TV watching, movie watching, magazine reading (although I find that one hard as the text bounces in front of me)

I’ve resorted to using it quite a bit while I’m here because I’m not entirely comfortable with the area.  Some days I do manage to get outside but last weekend when I had to do my 15 miler, I didn’t feel comfortable running 7.5 miles away from my aunt’s condo and back (and the same thing goes with this weekend’s 18 miler).  But it’s crunch time in my training and I can’t miss these longer runs.  Normally I don’t approve of treadmill running for the long runs – mentally I believe it’s important to be outside in the true form you’ll have on race day.

But I also certainly don’t approve of skipping two double digit runs just because I’m on an extended vacation and don’t feel safe in the new area by myself.

So here are my best tips for spending that many miles on a treadmill:

A trusty friend to a runner

A trusty friend to a runner

  • Try to choose a quiet time at the gym.  Chances are you’ll want to stay on the same machine and if you’re going long, it’s gonna be a couple hours.
  • Gather all of your supplies and keep them close by.  I like to have several Gu/gels, water, gum, iPod, towel and phone.
  • Find something to help you pass the time (since you won’t have any change of scenery) – a new playlist, a book on tape, TVs, a Grizzlies game, even recruit a friend to come walk or run next to you for a little while.  If you’re lucky like I am your gym is small and you can choose a time when it’s just you.  And then you can set your computer up on a workout bench right in front of your treadmill and watch The Lucky One (or your movie of choice).  You’ll have to turn the subtitles on because the pounding of your feet will drown out most of the noise and it’s especially helpful if you’ve read the book just days before (trust me on that one, from experience).
  • Plan breaks.  Last week I was still having some tightness in my adductors so I would run .9 miles and walk .1.  I did that the entire time, with a little extra walking towards the end.  I took a Gu at 6 and 11 miles and sipped on water when I needed it.

What is your relationship with treadmills like?  I’ll be back on this one above on Saturday, and honestly am looking forward to it a bit!  Or maybe I’m looking forward to choosing a movie(s) to watch……suggestions accepted!


9 responses »

  1. Treadmills are the ultimate last resort. It has to be below 20*F for me to even consider it. There’d have to be a tornado made of razorblades passing through the neighborhood for the treadmill to even enter my scope of preparation. But sadly in Chicago, the former happens very often. Alas …

    The longest I’ve ever run on a treadmill was 11 miles in preparation for Miami two years ago. Fortunately, The Dark Knight was playing on the TV so I wasn’t bored out of my mind.

  2. I agree with your reasons you love the treadmill. At my gym they have LCDs on the treadmills so I can watch a baseball game during the season. I hate wearing headphones so I avoid movies and talk shows. People watching is always fun too!

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  4. 15 miles on a treadmill?! My friend Annica just did 168 laps on an indoor track for a 14 mile training run. I don’t know how you girls do it. I’ve got to be outside. But, you’re right about not making excuses and skipping double digit runs. I might have to do 16 miles either on the dreadmill or an indoor track this weekend. Ugghh! Thanks for the inspiration though!!

  5. Pingback: 2013 Spring schedule | See Glenn Run

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