Saturday, February 8, 2014

Treadmill Tell-All

Dare I say that with the obscenely brutal winter in Chicago which seems to have no end in sight, I am starting to get more and more used to using the treadmill?

I have historically been a treadmill hater due to the boredom factor. I usually get fed up of hearing myself pounding away in the same spot after about 10 minutes (or less). Getting bored makes makes me mentally tired, which makes me think that I must be physically tired, which makes me feel like I AM physically tired, which makes me think it's high time to get off the treadmill. It's a vicious cycle. Literally and figuratively.

To me, running outdoors is so much more interesting than treadmilling. But when the endless weather pattern is snowstorms one day, sub-zero temps the next, repeat repeat repeat, it is too much for me to brave the great outdoors. Treadmill, it is.

On that note, Marcia posted a treadmill tell-all quiz a few weeks ago. I am ridiculously late to the party, but I thought I'd join in anyways.

1. What's your favorite workout to do on the treadmill?
I actually like doing speedwork on the treadmill, since it's really easy to monitor your speed, distance, time, and heart rate. One of my most frequent treadmill speed workouts is to do a 10-minute warmup, then alternate one minute at a tempo pace and one minute of recovery. I try to do 10 of these intervals. Then, I cool down for 5 minutes.

2. How many miles on average do you do on the treadmill each week?
When the weather is reasonable, zero. But I'm currently doing almost all of my miles on the treadmill, so right now between 12-15.

3. What was the most mileage you've ever completed on the treadmill in one workout? When? Why?
6.2 miles. Usually 5 miles on the treadmill is my mental limit, but that day I was randomly feeling inspired to slug out an extra mile. Once I got to 6, I figured I'd go to 6.2 just to make it an even 10K.

4. Do you mill at home? The gym? Both?
Mostly at the gym in my condo building, but occasionally at the gym in my office. Unfortunately, the gym in my condo building only has two treadmills. Therefore, when the weather has been as nasty as it has been, the competition for those two treadmills becomes pretty fierce. It's to the point where when I ride the elevator to the gym, I've eyed other folks also headed there. I assess if they might be someone that I might have to knock over in order to claim the treadmill first. Kind of like this:

I am totally kidding, of course. But in all seriousness, I've been thinking that I should try to 'mill at my office gym more frequently instead. It's a much bigger facility so there's never been a wait.

5. What distractions/entertainment do you use to help pass the time?
As many as I can utilize all at once. I usually bring my MP3 player and listen to music, while simultaneously watching the TV on silent with the closed captioning on, while also occasionally looking out the window at the world going by. Music, the TV, AND the world. How about that for the trifecta of distraction?

6.  If you have a mill at home, how old is it?
No treadmill at home for me.

7. Do you fuel any differently for a treadmill workout than an outdoor one?
On a pre-run basis, definitely not. For fueling during a run (e.g. energy gels for long runs, et al), I've never done a long enough treadmill run where mid-run fueling was necessary. I usually just have a water bottle at hand and will take regular sips.

8. Any treadmill mishaps to report?
I once stepped onto an already-moving treadmill without realizing how quickly the belt was turning. I ended up doing something along these lines:

Thankfully, no one was hurt. And I learned my lesson pretty fast. (I've also realized that it is NOT a good thing to have a wall or other object very close behind the treadmill, as it appears that this gentleman does.)

9. Do you mill at inclines to compensate for not being outside?
Sadly, no. I once tried to do an entire run at a 1% incline, but my calves began to burn. I didn't push myself to keep going, and I've never tried again.

10. Describe your perfect (if there is such a thing) treadmill conditions.
The room is comfortably cool. I've got a good TV screen tuned into something that I actually want to watch. My MP3 player is going and I have a place to put it down so I don't have to hold it. I've got an easily-accessible place to hold my water bottle where it is not rattling or in danger of tipping over. No window glare. No loud noise in the background. There is nobody waiting to use the treadmill after I get off (this makes me feel rushed).

Your thoughts on treadmilling? I'd love to hear your answers to any or all of these questions!


  1. Wow! I can finally say I beat you at something. I've done a handful of 10-12 mile treadmill runs this long, shitty, below zero winter.

    Although, that sounds more like losing than winning... :-/

    1. This coming from the woman whose half marathon PR has smoked mine!!! I am looking to break 2:15 in the half this upcoming year and I know your PR set in 2013 was around 2:12, yes? So you've certainly beat me at more than just treadmilling! =D

    2. Ha! I just know your 5K record is much greater than mine. I guess it's all perspective. ;-).

    3. Yeah, my 5K PR is really a huge outlier across all of my running times. My 5K time predicts that I should be able to run all other race distances much, MUCH faster than I feel like I'm capable of doing. For example, it predicts that I should be able to run a half marathon somewhere around 2:03 to 2:05. Considering how challenging it was for me just to break 2:20 in 2013, a 2:05 or less seems ridiculous. Crazy how the body works, eh?

  2. I'm actually getting to appreciate the mill this year with this crazy weather. Ouchie on the fall. I hope nobody saw that. Haha! Thanks for playing along!

    1. I keep wondering when spring will get here, you too!?!?!?!? Thanks for hosting the questionnaire! Unfortunately, several people did see my tumble from grace off the treadmill, so it was pretty embarrassing. Lesson definitely learned the hard way, LOL.

  3. Oh my gosh, that picture of the guy and the treadmill! I get phantom pains in my legs just looking at it! Haha!

    You know that I am not a fan of the treadmill. It has it's place, and there have been times that I've been so happy to be on it, but it just sucks the life out of me. I think part of my problem is that living in El Paso I don't "need" to use it. If I can get outside during daylight hours, the weather is never so bad that I can't run outside. If I needed it (like when I lived in Germany) I think I'd do a better job of sucking it up. Or so I tell myself.

    1. I know what you mean! I shudder to think of what happened to that guy in the moments after that picture was taken!!!

      I completely agree with you that the treadmill has it's place, but that it wouldn't be the first choice if I could help it. I truly envy that you don't need to use one in EP! The current temperature in Chicago right now is negative 3 degrees Fahrenheit! At this point, honestly I would be so happy if the temps just got up into the 20s. Isn't it depressing that it's gotten to that point here in Chicago?

  4. I believe I've run 9 miles on the treadmill back in 2009. That might be my longest distance to date. Since then I think I've managed 6 miles or so but that's about it. I'm actually kind of glad that right now my training plan calls for short distances :-)

    1. I totally relate! The "long" runs on the half marathon plan are really easy the first few weeks, indeed! If it weren't for the fact that I'm doing them all on the treadmill I would have been tempted to do some extra. But the treadmill is ensuring that I stick to the exact mileage prescribed!

      BTW - the word on the street is that the temps will get into the 40s next week. CAN YOU IMAGINE?!?!?! After the 40-degree swing in temps, I'll pretty much be ready to go hit the beach!!!

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