… on a treadmill.
One factor to which I did not give adequate consideration when I signed up for a February marathon is winter training. And maybe I’ll get there eventually, but right now I am just not hardcore enough to run 16 miles in a cold rainstorm, or on ice for that matter. So I have a feeling I’ll be doing a few more long runs on the treadmill over the next couple of months, and I am very much okay with that. Plus, to me, there are benefits of treadmill long runs:
- It lessens your chance of injury. After my 14 miles outside last week, I felt like all the discs in my back were compressed together, and I know it was from the pounding of my feet on the pavement. My feet and ankles weren’t particularly happy with me either. After 16 on a treadmill, my bones and joints feel great.
- You can control your speed. I wanted to make sure that I was averaging below a ten-minute mile the whole time, and the treadmill made that easy.
- You can keep in interesting. I think I’m a weirdo in the world of running for this, but I think treadmill runs are more fun than running outside. I like to play number games with my timing and speed. Last night, for the first hour I ran at 6.0 for 9 minutes and then 6.1 for 1 minute. During the second hour, I ran at 6.0 for 4 minutes and 6.1 for 1 minute. During the last forty minutes, I did two-minute intervals between 6.0 and 6.5. The time flew!
- You can watch tv. I don’t have a tv, so treadmill runs are my time to watch my favorite (sometimes guilty pleasure) tv shows. Last night I watched two episodes of the new season of Top Chef and a few episodes of Mark Bittman’s Minimalist podcast. Saving up those tv shows for this run had me really looking forward to it all week.
- You don’t have to worry about winter. You’re safe from ice, snow, freezing rain, potholes in roads, and slippery sidewalks. And you don’t have to worry about running in the dark.
Now I’m not moving all my runs indoors. You can bet that I’ll be taking advantage of every bright, sunshine-y winter day that we get. But it’s nice to know that doing a few treadmill long runs won’t necessarily hurt my training. I’d be more concerned about my preparedness if my marathon were going to be in freezing temps, but I’ll be in New Orleans, so I don’t need to worry about that. All I need to do is keep on running.
Up this week: a 5 mile tempo run, a 4 mile speed work run, and a 12 mile long run. Fun times!
Edit to add: Here’s a great new article from Runner’s World on the subject of indoor training for distance races.