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6:22/M X 4! + I’m, like, totally cool with treadmills

June 19, 2011

Pull-ups: 36 today / 736 June

Push-ups: 100 today / 3,441 Jun

Mile repeats have become a key weekly workout since starting the St. George Marathon build-up and I expect this to be a trend for the next few months.  They may not always be my favorite but I feel like they give me the most quality of any of my workouts, at least they have in the first three weeks of the program I’m following.  And they certainly give me a great snapshot of my fitness and performance.

Today I was able to knock of 4 X 1M, with each mile completed in 6:22.  That is, I’m pretty sure, the first time I’ve ever strung together 4 miles at that sort of pace, either in training or a race.  Of course, I included the planned 3 minute walk rest between each mile but I felt good on each rep and I’m pretty sure I could have gotten in at least one or two more without suffering too greatly.  The workout, including warm-up and cool-down, was right at 7 miles and I finished feeling good enough to get in some of the daily push-ups and pull-ups.

Why I heart treadmills.  (See sexy pic of mine below – that might be enough to explain the attraction.)

I’ve mentioned more than once that I am a somewhat rare runner who really likes treadmill training.  It feels almost a like a dirty secret and I’m more apt to talk with fellow runners about my great adventure-packed times on trails or epic long runs that have, from time to time, included more than one municipality.  The truth is, though, that whether long runs (I’ve done up to 30M), hard repeats/intervals, or “hill” work, I feel comfortable on a short moving indoor track.  That’s not to say that the workouts are usually easy.  They aren’t.  But the controlled, measurable environment helps me focus on getting what I need from the workouts, especially when it is 105 (or 5) degrees out.  Some folks think that treadmills are boring or don’t allow the runner to push himself as hard physically or mentally.  None of that is true, at  least in my experience.

First, the boredom factor.  That’s rarely an issue for me in any area of life – I just don’t bore easily.  But on the treadmill I get the benefit of being alone, either with my thoughts or, more often, a world of entertainment I’d otherwise miss.  Since I’m not a huge t.v. watcher outside of training hours it is my chance to settle in for triathlon or road racing or track and field coverage, or MMA, poker, or my personal recent favorite, back-to-back-to-back-to-back episodes of The World of Adventure Sports.

Now, onto the “runners need toughness that treadmills don’t provide” argument.  There’s nothing easy or soft about running mile repeats on a treadmill.  Or hill repeats.  Or running for 6 hours.  Unlike running on the roads or trails, treadmills don’t know if my legs are tired or if my drive is low and, therefore, keep me on pace without allowing me to slowdown without acknowledging a breakdown in will power, which I’m less likely to do if it takes a deliberate action like hitting the “speed down” button.  And, for better or worse, the treadmill I use most doesn’t include declines in typical programs.  So, unlike the relative break of running the downhills outside, virtually all of my treadmill miles are flat-to-uphill, which has made me stronger on all terrains.

Of course, I admit that treadmill-only training isn’t ideal.  I still absolutely love forest and mountain and canyon trails and, to a lesser extent, hitting the road when the course is interesting or at least new.  And the treadmill can somewhat soften one to the elements, beat the body up more than trail, and mess with one’s ability to learn the feel of proper pacing (or running in anything other than a metered, straight-forward treadmill cadence).  But, I am able to appreciate my treadmill time for what it is while still enjoying the different aspects of running in varied conditions outside.  But for you treadmill haters: my time on the treadmill has made me faster, improved my endurance, and is (almost) always time I enjoy.  That’s good enough for me, even if it does make me feel just the tiniest bit less like a “real” runner.

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2 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink

    Treadmills are for the weak.

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  1. The Build-up Begins Anew + So Many Running Friends To Be Proud Of « Kind of Like Fun

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