Learn to Love (The Treadmill)

Eighty four days.  That’s 12 weeks for Mother Nature to right the ship.  This week rounds out at 56 miles, including a 16 mile long run.  With the awful temps that have plagued the northeast I continue to run indoors.  Yes, that’s 16 miles indoors.  Fueled by NetFlix and coffee I’ve ran the last 126 miles without touching pavement.  I’ve succumb to staying indoors and have made my peace and you should too (more to come).

As for me…. I’m doing my best to fit everything in.  Here’s a pic my wife took as I began writing this morning.  #FatherOfTheYear

It’s been awhile since my last post.  The goal was to post a minimum of once a week, which is proving to be difficult.  I’ll do better, I promise.  Days are being stretched thin and sleep has been hit or miss.  It's crazy how such a small guy can alter your entire day.  The combination of a forever hungry infant, treating patients, and launching RunSmart Mechanix (a run online run form program) have left the tank on E.  I haven’t missed much in the sense of training, though.  After running a bitterly cold Y10 in Lockport (1:06) I took a week to regroup and recover (mainly to catch up on work and sleep).  I stuck to my plan of running comfortably hard and finished strong. 

With twelve weeks remaining there’s still plenty of time.  I have yet to any real speed work. I typically reserve speed development for the final eight weeks.  Like the rest of us, I continue to plug along seeking warmer weather.  As I stated previously, I continue to build my base mileage at 30+ seconds slower than estimated marathon pace. I encourage everyone to keep it easy for now.  Building a strong base will give you the foundation for future speed work and peaking on race day.  It can also help prevent breakdown to your muscles, joints, and tendons.

Staying Healthy While We Wait for Warmer Pastures

I’ve seen a lot of cabin fever injuries lately.  The urge to run outside comes with increased injury risk.  Many of us are forcing mileage through icy, snow-covered roads.  Typically falling one mile after the next.  Accomplishing a run in poor conditions makes us feel tough or ready, but I can assure you through personal and clinical experience the risk is not worth the reward.  Despite what you believe, running through terrible conditions is not a rite of passage for runners of the Northeast.  As we run, our body is loaded at high rates measuring upwards of 290% of body weight, all of which occurs in 5 milliseconds.  Landing, paired with the powerful push off phase of gait is best accomplished with predictable and ideal foot placement--neither of which are achieved in winter.  We’ve all experienced the awfulness of losing traction on a run, right?  We suffer to push from one step to the next as our legs slide out from under us.  Slipping and sliding during your gait cycle alters your ideal movement patterns.  With forceful, strong muscle contractions transferring down your leg and into the ground, a small slip could easily translate into an injury.  Those slips place torsional, shearing forces to your muscles, tendons, joints, etc.  Simply put, learn to love the treadmill, particularly when there’s no pavement to be found.

A Few Tips for Treadmill Running from a Treadmill Lover:

1.      Cover up the display screen.  Staring at the time will only make your time drag.  Very similar to staring at the microwave in the final minute (does anyone let it go to zero? Not me.)

2.      Start with the right mindset.  Dreading your next treadmill run will only feed to your hatred.  Just come to terms with it and follow step #1

3.      Distract yourself.  I find two ways helpful.  First, I play a game I call “Song Countdown” (working title).  If I’m listening to music I refuse the rite to peak at the time.  I know the average song lends itself to 3 ½ minutes.  If I don’t peak at the display screen for five songs I have run for 17 minutes and 30 seconds, or roughly two and a half miles.  Second, I watch Netflix.  The average Sons of Anarchy episode (running 42-44 minutes) equates to over six miles of running.  Again, never peak!

What tips do you have for staying sane on the treadmill?

Steve Gonser PT DPT
Physical Therapist

First time Dad, Husband, Physical Therapist at Buffalo Rehab Group, Boston Qualifier, Ironman, and founder of RunSmartOnline.com. Join me as I balance training, work, and family on my journey to the start line (and hopefully a PR).