MarathonMaiden's Blog

January 2, 2010

Treadmill: Totally Useful

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:21

No seriously.  But first yet another huge thank you to all who told me how awesome I am — well really how awesome the year 2009 was for me.  I will never get tired of hearing how bamf I am 😛 I got this “awww shucks” grin on my face every time I got an email telling me that someone commented.

Well I did have the intentions of xt-ing it up when I went to the gym this morning.  I really did.  The roads were okay after a storm rolled through last night (well not really rolled through as it’s still snowing) but I’d rather not slip and slide and have no traction while I run while also trying to stay out of the way of traffic (because let’s face it, they’ll give any blind monkey a license these days) .  I think I’ve stuck out my fair share of that already this winter. When I got to the gym, however, all the elliptical machines were taken and I refuse to hop on a bike so I hopped on the treadmill to wait it out for an elliptical.

Of course once I started running I simply didn’t stop.  Oops.  Granted there wasn’t really a lot of turnover on the elliptical machines so it was about 20 minutes before the first one opened up and by then I was in the groove.  I’ll just push off my planned xt to tomorrow or something.

And I’m just going to put it out there: I do not hate the treadmill. Like at all.  In fact I think that it can be a pretty integral part of a training program.  I’ve talked before how I really like to do speedwork on the tm so that I can be consistent with my pace and that’s one of the reasons I love the treadmill for any run: the pace is controlled.  Lots of times I want to do a steady-state run or something but find that outside I simply cannot run at a consistent pace.  This is also my complain about tempo runs outside too.  But on a treadmill I can “train” my body to know what a certain pace feels like.

That’s not to say one should run exclusively on the treadmill.  I think that’s a mistake too — at least if you’re planning on racing outside. Clearly I just did a pretty bamf tempo outside which felt 10000000x better than the same workout would have inside even at the same pace.  I’m totally not discounting the fact that my body also needs to show me that it’s “learned” from the treadmill stuff I’ve done.  But I think that even though I hit an overall pace of tempo I know that I was speeding up and slowing down and changing speeds pretty much the whole time.

Maybe that’s just the nature of the beast.  Obviously I race outside and my pace probably changes over the course of the course.  And maybe that’s the role of a garmin or something else like that.  But I still think that even with a pace thingy telling me what I’m running at, my pace will never be consistent the way it is on the treadmill.  A fact that I like. Granted this also allows me to zone out and not have to worry about my pace which might be a bit of a harm when I end up going outside but I like to think that it’s working on muscle memory and more of an aide than a hinderance.

I also know I will be relying on the treadmill a lot in my Boston training as a way to get hills in.  I’d imagine that anyone living in a pancake flat area would do the same.  The area where my school is located has no decent hills and I’m not going to travel that much to get a natural hill in.  I simply don’t have the time to do it (that said I’m still counting on some workouts with you Lacey!)

There’s also the “issue” of mental toughness.  I’d like to think that because I was able to pound out 14.1 miles on the tm today that it is prepping my mind for moments in a tough race where you have to find motivation from deep within.  I don’t have the tv on, my ipod is broken so it really is me.  Running and yet not moving at the same time.  It has the potential to be maddening and the last 3 miles of this run today were soooooooo tough! Like I was thinking of quitting.  But this is just prepping me for moments in a race where I want to quit because I don’t think I can do it.  With an outdoor run you have to get back to your house/car/whatever. On a treadmill it is so easy to just press stop and hop off.  Which I could have easily done.  But I didn’t and that builds my character up.

There’s also the bonus of being close to a real restroom if the need occurs.  Just sayin’.  That’s pretty important 🙂

So there you have it.  Why I love the treadmill.  Not enough to run exclusively on it (I think I really would go crazy — well crazier than I already am heh) but enough that I will hop on there and run for 14.1 miles (which is not a tm pr, I did 14.5 last winter during my marathon training I believe) and NOT dread every step.

But since I know not everyone will embrace it here are some tips to make it go by faster (granted I did none of these and ran my miles straight but hey, I was working on the mental aspect haha):

  • Intervals.  Changing up the speed / incline every 5 minutes is a great way to make things go by quickly because you’re “chunking” it (and yes that’s a psychological term that people actually use hah).  I’ve done it by time and by distance (and in that link hills too) before. In this case speedwork can easily be incorporated into a routine which is typically the case for me.
  • Watch a MOVIE.  Well at least if you’re going to be on there for awhile.  I personally don’t do this now but that 14.5 mile treadmill run last winter? Yes I watched Tokyo Drift.  It helps if you actually can get into what’s being played on the screen.  Television shows work too.  At the gym though I hate doing this because every commercial break I’d get distracted and that defeats the whole point of this trick. Much better if you have a tm and tv in your basement or something
  • Listen to music.  It helps take your mind off of what you’re doing, like watching tv does.  And if you choose the right music it can really pump you up.  Although I really do like being in my own head for running, if my ipod wasn’t broken I’d likely have had those earbuds in today.
  • If you can, face a window and not the clock.  Or really face anywhere you can people watch.  Granted this means lots of people can see you, and in the case of me today that means a very sweaty and beet red girl, but I love watching the weight room when there are lots of “meat heads” in there hah.

So I totally just wrote a novel about the treadmill and hopefully I’ve convinced someone that the treadmill isn’t really all that bad.  It gets such a bad rap and maybe that’s okay because the more people that hate it means that when I tell people I ran 14.1 miles on it they will looks at me like the bamf goddess that I am! Heh.



  1. i’ve done 20 on the tm before 🙂 i used to do almost all of my weekday training on the ‘mill too. but these days i prefer the outdoors and i actually think the TM makes me MORE injury prone, not less.

    i am lucky in that i can read on the TM — yes even while running tempo. it’s weird b/c i get carsick in the car if i so much as open a book but have no problem reading while bouncing up and down!

    Comment by sarah (ghost world) — January 2, 2010 @ 16:49

    • I prefer the outdoors too but it’s really interesting that you feel like TM running makes you more injury prone; although I could see that running outside forces your smaller stabilizing muscles to work and get stronger. I’m also jealous that you can read on the ‘mill. That’s one thing I wish I could do, even if it’s just flipping through a trashy mag or something, although all that school reading would be nice to get done 🙂

      Comment by marathonmaiden — January 2, 2010 @ 18:48

  2. Sweet 🙂 I appreciate any treadmill lovin’

    Comment by Evan Thomas — January 2, 2010 @ 16:55

  3. I was totally anti-treadmill, but your arguments/rationale are convincing. There is no runner’s high during 26.2 so what better way to prep for the grind than doing something really boring, but will aid in the mental toughness. Totally makes sense to me. I would also imagine the TM is better for injury prevention, recovery. Less pounding, etc.

    Comment by a marathoner — January 2, 2010 @ 17:09

  4. I didn’t 14 miles on the treadmill was even possible, haha…

    Comment by Kathleen — January 2, 2010 @ 20:42

  5. I’m with you on the treadmill- definitely useful! I wish I’d had one up north this morning when I awoke to a blizzard!
    Congrats on your milage and your running year! I love reading your posts 🙂

    Comment by tmart — January 2, 2010 @ 21:17

  6. Thanks! I generally hate the treadmill, but you’re right…it is very useful, especially for speedwork. I have a half next month so I need to get on the dang thing and do some speedwork. 😉 Thanks for the motivation!

    Comment by runningfiance — January 3, 2010 @ 00:05

  7. OMG I can’t believe you ran that far on the treadmill without TV or iPod! That is seriously the epitome of mental toughness:)

    Comment by Ada — January 3, 2010 @ 10:09

  8. I used to be like waaay a treadmill hater. But lately, I’ve actually been doing a few runs a month on the treadmill, especially for speedwork. I totally agree about the consistent pace/pace learning thing. It really makes you push a certain pace and know what it feels like to be there. Love the tips, too! I always face a window on the TM.

    Comment by Liz — January 3, 2010 @ 15:19

  9. Hehe. Comments are the best. And yea, you’re a bamf. 🙂

    I got a elliptical!!! It’s my friend’s…so it’s used…and I think her sister broke it….but…if I can get it to work, I’m gonna try to be a bamf as well and eek out some mileage on it since it’s oh….17 degrees for the high here today.


    I will totally read your email…soon.

    I just got back to my house and school starts up again tomorrow so…….I’m about to go NUTS!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by pinkcowgirl — January 3, 2010 @ 16:09

  10. […] as I’ve done it before, and recently, and it just makes me miserable and angry) I did another run on the treadmill.  Not quite for as long as yesterday but still.  And I am praying that the roads get cleared for […]

    Pingback by A Treadmill Streak Now « MarathonMaiden's Blog — January 3, 2010 @ 16:25

  11. […] YOU keeping up the bamfness is just not going to be found on any tm (even though I do find the tm useful). Plus as much as it would totally suck to bomb a tempo paced run it is a good learning experience […]

    Pingback by Riki Tiki Tempo « MarathonMaiden's Blog — January 14, 2010 @ 18:09

  12. […] TM guilt today.  As you’ve probably figured out I am totally not a TM hater. I even wrote a post about why the TM is useful. That said, I more or less want the weather on the days I’m TM-ing it up to be crappy so I […]

    Pingback by Tuesday Off-ness But Still BAMF « MarathonMaiden's Blog — March 2, 2010 @ 18:29

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