I’m four weeks into training for my second half marathon, and the experience has been quite different from the training for my first half, which I began last fall. For one, I’m following a program this time around in the hopes that my time improves. (Link to the program here: http://cdn.running.competitor.com/files/2013/03/30_nat.pdf) I did follow one for my first half as well, but I did it more to keep track of weekly mileage than for speed. For example, my first program had a lot of different types of runs—intervals, fartlek, tempo, easy, etc. However, I never really followed the different types and just ran the speed that I felt like running. This time I’m making more of an effort to actually go through with the different types of runs, which has been pretty tough so far. I’ve done hill intervals (death—I really thought I would keel over at certain points), threshold intervals, tempo runs, and VO2 max (which I did today).
It’s also a lot colder now so I’ve been doing a lot more treadmill running. When I was training for my first half I barely ever went to the gym and did all of my runs outside. However, when the temperatures are well below freezing (my rule of thumb is anything under 25 degrees) and the roads are icy and/or slushy, I’ve had to find alternate methods of training.
Enter the #dreadmill. Nine times out of ten it is agonizingly boring, and as I am running I often think to myself I’d rather endure the horrible outside conditions than run one more minute on this treadmill. It’s also a lot harder for me to run faster for some reason. There are times when I’m running outside that I will accidentally run a lot faster than I had originally intended, but this never happens on the treadmill. This is particularly annoying since I’m not even going fast and I leave the gym feeling defeated.
Today was the first time in a long time that I ran on the treadmill and wasn’t bored to tears/in immense pain. I think I figured out the trick—distract myself by varying my speed just enough so I’m not focused on the fact that I’m running on a hamster wheel. As previously mentioned, today’s workout was a “VO2 max” run, which sounds scary, but wasn’t as bad as I was anticipating. I did a one mile warm up, 14 X 400 meters at 7.7 mph pace (which is like sprinting for me), with a 2 minute rest in between each bout, and finished with a one mile cool down. The sprints were pretty painful but only lasted about two minutes each, and after that I always had a rest to look forward to so that was nice. But 14 reps is a lot, and by rep 5 I could really feel it in my quads. For the first 8 reps I jogged during the rest period, but for reps 9-14 I decided to walk for one minute of the rest time and do a slow jog for the second minute. I ended up doing 8 miles on the treadmill (gasp), but it barely felt like it at all! It was way less painful (in terms of boredom; my legs were screaming at me by the end) than runs I’ve done in the past that were significantly shorter.
So. Lesson learned? Save the treadmill for the interval/speed workouts. I am praying that the weather will allow for a majority of outdoor runs for the remainder of my training… but who am I kidding? I live in the valleys of central PA. I guess I’m going to have to get used to the #dreadmill.
Do you all hate the treadmill as much as I do? What do you do to get yourself through the work out? Let me know!