Friday Free-For-All – 10/12/18

Friday Free-For-All

I am now the proud owner of a treadmill! I put a call out on my local Front Porch Forum, and actually received a ton of offers of used treadmills. Not only did I find one in good shape, the seller delivered it straight to our house, yay! While I fully intend for most of my runs to be out on the rail trail, the days are about to get a lot darker, colder, and snowier, so having a treadmill means that I will be able to keep up with running this winter.

We have a leak in our roof. Joy. We’ve had a few really rainy days lately, and on one particularly rainy day I noticed a dripping sound in our laundry room. I looked up and saw a hole in the sheet rock, dripping water. Blerg. Gonna have to get that fixed before winter.

Postpartum hair loss has kicked in. Double joy. For those who don’t know, it’s pretty normal for a woman to start losing clumps of hair around three months postpartum. Pregnancy hormones cause you not to shed hair as you normally would, and once your hormones return to normal, all of the hair you should have shed during pregnancy all starts to come out at once. It’s alarming, and gross, and just another part of that oh-so-magical pregnancy journey.

Homeowners, have you ever had a leaky roof?

 

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I Wanted to Run, So I Ran

I’ve been on an extended running break lately. The 15th of March marked exactly four months since I laced up and went for a run. Lots of factors went into the break; total burnout from marathon training was a big one. Also being super busy and not wanting to spend that much time out on the pavement or on the treadmill. And since January, CrossFit has been my main fitness squeeze. Add in persistent shoe woes and I said “Screw it” and just let it go.

Lately though, I’ve been feeling distinctly nostalgic for running. For the accomplishment I used to feel after a tough interval workout, or the joy of running a PR race. So I thought maybe, just maybe, it was time to bring it back. Last night, I hit up good ole Planet Fitness and ran a couple of miles on the treadmill.

In spite of the fact that I’ve lost all my calluses and had some minor blistering, this was actually an amazing run. I did a quarter of a mile walking warm up, then ran two whole miles, starting at about an 10:30 minute per mile pace, and inching up the speed one notch every quarter of a mile, so I finished at about a 9:40/mile pace, which is pretty dang quick! Granted, that was only for a quarter of a mile, but still!

I think I still have a lot of work to do to get used to the monotony of running again, but playing with the speed helped, and otherwise, I felt good. I think CrossFit has definitely helped with my strength and stamina; I was hardly winded when I finished. I also still need to figure out shoes, but I can continue to try breaking in the Hokas or wear my old Mirage 4s for a while yet, since I’m only training for 5ks right now. I’ve been consistently over budget for the last couple of months, so dropping $100+ dollars on new running shoes just isn’t in the cards right now.

So hey, how about that? A comeback. I’m hoping to reintegrate running into the routine from here on out, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and MAYBE a longish run on Saturdays once 9 to 5 is over. Now that Daylight Savings Time has kicked in and I have more daylight, running outside after work is much more doable.

Have you ever taken a long break from running? How did it feel to get back to it?

 

Treadmill Running =/= Outdoor Running

I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t this the girl who likes the treadmill? Who runs on the treadmill regularly? Who wrote a whole post about why treadmill running actually works for her? Yep. And it’s still true. I still like the treadmill. Honestly, if it weren’t for the treadmill, I don’t know that I would have run at all this winter.

What I’m trying to say here is that while the treadmill is a valid option, and one I clearly can’t live without, running on the treadmill simply does not adequately prepare you for, and does not in any way compare to, running outside. I sort of re-realized this on my long run last Wednesday. Here’s why:

Treadmills keep a consistent speed.

You get on the treadmill, set your speed, and go. You don’t have to think about it, and your body doesn’t have to self regulate. You just move your legs to match the speed of the belt. Outside, the only thing controlling your pace is you, and it’s a lot harder to keep a consistent speed when you are the only motivating factor. Thus, I usually run too fast or too slow outside.

There are no pedestrians to contend with on the treadmill.

Because the weather is getting nicer, there are people EVERYWHERE. Moms with babies in strollers, couples walking hand in hand, people walking to and from work, people walking their dogs. And you have to compete with them for space. Weave around them. Call out “On your left!” to get them to move over. Or do the awkward side-step dance where you keep getting in each other’s way. This definitely slows me down.

There are no obstacles to contend with on the treadmill.

Puddles. Mud. Ice. Snow. Dog poop. These are all realities of running outside, and if you want to keep your feet clean and dry for the duration of your run, some maneuvering is definitely necessary. I probably added a quarter of a mile to my run on Wednesday just by swinging wide into peoples’ lawns to avoid the puddles and/or mud that have taken over Burlington sidewalks.

Treadmills are flat.

I mean, unless you change the elevation, of course. But you have sole control of the elevation profile on your treadmill run. I don’t know about you, but 99% of my treadmill runs are flat. I’ve found that running a “hill” on a treadmill is somehow way harder than running an actual hill. They also don’t really simulate downhill well. And then I get outdoors after training on a treadmill for months and wonder why RUNNING IS SUDDENLY SO HARD!!

Treadmills are monotonous. 

Outdoor running is just way more fun. Fresh air, sunshine (or maybe rain), people, birds, animals, scenery… Whereas on the treadmill your eyes are either glued to a TV screen or desperately trying not to make eye contact with the meat head squat grunting or whatever it is he’s doing. Not so much fun.

Temperature/Weather

When you run outside, you experience much more extreme temperatures, and can experience a wide range of temperatures even on a single run. Generally speaking, treadmills are indoors, and you therefore experience a constant, moderate temperature. Also, there’s no rain/hail/snow/sleet on the treadmill. ‘Nuff said. Which means that when you’ve been training on a treadmill all winter and then try to run a race in -6 windchill temps, you’re in for a rude awakening.

As you can see, treadmill running, while a necessary evil, just doesn’t fully prepare you for running outside. And running outside is obviously better.

Did I miss any of the major differences between outdoor and treadmill running?

Do you love or hate the treadmill?

5 Reasons Why the Treadmill is NOT the Worst

I’ve been doing a lot of treadmill running lately.  Where Ben and I are living right now is not the most runner friendly area, and I literally have to drive right by the gym on the way home from work, so that’s just kind of the way it is.  Initially, I was worried that this would be a bad thing.  I’d be bored, or I wouldn’t be challenged enough.  But I’m here to tell you that I’ve changed my tune.  I know, I know, you’re thinking I’m crazy.  Who likes the dreadmill?  Who wouldn’t rather be outside?  Now, I’m not saying I prefer the treadmill–treadmill running will never give me the same satisfaction as the sights, sounds, and variety of outdoor running.  However, for where I am at in life right now and what I’m trying to achieve in my running, it’s totally working for me, and here’s why.

treadmill

You’re (relatively) safe on the treadmill.  You won’t get hit by a car, chased by dogs, mugged, assaulted, or kidnapped.  You won’t slip on ice.  You won’t get a sunburn.  The temperature is moderate, so you don’t have to worry about heat stroke.  Yeah, you could still fall off the damn machine or roll an ankle or something, but overall, you’re safer on the treadmill.

You can watch Netflix.  Or read a book or a magazine.  I know if I put on a marathon of The Walking Dead, I could run on the treadmill for hours.  As long as I’m entertained, I’m less likely to get bored and quit, or start focusing on all the little niggles that discourage me and make me want to stop running.  This may come back and bite me in the ass when it’s actually time to run a half marathon outside with no distractions, but for right now, it’s working for me.  My gym has wi-fi, so I can just load up my Netflix queue and the minutes whiz by.

Speed work is simpler because you can nail your paces.  I find it nearly impossible to do speed work without the treadmill because I don’t have a Garmin, ergo I have no idea how fast I’m going in the moment.  And even with a Garmin, you have to be constantly looking at your wrist, or adjusting your speed up and down every time your watch beeps.  With the treadmill, you can just set your pace and go, and know exactly how fast you’re going.

It trains you to keep a consistent pace.  I don’t know about you, but when I run on the road or trail, my paces are all over the place.  Uphills make me slow down, downhills make me speed up.  If I see another runner, I might speed up to try to look good in front of him/her (you know you do too!).  But the treadmill maintains the same pace for the duration of my run, forcing me to run at the same pace.  This will hopefully help me gain the muscle memory to run at a consistent pace when I get back out on the road.

You can adjust elevation.  This is great for many reasons.  If you live in a flat area, the treadmill can help you simulate at least uphills, and if you’ve got a nice one with negative elevation, downhills too.  Conversely, if you live in a really hilly area, the treadmill can allow you to get some easy, flat, recovery miles in.

These are just a few of the reasons why I’m totally digging the treadmill right now.  I’m sure I’ll think of others as I bang out my training miles.  And I’m also sure I’ll also come up with a list of reasons why the treadmill IS the worst before this is all over…

Do you like or hate running on the treadmill?  Why?

What’s the longest treadmill run you’ve ever done?

Reflections From My First “Tempo Run”

I put “Tempo Run” in quotes because I’m not entirely convinced I did it right.  But anyway, that’s what I did last night.

At the gym, I grabbed a treadmill and set out for a 10 minute warm up, working my way up from a slow walk, to a fast walk, to a slow run, to my goal race pace of 10ish minute miles.  Since my goal is a sub-2:30 half, I only need to average 10:30 miles, but I’d like to do even better than that, hence the slightly quicker pace.

My training plan said to run 30 minutes at tempo, and honestly, during the first 5 minute or so at a pace of 10:10 minutes per mile, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it.  I thought very seriously about stopping, or alternating some walk breaks, or lowering my pace.  But I told myself to suck it up, and after that first 5 or so minutes, I felt fine.  Great even.  By the end of my 30 minute tempo run, I was gunning it at a 9:40 pace, which, for me, is pretty dang speedy.  I finished and felt really strong and happy.

Last night made me realize a few things.  First, I was reminded once again how much of running is mental for me.  Once I made up my mind to just suck it up and finish, I did fine.  I stopped focusing on how hard it was, and just did it.  My new mantra for treadmill running, courtesy of Ben’s Dad, is “Become one with the tedium.”  Sort of like “embrace the suck,” but a little more zen 🙂

Second, I figured out that I NEED a good, long, gradual warm-up.  For most of my runs, especially outdoor runs or when I’m short on time, I do ZERO warm up.  I just start out at my average pace for whatever type of run I’m doing, and go.  And I usually feel like crap during the first portion of my runs.  It takes forever to settle into a groove, and I always want to stop or slow down.  If I took the time to properly warm up before every run, I’d probably feel a lot better throughout.

Third, I realized that I’m a lot faster than I used to be.  During that last portion of the run where I was going at a 9:40 pace, I kept running into the front of the treadmill, like my body was telling me it could go even faster, wanted to go even faster.  Let’s do it, body!

Lastly, watching Netflix on my phone while running on the treadmill makes everything better.  I’m working my way through Charmed right now, and up next is probably CSI Miami.

Bonus:  Eating dinner and drinking a beer in bed while watching Futurama is my favorite “recovery.”

Photo Aug 26, 7 37 21 PM

Do you include a warm up in your workout?

Do you ever do tempo runs?