Monday, February 7, 2011
winter running: treadmill survival
Have you seen that floating around the web? It's a visual representation of how SCREWED Boston has been this winter. Shaq's resemblance has helped us to realize that mother natures hates Boston/New England. Every winter we all complain about how it's the worst one yet but honestly I think this is it for me. I know that I'm normally all super dramatic but believe me when I say that this is the worst winter I've ever experienced. Oh, and a fun little addition -- it rained yesterday and instead of the snow melting it's just turned entire streets into sheets of ice. Fabulous!
Of course I didn't know that every day would be another snowpocalypse when I signed up for the Hyannis half marathon that's on February 27th. It's been so hard to train for this race - much harder than past half marathons. I'm dealing with the post-marathon blues as well as the city being buried under ice, snow and tears. The problem is that I hate running on the treadmill. HATE IT. The possibility of being on the treadmill for more than 3-4 miles makes me want to slam my head into the wall. However, this winter has forced me inside and I wanted to share some things that have made the dreadmill a little less torturous:
Mix it up!
If I get on the treadmill and tell myself that I have to run any particular distance it instantly becomes unbearable. Like, I want to cry after 6 minutes because I feel like I'm dying. However, I've had some pretty great interval runs in the last few months. Vary your speed, get on a "hill", whatever you prefer. It keeps me active and engaged in the run. Also, a few friends have suggested that I try a pyramid speed workout. That's on the list for things to try this week.
How good of a workout I have is often directly linked to the music that plays on my shuffle. The small amount of memory on my shuffle forces me to continuously rotate my music so that I'm not bored. Current obsessions include: Girl Talk, the Tron soundtrack and Rihanna's S&M (this song is so amazingly bad ass). I've had less luck with podcasts, listening to books, and "watching" tv/movies on their ipods - but I know plenty of people who love it.
I'm sort of a competitive jerk. That being said - I like to stick myself on a treadmill behind someone whom I think would be of similar atheltic ability. And then I race them. I tell myself that I can't take a break until they do - or until they're done. I (try to) match my speed to theirs and pretend I'm actually racing them. I also play mind games in my head - naming objects or names with each letter of the alphabet. Oh, I'll also go through movies/plots in my head. Anything to keep me entertained and stop me from pitifully staring at the display on the treadmill.
Utilize your math skills:
I find that it helps to mentally divide the distance. Breaking the run into smaller parts makes it seem a little less painful. That's why intervals work so well for me. Knowing that my run is made up of six 6-minute portions is much more manageable. It keeps my brain working and I'm less likely to get bored. It's also a fun way to compete with yourself - to see how each portion matches up to the one before it. Are you speeding up? Do you need to lighten up on the incline?
Tell me your tips for surviving the dreadmill - I want to hear it all!