Thursday, January 23, 2014

'TREAD' LIGHTLY

Few runners actually like running on the treadmill.

A running purist, I believe there are few days that we actually cannot run outdoors, as we simply need to be prepared to brave the elements.

This winter, however, has been a 'perfect storm,' so to speak, from a personal standpoint.

In May I tore two hamstring tendons. If you've followed this blog, you've heard that old song before. By now, though, I firmly believed this injury would be a thing of the past, but I was wrong.

Ok, enough of my whining. The point is, the leg has rendered me a bit unstable (both mentally and physically), and from the physical standpoint, snow-laced roads, with concealed patches of ice, combined with a wobbly wheel, make for dangerous miles on the road.

That's where the dreadmill comes in.

For the last three days, I've logged my miles on the treadmill, and the experience has been horrendous.

Every 1/10 of a mile seems like a full mile. Calves and shins burn. Sweat cascades from my body, forming puddles on the floor. The seconds pass in slow motion. Even my iPod's power playlist doesn't break the monotony.

Today, 18 outside degrees actually didn't feel so bad.

Winter is a time for maintenance for runners, and, sometimes treadmill running becomes part of that maintenance. Our outside miles are more beneficial, but a treadmill workout is far superior to no workout at all.

The aforementioned music, or a television close by can be helpful. Even a window to the outside world offer a psychological benefit. I try to run on a minimum of a 1% grade for my treadmill miles. Be sure to hydrate. I keep a water bottle close by. Winter is a very dry season, and a treadmill workout will suck even more water from our dehydrated bodies.

My favorite treadmill survival technique is to visualize. I tell myself that I'm running down the mountain path, or I pick a favorite landmark, like the Yuengling brewery, which is one mile from my home. The thought of a cold Yuengling after the workout helps as well!

I always slowly warmup and warmdown on the treadmill. Nothing is worse that a 'cold stop,' and the accompanying "shakes" that stagger you when you disembark the infernal machine.

More snow and more cold weather is in the forecast. It looks like more treadmill days are in my future.
                                                                     "Visualizing"