To say I have a love/hate relationship with my treadmill isn’t entirely accurate because you might assume the love to hate ratio is relatively equal. No way! I will abandon that thing faster than you can say “elbow sweat” unless circumstances absolutely dictate that I run inside (like winter weather advisories or kid/family scheduling conflicts.)
This morning, for example, it was 2* when we took off for our 4 miler. Several of the girls have a membership to a local gym and opted to run inside. While I don’t belong to the gym, I easily could have run my miles on the treadmill in my basement…but let’s be honest, after a while I start to feel like a hamster and, well, it was above 0* so it wasn’t that cold :) After our run, it warmed up to 3*!
That being said, I should also confess the one reason I have started to enjoy my treadmill: intervals. I started doing consistent speed drills last summer in preparation for one of my very favorite races, the Monumental Half Marathon, in which I hoped to beat my previous personal best. (I did, by 2 minutes!) We ran outside on a local middle school track, which was awesome! We’d do near sprints for a quarter mile (half of a lap) then recover walk/slow run for the next quarter mile until we got our miles in (usually 3-5 depending on the training plan). Unfortunately, it’s hard to maintain outside intervals in the winter!
So last month, new friend and fitness guru Stephanie Kathmann reached out to her runner friends to see what other workouts we were incorporating into our training plans. When I told her I’m too lazy to figure out intervals in the treadmill so I usually just put it at 6.0 and hope to get 4 miles in before I go crazy, her exact response was, “I’m sending you interval ideas tomorrow – I just got bored reading you go at one pace!” That is a good trainer for you :) Here’s one example she sent me – switching up the incline without changing speeds will help build your endurance without having to increase your pace.
Why Intervals? According to Stephanie, “Not only does interval training allow you to improve your fitness levels quickly, it is also great for weight loss…and prevents boredom.” I’m pretty sure she added that last part just for me, but I know I’m not the only one who typically loathes the treadmill!
And for anyone who’s ever hit a fitness plateau, or even (gasp!) gained weight while training because you are suddenly starving all.the.time, remember that our bodies adapt pretty quickly to any one exercise. We need to switch it up often to minimize those plateaus.
Each week, I started my intervals at a 6.0 (10 min/mile) and gradually increased my pace. My goal is to be able to run the intervals at the exact speeds Stephanie has listed…which I’m still working towards. Each week I did between 2-4 miles depending on how I was feeling – and each time I was able to increase my speeds. This past week, I ran a full mile at 7.0 (8:34 min/mile) – which is HUGE for me! You know it’s working when there’s sweat dripping off your elbows! After just three weeks I can see a tremendous increase in my treadmill speeds. I am more excited than ever for my 5K this weekend to see how much stronger I’ve gotten since I started running five years ago.
How much to you love/loathe your treadmill?
How cold is “too cold” to run outside?
Anyone else racing this weekend? We’ll be at the 33rd Annual Polar Bear Run!