I’m not going to lie. Lately, this running thing has been rough. Physically and mentally—and I’m not sure what has been worse. My husband thinks I peaked in my training too early. I know that I am 20 weeks from running in the Marine Corps Marathon, and I know that I am far ahead of any training schedule. But I knew the summer would make it very difficult complete the weekly long runs (at least without getting too ill from the heat). It’s only early June, and I’ve already had heat exhaustion once. On a 15.5 mi run. What is going to happen when I have to get to a 20 mi run? And it is still about 100-degrees (real feel) outside?
Not only is it unhealthy for me to be making myself sick each week, but I hate the feeling of laying on the ground afterward just praying to fall asleep so I don’t have to deal with the nausea and feeling of losing the ability to care about anything except feeling better. It is a waste of my night and of my husband’s night.
So yes, I’ve had a few of these nights, only one where I was really sick, and I really don’t look forward to this weekly routine over the next 20 weeks.
So to another plan. I am going to have to run part of my long run in the gym on the treadmill. I simply can’t see any other way around it. In fact, we had some threatening rain over the weekend, and I simply decided to do my long run indoors. It was meant to be 18 mi; I somehow ended up with 19 mi. Please don’t get me wrong, I am all about the shorter runs at the gym in the air conditioning, where I can establish a set pace (and not cheat!) and even do hills if needed. I enjoy the chance to watch the news while I run (or even enjoy a bit of ‘Law & Order: SVU’. Which, by the way, how are there STILL episodes I haven’t seen yet? Seriously? I can’t believe how many of them I seem to be watching for the first time!)
But 3 hours on a treadmill? Oh. My. Goodness. It’s a bit intense. I had some ‘House of Cards’ episodes to watch to keep me entertained, which for the most part, kept me distracted from the long stint on the corner machine. (Do you know how many people come and go in three hours? I was amazed at how few people spend more than 15 min on a given machine at the gym!) It wasn’t perfect. I still found myself doing a bit of clock watching and praying to finish the next hour-long stint so I could stop and take a breather. But overall, having a great TV show made it more bearable for me to stick with it.
What I didn’t anticipate was how much my knees would hurt (vs when I run outside). So I am here today, the day after this epic run, with two very sore legs. But a smile on my face because I completed my longest run ever! And doing it a couple weeks when I have been doubting myself and my ability to go the distance.
Now, I’m not keen on doing too many of these almost-marathon runs on the treadmill, but it was nice for a change to have a constant, beautiful 72-degrees environment that was bug-free and no cars to contend with. And I know that it is an option for me, and I will be able to figure the next 20 weeks out—one way or another. Bring it, October 25th! I will be ready for you.
In case you find yourself on a treadmill for extended periods of time, here are a few ways to keep you motivated & running strong:
- COVER THE CONSOLE: stop the clock watching by covering the console! You know the saying ‘a watched pot never boils’? Well it seems that a similar principle occurs when you watch the time on the treadmill—it doesn’t seem to pass! So play a game with yourself and try to see how long you can go before taking a peak at the console.
- ADD INTERVALS: think that time slows down on the treadmill? One of my favourite ways to pass time is to break the run into smaller bits. Do speed or hill intervals during your next treadmill run and you will feel that times goes faster than when doing a straight tempo run.
- MUSIC: Try a new playlist and add songs that you just want to dance to. Having great upbeat music helps to pass the time quickly. Alternately, try an iTunes radio station for a playlist of music that you may never had considered!
- TV: bring your iPad and watch something you’ve downloaded for future viewing. OK, even the best TV show or movie can’t completely distract you from the treadmill miles, but I like to play a game with this. I HAVE to run in order to watch the programme. So if I stop or if I walk, I must turn the show off. It is my reward for running that I get to watch something interesting. (On a related note, I wish they would make many, many, many more House of Cards episodes!)
- AUDIO BOOK: Use the same principle as the TV/movie show. You are only allowed to listen to your book when you are running on the treadmill. I promise you will be a bit more eager to run your miles!