Surviving Long Treadmill Runs

My set up this past Sunday for my 10 mile run

My set up this past Sunday for my 10 mile run

I’ll admit it – I hate being cold.  I’ll go as far as to say I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to winter.  You’d think that after living in Illinois and having to face cold and windy weather that I’d be more prepared for running outside, but I must admit that I’m not.  The weather in Orlando in January has been a bit of a roller coaster over the past couple of years, and I’m just crossing my fingers and praying that next month’s marathon weekend weather will be more like it was this past January, when it was unseasonably warm, and not like it was in 2010 when it was in the 30s and sleeting during the half marathon!

Because of my distaste for the cold, I haven’t run outside since the Veteran’s Day 5K on November 10th, which has forced me to find ways to keep myself entertained during my long runs.  Most of my weekday runs have been on the treadmill since school started back in September, but I don’t usually find myself becoming bored during those shorter runs.  About the 5k mileage mark seems to be my threshold of hitting boredom.

Fortunately, I’ve discovered a few key tricks that help prevent me from becoming bored during my long indoor runs:

1.  Find a running buddy

Just as many of us prefer to complete long outdoor runs in the company of others, the same is true for indoor runs as well.  Preston and I usually complete our long runs at the same time, and although we run different distances (he ran 17 miles last weekend while I ran 10), we’re able to encourage one another by running on side by side treadmills.

2.  Watch a movie or TV show

I often try to distract myself with the TV when I run at the gym.  During the week I usually watch the evening news while completing my run, but during my long run over the weekend I tend to prefer something much different.  I’ve tried to force myself to focus on whatever show is on the TV closest to my treadmill, but usually its sports and I pretty much despise televised sports.  This past weekend I downloaded an old season of the Amazing Race to my iPad and watched a couple of episodes during my 10 mile run.  The distraction worked perfectly!  Fortunately, the height of the iPad fits perfectly underneath the clock on the treadmill, so I didn’t face any difficulty in keeping an eye on the time in order to maintain my run-walk intervals.

3.  Vary the speed and incline of the treadmill

Its natural that we don’t maintain the exact same speed during any outdoor run.  In order to mimic that, as well as the natural hills that most outdoor surfaces feature, varying the speed and incline of the treadmill also helps keep me focused.  If I’m running while listening to music, I’ll often use the end of a song as my signal to adjust the speed and/or incline of the treadmill.  Since its rare that a playlist will feature songs of the exact same length, this also allows me to mix up my workouts and further challenges my abilities as a runner.

QOTD: What strategies do you utilize in order to survive long runs on the treadmill?

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7 Responses to Surviving Long Treadmill Runs

  1. Erin says:

    I’ll have to try the tv shows or movies on the iPad. I started reading your blog a few weeks ago, and I’ve been wondering how you get through long runs on the treadmill! Three miles on one has been my boredom limit, so this gives me hope. 🙂

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  4. bendiful says:

    I’m just hoping winter will end soon so I can be a productive runner again. These tips do help though, great post!

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