Today is the somewhat-dreaded long-run treadmill day! Let’s get excited! Yeah. Anyway, I’ve got about 13 miles left this week to hit my 33-mile goal for this week. Eleven of those miles are for today. That will still leave me a couple miles to continue my running streak throughout the rest of the week without going over my 10% mileage increase.
I got up extra early, ate a huge bowl of chocolate proatmeal with coffee. I’ll grab a rice cake and peanut butter 30 minutes prior to my run. About 45-50 minutes into my run, I’ll down a GU gel. I love training with these even on the treadmill, exclusively the Expresso Love GU Gel. I only get off the treadmill to pee or refill my water bottle if necessary.
So, strategy… how to survive 2 hours on a treadmill? First, I like to hide the distance traveled from being seen at a glance. It’s a lot easier to keep moving if you don’t realize how far you’ve got left to go. I hook up my iPod and stream Pandora or some downtempo-type electronic tracks to keep my pace at an easy level. For long runs, I try to not focus on speed at all on the treadmill. I take it as nice and slow as I want. It’s all about just getting all the miles done. I find treadmill running, particularly long runs, to be quite taxing on my hip flexors. I’m not sure why this is. I also feel like it takes more physical effort on the treadmill for long runs. I kind of experience this with short speedwork runs but not as bad. Funny thing is, whenever I run outside after doing the majority of runs inside, I feel like a speed demon! It’s like I’ve had tons of weight taken off my back and I’m moving effortlessly! It’s quite bizarre as I thought treadmill running was considered by most to be easier, but oftentimes I find that it’s physically tougher aside from the mental aspects. Before I do a long 1+ hour run on the TM, I get my mind mentally ready for it. From the moment I step on it, I just relax and think about anything other than distance. When I hit 30-35 minutes, I think about eating my yummy gel in a matter of minutes! Once I’ve played enough mind games on myself for an hour, I’m already committed, and I know I have to finish. I keep listening to my music, skipping through songs, sometimes texting on my iPod, imagining I’m dancing to the music, changing the incline and speed constantly, and just keeping myself busy looking out the window and daydreaming. It’s all in my head, I have to remember. When it’s all said and done, I’ve got 10 or more miles done, and I feel like a million bucks for sticking it out. I could spend those 2 hours screwing around or training. Not too hard to pick the second choice!
Long treadmill runs are 98% mental effort to me. It’s that mental challenge I love taking on headfirst. If it were easy, I wouldn’t be doing it. Time to roll out and get set up!