Treading through the winter running blues
Running on a treadmill sucks.
There is no easier way to kill the running spirit than to slog away on a moving conveyor belt, going nowhere fast. Yeah. I despise it.
But, during these cold winter months, it’s a necessary evil.
So, recently, I’ve been playing around with new ways to liven up the treadmill as I run on it at the gym. I usually tune into Food Network while my iPod is playing my run playlist, but sometimes that’s not even enough to get my mind off the fact that I’m running…nowhere. The joy of running outside is actually making progress. You’re moving. You’ve got a goal in mind. You move toward that goal.
Setting goals for a treadmill is not as easy.
And on Friday, I woke up feeling sluggish and not really wanting to get on the equipment at the gym for another mindless morning of running. It was cold and rainy outside though and I had an office job waiting for me afterwards, so…I went. For the past couple weeks, I’ve been playing with inclines. Run at 0% incline for 5 minutes. Then go to a 3% incline for 2 minutes. Repeart. One day I threw in an extra minute each rotation at a 4% incline. On top of that, I slowly increase my speed (within my normal running limits) every mile. So, yeah…I can change it up some.
But, since I was feeling MEH on Friday morning, my roommate issued a new challenge for me. Set the treadmill for 26 minutes, and attempt to get a 5K run in during that time. Why 26 minutes? Because my current PR for a 5K is 25:59. Seriously. So…it seemed like a good run for a blah morning. I accepted the challenge.
And I met it. I didn’t play with inclines that morning. I wasn’t feeling it. But I did increase my speed slowly over the course of the run, once again, staying within my normal running limits. And…I ran 3.13 miles in 26 minutes. I was elated. I high-fived her when my machine slowed for the cool-down walk. I suddenly felt better. My morning meh’s were gone and I was invigorated again.
All I needed was a challenge. One that I was willing to meet and one that kept my mind off of the mindless machine I was using. And it worked.
And yes…it felt good.
So, when the winter time blues hit…I know all I need to do is set a goal and try to achieve it. If I don’t manage the first time…try again. Part of the glory of this sport is finding ways to improve on what you can already do. This was the pick-me-up I needed.
Trapped on the treadmill this winter? Issue yourself a challenge and then…crush it.
I dare you!