I live in Denver and I work an 8:30-5:30, so in the wintertime it’s either too cold or too dark for me to do my usual run in the park. Unfortunately I CANNOT stand the treadmill. It’s a necessary evil — something I hate to rely on for training since it’s a snooze fest and a half. But today I got this in my email, and some of these are really important (the stuff about gear I’m not sure about, I mean I just wear the same clothes and shoes I wear outside? but I do have special shoes for my slight overpronation problem, so if you haven’t been fitted, please do that for yourself and spend the $100 on nice shooz. Worth it for sure).
Warm Up and Cool Down
It’s all too easy to just jump on the treadmill and start cranking away at your set pace. This is forgetting that when you run outside your body naturally rolls into its optimal pace. Here’s a basic warm up to help make your workout as safe and effective as possible:
Walk for 3 minutes: Start easy and build it up to a brisk walk in the last minute.
Jog for 3 minutes: If you know your marathon pace, this effort is about 1 to 1.5 minutes slower per mile.
3 x 20/40s: This is 20 seconds fast, 40 seconds recovery. Goal here is to get the blood pumping and have you ready to hit your intervals / training session at 100 percent.
And let’s not forget about cooling down, too. Ideally you’ll be able to walk your run out. The basic golden rule here is one minute for every mile run; a five-miler will net you about five minutes of easy walking.
Focus on Cadence
The biggest difference between running outside and indoors is that on a treadmill the ground is moving while you stay in place. This is evident when we compare the two: an 8:00/mile effort on your regular run might net you a heart rate of 150bpms and a perceived exertion level of 7. But that same pace on a treadmill has your HR at 140bpms and feels more like a 5.5 than a 7. Don’t be bummed about the difference. Use it to your advantage by improving your form.
There are two ways to run faster: longer strides or more of the same length strides. Increased cadence is the easier part of the “running faster” equation, and a treadmill is the perfect place to get this done. You have a timer right in front of you and little else to occupy your attention. You can actually hear your foot strike and will be able to find the sweet spot for your foot placement (hint: it’s pretty quiet). And you can begin working on a cadence of about 180 foot strikes per minute (about 90 for just one foot).
“Right now I am aiming at increasing the distance I run, so speed is less of an issue.As long as I can run a certain distance, that’s all I care about. Sometimes I run fast when I feel like it, but if I increase the pace I shorten the amount of time I run, the point being to let the exhileration I feel at the end of each run carry over to the next day… To keep on going, you have to keep up the rhythm. This is the important thing for long-term projects. Once you set the pace, the rest will follow. The problem is getting the flywheel to spin at a set speed—and to get to that point takes as much concentration and effort as you can manage.”—
Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, 2008
I’m reading this lately because a coworker suggested it, and brought it in, and put it on my desk, so it was quite effortless. I am glad I am. I read it on the bus, and it helps to get into the head of someone else who runs for himself. Murakami explores his own motivation for running, which I find helping ME explore my motivation and my goals and my process. He also often compares running to writing, which is also helpful to someone (me, guys) who is trying to constantly create.
More excerpts to follow, but I do recommend reading it, or at least taking a few seconds to think about your own goals/process. Why do you continue to run? What brought you here and what makes you move on? Etc etc. Sorry to get all heady on you.
Hi all, I just wanted to say a quick “hey!” and hope that you’ll keep checking in even though Doree and Lukas apparently both have stress fractures! I’m Liz (yrfriendliz on tumblr), I’m about a month shy of 25, I live in Denver, and I am a new runner.
I wanted to join in as the voice of an encouragologist — someone who tries REALLY hard to make running work in her life. I was NOT a cross country runner in high school and I just started during my last year of grad school as a way of letting out stress. Since then I’ve run a few 5ks and a 10k (the Bolder Boulder, which is incredibly fun and challenging, even for a relatively shorter race) and right now I am training for the Colorado half marathon in May.
When I emailed Doree I told her that my running has often made me feel like the girl who WANTS TO BE a really great poet, but who only ends up churning out mediocre product and bad similes about trees. You know? I work very hard but I still don’t seem to be reaching what all of the other natural runners (and in Colorado, there are people who run marathons into their 80s and run at elevations of 12,000 feet) can do. But you know what? I don’t really care, dudes. Running has improved my life immensely (I lost around 10 pounds and stopped smoking so there’s THAT) and it’s given me a personal, physical goal. And there’s nothing like finishing a big race with a bunch of people, all with their own personal motivation. I love race time.
I actually have the Colder Boulder 5k tomorrow (it’s like 60 degrees in Denver today so no snow! which is good! cause I am always nervous running on ice or snow or if it’s below like 40 degrees), but the next few months I plan on discussing training at high altitudes, adjusting from the outdoor to indoor run, how to make the workout more fun (playlists! OH MAN do I need some new music suggestions!), food, shoooz and even some of the reading I’m doing to get psyched up. Happy to be trying to help keep us motivated and MOVING.