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So, if ultrarunning is defined as running any distance longer than 26.2 miles, then after clocking a 27-mile run on my treadmill, I guess that makes me ultra-treadmill-runner.

It's not that I love the treadmill. I don't. But I can tolerate it. I would MUCH rather be running outside any day. But what I hate more than running on the treadmill is missing a workout. And there are mornings when you wake up and see something like this:Now you can't tell from the picture, but it snowing, with no signs of stopping. And not just snowing lightly, but swirling, blizzardy snow. On top of that, there is my running path, covered with snow. And I have 19 miles to run. So, when faced with bitter coldness and high chance of sickness, I choose treadmill.

People are always making comments about how we do it? What are the "secrets" to being on the treadmill THAT long? And there are none. But here are some tips to make it go a little better.

1) Hit your local video store. The more mindless the movie, the better. You want something where you can tune out, focus on your breath, your form, your nutrition, whatever, then tune back in and not miss any major parts of the movie. The Hurt Locker, not a good choice. This Is It = perfect. You already know the ending, no plot and whenever you need a little entertainment, you just look up. Other good choices I found this winter: The Hangover, I Love You Man, Four Christmases, 17 Again-- you get the idea.

2) Experiment with your nutrition. You are in a controlled environment. You don't have to carry the food with you, you can have countless numbers of water bottles with different drinks, so you might as well try out some new stuff. See how it goes. Take advantage of the fact that you can have whatever you want without carrying it along.This morning's experiment: Peanut butter bagels. Fail.

3) Have everything at your fingertips.If you can, set up everything you need to have right there. Another benefit of the treadmill. Practice eating and drinking while you run, as you would in a race. Things to have access to: all your food, drink, vaseline, endurolytes, sweat towel, change of clothes (if desired), ipod, ibuprofen, remote controls, ANYTHING you may want or need. Don't forget to set a fan up for a nice breeze.

4) Mind Games. I usually break longer runs down into smaller increments. A 20-miler becomes a 10, 5 and 5 mile runs. Or I count-up the miles till halfway and then count the miles down.
Today, it was easy. My workout was 19 miles, with 1/2 mile tempo pushes miles 12-18. I counted up 6, down 6, then focused on the speed part of the workout for the last 7.

Other things to remember about treadmill running:
- You need to have the treadmill incline set at 0.5 - 1.0 for biomechanics (keep an even plane and don't screw up your form).

- Incline also needs should be set at 0.5-1.0 for pace accuracy.

- Warm-up and cool-down appropriately. It is easy to press a number and just "go", but this will cause muscle problems if you don't accelerate/decelerate naturally. I get very tight in my lower back.

So, that's all I got for you.
While I look forward to more ultra-runs this year, for my sake, I hope they ARE NOT on the treadmill.


Alicia said...

Awesome tips!! You are super tough, 19 miles on a treadmill. I give you tons of credit girl!!