Embracing the Treadmill

I broke a record yesterday: my PTM count.  At this point last year, I hadn’t been on the mill at all.  In fact, at this point last year, it had been more than a few years since I was on one.  Last winter, as I learned to be more determined about getting in my weekly mileage, I found myself running the ‘mill twice: once in February and, again, in March.  Yesterday, I surpassed my personal treadmill count;  This year alone, I have been on the treadmill three times!
Obviously, I’m not a fan of running on the machine.  When someone mentions their workout on one, I cringe.  Ironically, I do admire those, though, who have the dedication to get on it day after day, or for longer runs.  Me?  I’ll spin on a bike quite comfortably but I struggle to run a treadmill workout.
Like everyone else in Ontario, I have had a tough time dealing with this winter’s cold,  wind and ice.  I clearly remember thinking we were in a “January cold” in December, and it has only gotten worse.  Thursday night, with a long run scheduled on a night with what has become typical extreme cold temperatures, I opted to wait until Friday; at least, I’d have daylight.  But yesterday, as I started to pull on my layers in the late afternoon, I suddenly changed my mind about heading outside.  Going to the Rec Centre made much more sense.
Fortunately, being Friday night, the Fitness Centre was quiet and I was able to run for 80 minutes.  While on the treadmill, I decided it was time to change my attitude and accept the good things about it.
1. Less laundry.  I know it’s strange that this is first on my list, but I’m tired of the loads of wash that winter running brings.  On the treadmill, I only need one layer instead of 3 or 4.
2. Form:  Focus on form, focus on form, focus on form.  On my second treadmill run this year, I found myself stuck in front of a mirror the entire time, which meant I was also stuck staring at myself the entire time. I noticed that my left elbow sticks out a bit when I run – something that I wouldn’t notice on the road.  Yesterday, I tried to focus on bringing my elbow closer to my body (or I could keep things the same so that I can elbow the competition at my next race).
3. Pace:  With the exception of warming up, I held my pace the entire time – a little slower than my marathon pace.
4. Mental power:  Running on the treadmill is mind-numbing.  The 80 minutes I spent yesterday has to be some kind of Jedi mental training to help prep for the marathon.

Somehow, I have a feeling that I’m going to be facing the treadmill again in the near future; it’s just been that kind of a winter.  And I’m ready for it.

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