Thursday, April 12, 2012

Making the treadmill fun

I know... I can't believe I put those 2 words in the same sentence.  Treadmill = Dreadmill!

Yesterday I had to do a track speed workout.  However by the time I was done with work, the sky was black and friends were reporting hail on facebook.  I also heard something about a tornado over by the airport.  Not exactly great track weather, so I decided to go to the gym and do the treadmill.  (sad fact: I now have 4 different places where I can run on the treadmill. I honestly don't know what this says about me).

I normally change at work and then head to the track to run.  Last night, since I was going to the gym, I didn't change at work.  As I was driving to the gym, all sorts of thoughts went through my head.  Damn, it doesn't look stormy out - I should be running on the track.  But I don't have my running clothes on.  I hate running on the treadmill, I'm crabby and should just go home. Even if I ran on the track, I'd be blown all over the place by the wind, so I'd be miserable there too.  I'd be happier on the couch.  Sad, sorry, pathetic thoughts.  I sucked it up and went to the gym.

I just joined LifeTime, so I thought I'd give their fancy new treadmills a go.  There is literally a SEA of treadmills and cardio equipment - craziness!  I grabbed one at the end towards the front so I could maybe watch tv if I so chose.  I was surrounded by a bunch of walkers.  And there was literally no air movement.  Who sets up a cardio floor and doesn't have fans going?  Blech, not looking good so far.

My track workout was this:
1 mile warm up
8 x 400 alternate Zone 4 HR and easy
1 x 800 Zone 4 HR
1 x 400 easy
1 x 400 HARD
1 x 400 cool down

This will usually take 1 hour and is about 5 miles.  To adapt this to the treadmill, I strapped my Garmin to the front hand grip (so I could see my HR) and made the 400/800s 0.25 and 0.50 miles.  I started the warm up and after 1 mile I was sweating.  Ok.  I knocked out the first 4 hard 1/4 miles pretty easily.  I walked most of the recovery sets, and also had to drink water and towel off because it was so warm.  (I was also thinking, damn, I could have used this for IMTX... all my track workouts were with tights and a jacket.).  I felt good enough where I decided to add the 1/2 mile with increasing speed through the effort.  My HR was a tad over Z4 but it felt good to go fast.  For my final 1/4 mile, I decided to crank the speed and hang on. It felt GOOD.  I finished with exactly 5 miles and 1 hour.  With the intervals, the time flew by.  There were still times I was staring at the display, ticking off 1/10ths of a mile, but it was more from "how much longer before I die" than "omg, how much longer before I die of boredom".  I still prefer the track, but this wasn't so awful.

As a bonus, the people watching was interesting.  Of course, I'm pretty sure I was providing the entertainment to everyone around me, with my pounding and breathing for a few minutes and then walking for a few more minutes.  And dripping sweat.  Seriously, it was hot in there.  The chicky next to me was one of those typical "fitness" treadmill runners.  She had the speed set to a respectable pace but every few mintues, she'd put her feet on the side boards to take a drink and towel off.  I guess she wasn't capable of drinking and running at the same time?  This always irks me because even though you aren't running, the treadmill THINKS you are and is still logging distance.  In short, its cheating.

I came home feeling happy and accomplished.  For once, the treadmill was fun. I may have to add this in as a workout more often, just for the sake of doing something different.

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