[Important Note: I am NOT a fitness expert. Not. Even. Close. I'm just sharing what works for me and what I've learned from reading what the real experts have to say.]
We had a very rainy weekend and I was forced into the gym again to get through my workouts. I really despise having to run on the treadmill. I’m lucky that I live in Austin where winters are fairly mild and I can do most of my running outside. This past weekend, however, it poured and I had no other choice but to get on the dreaded treadmill.
I’m trying to stay positive and see the “upside” of working out indoors on a treadmill. Here is how I stay upbeat get through it.
- Bring tunes! This is numero uno for me. Or at least bring headphones so you can plug into one of the gym TVs. Unfortunately at my gym all the TVs are tuned to ESPNx which is too boring for words.
- Wear the right clothes. It might be freezing out, but it’s going to soon get tropical indoors on that treadmill.
- Bring a water bottle and grab a towel.
- Use hand sanitizer. My gym provides hand sanitizer and wipes for cleaning off the equipment. Hey, it’s cold and flu season people. I don’t want your germs. Please don’t be offended if you see me wiping down the equipment before I get on it, in addition to after I get off it. It’s not personal.
- Don’t forget to warm up. When you start your run on the open road road, your legs naturally give you a bit of a “warm up” (or at least, mine do.) On a treadmill you have to plan it. My warm-up includes a fast walk for 2-3 mins., then a slow-jog for 5 min. ramping up to a comfortable pace.
- Mix it up. Download or copy some specific treadmill workouts from the internet. There are plenty of them out there for free. Try Runnersworld.com and/or Active.com for workout ideas. Varying your treadmill workouts make it so much more interesting. The time will pass quickly a bit faster.
- Set the treadmill incline to 1% as your baseline. A 0% incline (which I used to use) is equivalent to running down a slight decline on the open road.
- Use the treadmill as a chance to work on your speed, your form, your endurance, whatever. Or maybe all of the above.
Next time I climb on a treadmill I plan to work on improving my running form by improving my cadence.
Here’s How to Improve Your Cadence: (Source: Active.com)
Establish a Baseline Number : Simply count one foot every time it hits the floor for about 15 seconds. Multiply by 4 and you have your current number. Remember the target is about 90, so do the math to see how big your gap is. For example, if my single foot cadence is 82, I have 8 steps to make up. A baseline goal is about 2 steps per week, assuming you are running four times weekly.
- Week 1: Implement 5 x 1 minute focus intervals in at least three workouts. During each focus interval you are counting your strides to make sure they are at your baseline + 2 level. When not in a focus interval, run at your easy, self-selected pace.
- Week 2: Implement 5 x 2 minute focus intervals as ODDS at baseline +2, EVENS at baseline +4.
- Week 3: Implement 5 x 3 minute focus intervals. Within each 3 minute segment, move your cadence up from Baseline +2 to Baseline +4 and then to Baseline +6.
- Week 4: Implement 5 x 3 minutes again, only this time bump the cadence intervals up to Baseline +4 to Baseline +6 and finally Baseline +8.
I just wish the gym would let Sneakers come too. Of course, I’d have to provide her with something to combat her treadmill boredom. Perhaps a copy of National Geographic or some Wild Kingdom-type magazine. She could pretend she’s chasing antelope.
On another note: Look at the big bag of beautiful red chard my friend/personal trainer Sue gave me today. It’s from her personal, organic garden. I think another round of Southern Greens will be on this evening’s menu.
Last time I made it my husband said it was delicious and to please make it again. OK. What he actually said was, “Well…. I don’t hate it.” Clearly those words are my “green light” to make it more often. Right?