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The Treadmill Grind

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It is official, outdoor running season is over (for me at least).  Say what you will about the weaksauce (technical term) that I am spewing.  But cold weather (I mean colder than 50 degrees – see told you weaksauce) and I do not agree for outdoor running.  That does not mean that I hibernate for the winter, I do own a treadmill.  Most real runners despise the treadmill, but I am not a real runner.  I really don’t even like running, however the benefits of running are too great to skip it.  

Wheel-treadmillSource

Treadmill running is boring, I will admit it.  Even with your iPod blaring music or the television directly in your view the treadmill is mind-numbing.  Droning on mile after mile at the same pace takes some serious mental toughness.  But there are things you can do to engage your mind and make those miles fly by (at least the time will fly by, your pace may still need some work like mine does).  

First, I would suggest that if you have other cardio options that you take them (in addition to using the treadmill).  If you have a gym membership take advantage of the other cardio equipment.  May I suggest the row machine.  This is an intimidating piece of equipment, I know, but you get a great total body workout in no time flat.  Suck it up and try it.  Bonus: no wait for the rowing machine because no one ever uses it.  

But if you have the infinite joy of using the treadmill either by choice or necessity may I suggest the following routines.  

Standard

Don’t knock it because it works.  This is the ole get on set your incline, set your speed, set your time and away you go.  The only modification that I would suggest is that you attempt to have negative splits.  What are ‘negative splits’ you ask?  It is a way of running where you increase your speed as your run progresses.  As you increase your speed your pace time decreases, thus negative splits.  “Splits” are short for split mile times.  For example if you are running 3 miles you want to try to have a 8:45 mile one, 8:30 mile 2 and an 8:15 mile 3.  Those are just suggestion (and about what I do) you can adjust if your pace is faster or slower.  Always remember to warm up before your run and to stretch after.  

Intervals

This is a program where you increase and decrease the pace in certain time increments.  I like to do sprint intervals myself.  My sprint interval program is as follows.

5 minute warm up – 7.0 to 7.5 mph
1 minute sprint – 9.5 to 10.0 mph
1.5 minute rest interval – 3.5 mph
Repeat the sprint and rest intervals 8 times
5 minute cool down – 7.0 mph
Total time is 30 minutes
 

Here is another interval that I will use to help improve my static running pace.

5 minute warm up – 7.0 to 7.5 mph
5 minute run – 8.0 – 8.5 mph
2 minute rest interval – 3.5 mph
4 minute run – 8.0 to 8.5 mph (make sure this is a little faster than the first interval)
2 minute rest interval – 3.5 mph
3 minute run – 8.5 to 9.0 mph 
2 minute rest interval – 3.5 mph
2 minute run – 9.0 mph (or higher)
5 minute cool down – 7.0 mph

Total time is 30 minutes.

 Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, as they would say, I am going to give you links to a variety of other treadmill workouts.  

Peanut Butter Fingers has quite a few to choose from.  

Carrots ‘N” Cake has posted a variety of workouts including the fun ‘Treadmill Roulette: Music Edition‘.

Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life groups her routines in 20 & 30 minute, and 35 – 55 minute.  

FitFluential has these treadmill tips with links to some more workouts.  

With all the options above you just have to find what works for you.  Another thing to keep in mind is to vary your workout.  Like resistance training if you don’t vary your exercises you will become strong in one area while deficient in the others.  Work in some interval sprints as well as some static running each week.  

Alternatives to the Treadmill

If you live in the great Midwest, like yours truly, you could brave the elements and hit the pavement outside.  If you live in a warmer part of the country this is the ideal option.  Got a gym membership?  Use the stationary bike, row machine, stair climber or pool.  The only piece of equipment I stay away from is the elliptical.  I never feel like I can push myself on the elliptical plus they are always very popular (and usually taken).  

I am always an advocate for joining a sports league.  During the winter months local community centers usually have basketball, volleyball and racket ball leagues.  If you are lucky enough some have indoor tennis courts.  Or you could find a local ice rink and join a beginner hockey league!  Ice rinks also have speed skating teams for all ages as well, which sure looks like fun during the Olympics.  

Biggest Loser Commentary

biggest loserThis weeks episode was not overly compelling.  It followed script and was a little predictable.  A few things stuck out to me.  The temptation was holiday (Halloween) appropriate but I was a little surprised that all the contestants participated and that the immunity was given to an entire team.  Bob’s team winning immunity just mailed in the weeks workouts, shame on you Bob and the blue team. Simply going through the motions and dropping a few pounds is unacceptable.  You have been given a gift that comes with sacrifice.  Your life was put on hold (one guy rescheduled his wedding), you are away from your family, but you get to train and focus on healthy living.  Making the sacrifice is great, taking a week off while making that sacrifice is a poor choice.  They would have lost the weigh-in but for their team immunity.  One welcome thing did happen, the side show of having Ruben Studdard on the show has ended as he was eliminated.  Don’t get me wrong, I am rooting for him to loose weight and turn his health around, but his selection to the show reeked of being a publicity stunt by NBC.  The shows credibility is slowly eroding, it is time for a feel good story and some exciting weight loss numbers to inspire the viewers.   

One Last Thing…

I have taken two weeks off work in order to help adjust with our new born son.  With a second child the game has changed.  Just getting out of the house is a challenge.  I now see how people lose touch with a healthy lifestyle when a child (or multiple children in our case) becomes the focus in a household.  That said, you find time for fitness if you really want to, it may just take a little more planning and communication.  I know this time off work is going to fly by so I am trying to savor every minute with my family and especially our new son.  I remember when my daughter was newly born like it was yesterday and now she is two-years-old.  The time gets away from you if you let it.  

Do you run on the treadmill or brave the outdoor elements year round?

Anyone else watch Biggest Loser?  What is your take on this season so far?

Those of you with families, how do you find time to exercise while still having enough time with the fam?

5 Comments

  1. lol “weaksauce”- that expression needs to be said more often. so when it comes to braving the elements, i walk to work year round (my old job was exactly a mile away, my new job is 1.4 miles) in snow, hail, wind, whatever boston wants to throw at me. but when it comes to working out- im indoors year round. judge if you must, i can take the scrutiny :)
    Charlotte recently posted…Top 8 Ways to Take Your Various Hot BeveragesMy Profile

  2. In general I love working out in the gym. But when it comes to walking or running, I’m an outdoor lover all the way! Boston makes it tough to do that even with no snow on the ground. I just can’t be in layers when I’m working out. *Shudder*

    Thanks for the explanation on negative splits. I’m not a runner-runner and was always curious what that was about!

    • I’m not really a runner either. I had to read quite a few articles before I picked up on the lingo. Outside is the preferred way for me to run too, just not in the cold.

  3. Pingback: Completely Random | Regular Healthy Competition

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