How do I run so long on the treadmill?
I really, really pondered this one Monday as I ran my 10 miles. I don’t love the treadmill, I don’t even really like running on a treadmill, but given the alternative of no running I’ll gladly take it. In the physical sense of being able to complete longer distances[my record stands at 16], I slow down the run. I ran 9 of the miles yesterday at or around a 9 minute pace. It felt like I was putting forth the same effort as if I was running 8 outside. The last mile I pushed it at about a 7 min pace. [I try to push myself in the last mile of every longer run, to teach myself how to run fast on dead legs.]
As far as the mental part – I tell myself one more mile. One more mile and then you can stop. When I get to that mile I say the same thing again. Oh Dorothy you can certainly run just one more! This way I never think oh shoot – I’m running 10 and I have 8 left. I only always just have one more mile.
I play this game on long runs outside as well. My brain can not comprehend 20 miles. It seems scary to me every time I go out to run long. I break it up. When I used to run all my LR’s on the W&OD trail I would run 5 one direction, 5 back, then 5 in the other direction, and 5 back. Never stopping. So yes technically one of the *legs* was 10 but I didn’t see it that way. I saw a break between them. Running 5 is very manageable in my head – running 20 is not.
The reason I can push myself one more mile on a treadmill is this. I know when I show up at the starting line of a race – I am only going to have the outcome I want at the finish if I put in the work. I know that EVERY run is important. Every run serves a purpose and gets me closer to where I want to be, where I dream I can be one day. I think of my goals on every single run. It’s the only way for me. When I am not signed up for a race or don’t have a specific goal in mind I can’t run long – my mind just won’t do it. Sure I get bored, and tired – probably all the same emotions that most people have on a treadmill, I just do not allow my mind to quit[some days are more of a struggle than others].
I also think there is something to be said for doing long runs[outside] alone and not bringing music. I hear runners say they just turn on their music and zone out. I don’t want to zone out – I want to feel the air in my lungs, I want to hear the birds chirping, I want to hear the little voice inside my head telling me *you can do it*, I want to hear the wind howling, not only see but hear the leaves falling, I want to discover new things about myself and the environment. This is hard – it’s easy to zone out. It’s harder to stay present in the moment and push yourself on when your body is telling you to stop. It’s the same mental toughness that I would argue that you need during races.
This summer on one of my runs with MR PIC – I told her that I didn’t know how to *die* in a race. I mean sure I always had pushed myself to what I thought were my limits in a race, but that was never really everything I had. I would feel the pain and ease off a bit – telling myself I was going too fast and that I couldn’t handle it. Ragnar Relay changed that for me. Somewhere in the darkness on the side of the road I learned to *die a little* I learned how to push myself to the brink and not ease up. I also learned that in doing this to my body – it would get stronger and it would not quit on me.
The mental part of running is just as important as the physical.
So there – that’s my roundabout explanation of why I can run so long on the ‘mill.
Any tips on what helps you get through treadmill runs?
P.S. Welcome to all the new blog followers – I’m loving every one’s comments!!