Two months ago today I read a blog posting by TMB at Racing With Babes titled, i am a treadmill slacker.
I immediately thought to myself before even reading her post. A treadmill slacker? Not me. No way. I work harder than anyone I know, on the treadmill [an irrational self centered thought - but hey I'm being brutally honest].
Instead of really understanding what she had said, I turned it around and got defensive towards myself. She finds it hard? Well so do I and I’m certainly not slacking.
I left a comment trying to make her feel better about her ‘sucking wind’ –
I don’t think I’m a slacker but if it makes you feel any better my marathon pace last spring was 7:40 and on all the long runs leading up to the race I had a hard time holding a 9 min pace on the treadmill. I’m a surge runner – so I go faster then slower repeatedly during each mile. The treadmill is too consistent of a pace for me so it’s SUPER hard
I’m not sure who I was trying to make feel better, TMB, or me – but it probably made neither of us feel better!!! I will however say that my comment is true – I could barely hold a 9 minute pace last spring on the treadmill.
I found myself multiple times running on the treadmill and thinking to myself while running a 6.0 pace, which is a 10 minute per mile average, that I wasn’t slacking. I was pushing myself. I got angry.
I really didn’t understand why her post had struck such a nerve with me.
Was it my own insecurities? Was I secretly jealous that TMB could run a 9:40 pace and I could barely hold a 10 minute pace on most days.
I tried to talk myself off a ledge multiple times….but then it clicked. [I'm assuming I had more sleep this night as most of my irrational unexplained behaviour and thoughts lately, I'm blaming on the fact that I have not gotten more than 4 hours in a row of sleep in a VERY long time]
What clicked was — I’M A TREADMILL SLACKER
TMB was right and if I had never read her post I might still be a slacker.
I was simply running too slow on the treadmill and it was throwing my form all off. I was winded and tired from altering my gait to stay on the treadmill at a 10 minute pace. How do I know this? Because even my slowest miles outside are not 10 minute miles, and technically since there is no wind resistance, hills etc. on the treadmill I should be able to at least maintain or come close to my average easy pace outside.
I’ve since moved my slowest pace up to a 6.5. I do no runs slower than this pace now. I also since reading her post have been able to take my treadmill mile PR to an ALL TIME personal best of 5:49. Further I was even able to run my fastest and longest treadmill tempo ever. [prior to running B & A last year I was only able to complete 3 miles tempo at my top speed]
I guess this means I owe TMB a thank you or maybe even an apology?
You were right – I was treadmill slacker. Not anymore.
So now that I’m not a slacker I’ll tell you how I think I was able to run a mile pr on the treadmill.
I worked on my form. I made sure my arms were not tense and were swinging in a forward motion and not side to side. I didn’t clench my fists as I ran but made sure to hold my butterfly. Lastly I worked on my breathing. Typically when I start to run fast I start to feel like I am hyperventilating, then slow to catch my breath. For me attempting a mile under 6 minute pace left no room for slowing to catch my breath. I slowed my breathing. For the first minute or so I literally felt like I was suffocating – after that a funny thing happened. My breathing was so controlled that I was able to run fast with out feeling like I was going to die. Every time I doubted myself during that mile I would focus on controlling my breathing. Taking a deep breath and opening up my lungs.
Here’s my thank you…
THANK YOU TMB for unknowingly helping me to become a better, stronger, and faster runner. Thank you for helping me realize that I shouldn’t always turn things around and make them about me. Thank you for also helping me to remember that though I would love to say I know everything there is to know about running, I have plenty more to learn! You rock
Are you a treadmill slacker?