I asked myself this not two hours ago while running my longest long run this year on the treadmill.

Ice and freezing temperatures outside meant that I would be doing my first super long run on the treadmill. To say I wasn’t looking forward to it was an understatement. I don’t make excuses so I knew I had to get it done.

Prior to running B & A Trail Marathon in 2010 I did almost all of my long runs on the treadmill, running up to 20 miles.

A little voice inside of me said – PR today – PR today.

I got on the treadmill once baby C went down for his nap. Hubby told the other two I had gone somewhere and that he had to be Mr. Dad. He played American Girl Doll with Chloe and did projects with Miles – anything he could to prevent them from coming into our room and interrupting my run.

The first 7 miles moved slowly – I ran out of water fast. I stopped for less than 45 seconds to pee and fill up my water and got back on. I told myself you are not stopping no matter how bad this hurts till you are done with 20 miles.

I started the run at 8:20 pace, dropping down to 8 minute pace and then to 7:40 for the majority of the miles. Mile 19 and 20 were the hardest – RACE PACE. 7:06 for two miles nearly broke me. I talked out loud.

What are you made of Dorothy? How BAD do you want to PR in the marathon this year. I SAID HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?

The treadmill might not be the best training physically[for me personally], but mentally there is nothing like pushing through 20 hard miles on it.  20 miles move relatively fast outside – on a treadmill I feel as if time is standing still. I am running and going no where. There are no birds chirping to put a spring in my step. I don’t feel the breeze on my face.

It is important for me to work my MENTAL muscle just as much as my physical muscles. The treadmill works my mental muscle.

After the 20 miles were over I hit stop. I walked to fill my water bottle, which was again empty. I looked in the mirror and said…..

Is that what you are made of Dorothy? 20 miles?

So I got back on the treadmill [because that’s what every sane person would do – right?]

2 more miles – for 22 miles total and a new treadmill PR in distance.


Ask yourself – how bad do you want it? How bad do you want to PR? If you want it then make it happen. Put in the work and BELIEVE all things are possible.

Was it icy or snowy near you? Did you venture out for your run or make the treadmill your new best friend?


  1. That’s a great post. I know I’m mentally weak when I train but this post inspired me to push harder.

  2. Holy freakin cow – 22 miles on the treadmill is an amazing test of mental toughness! The longest I have done on the treddy is 16 miles (years ago) and I don’t remember enjoying that. :) You are HARD CORE!

  3. Great job! My treadmill distance PR is 6 miles, I can’t imagine doing 22, you rock!

  4. Awesome Dorothy! I hated running on the TM at my PT’s office! I have no idea how you do it! I have a buddy that did 20 on the TM, too. If I have a long run this weekend in this weather, I’m not sure what I would have done- probably tried out the trails and walked/ slogged through it. Since I started loving running I have battled injuries over the winters (this and last year) that prevented me from going long like that. I do plan on doing 5 on the trails tomorrow with a group. Should be fun!
    As for the ‘How bad do I want it’? I want it really bad! 50k PR and distance PR’s this year!!!! I only have about 5-6 races planned and a lot of long runs!

  5. THAT is MENTAL toughness and physical talent right there Dorothy! Well done! Your training is inspirational and HARD CORE!

  6. I wish I was tough enough to even do half that on the treadmill! Though, I quite enjoyed my 5-miler outside today. 23* and sunny with 3″ of fresh snow. Nothing like fresh air :)

  7. I ran 11 on one today!! I felt so good and then I read you did TWENTY?!? Holy smokes – you’re of another running world :) Great job!!!!

  8. oops. TWENTY-TWO! You are a machine! Go girl!

  9. I am in awe of the fact that you ran 22 miles on a TM. I dread running even 3. So impressive. I ventured out into the snowy weather once again for a 10 miler this morning.

  10. OMG!!! You ARE an inspiration 😉

    Love your quotes: “How bad do you want it? How bad do you want to PR? If you want it then make it happen. Put in the work and BELIEVE all things are possible.” I feel it’s gona be on my FB status 😉

    Doing NY half in March, will go do my short 4km run on the treadmill and tomorrow is my long run (14 km)… nothing compare to what you did!

    I live near Ottawa, Ontario in Canada and it’s been freezing here lately and lots of snow.

  11. My treadmill (affectionately named “dreadmill :) has been my best friend as of late. I had to do 10 on it last weekend because of bitter cold temps. This week was a light week of only 16 total miles, but I was again stuck indoors either for snow/ice, or negative temps. Since I’m training for a spring marathon I’m certain I’m not going to have a choice but to do some true long runs on there, and I will be re-reading this post when that day comes :)

  12. You are seriously amazing!!! I think the furthest I’ve ever gone on a TM is 8? Maybe 10? I would have to check my journal.

    Way to flex that mental muscle lady :) Your husband deserves a medal, even though I know he’s happy to do be Mr. Dad!!

    I wanted so badly to throw on the YakTrax and go exploring, but figured that doing this while 6 months pregnant wouldn’t be a good idea. Plus, we have huge 150 ft. trees and limbs were falling left and right… very nerve wrecking!

  13. I needed to read this today. I should have read it earlier when I still had the chance to make it to the gym!! I had 12 on the schedule, the snow and ice outside told me to stay indoors. Unfortunately, I chose bed. I am kicking myself. KICKING myself! I even had planned to alternate my miles between elliptical and treadmill, but either way…I didn’t do it. And I am dis.a.pointed.

    Anyway, thank you for this posting! You impress me to no end and I vow to find a treadmill tomorrow and get my 12 done!

  14. WOW! That was awesome. I had this same talk with myself today only not of this magnitude. I was rainy and I was headed to the treadmill at the gym, so I had to get my miles in before the time limit. I am going to use this to psych myself up for my fastest 5k ever next weekend!

  15. I REALLY want a treadmill. But unfortunately it is not in my future. But I am doing a long training program for a spring marathon, so today in 20 degree weather, 3 inches of snow on the ground and the flakes still falling, I ventured outside for 12 miles. I felt hardcore. I kept thinking: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

  16. You go, girl! What amazing mental stamina. I’ll admit it – I’m not sure I could do it, especially without complaining every 30 seconds. My longest TM run was 5 miles and after that I had had enough. I don’t have a TM at home which forces me outside. But I think that’s good. I’ve come such a long way in my training and I’m at the point where losing my fitness level is not an option so outside I go. I’m outside so much now that I haven’t yet gotten sick this season. Of course, there are days where I really don’t want to do anything (PMS as the culprit, blah) but if a run isn’t going to happen I hop on my bike trainer instead. :)

  17. I LOVE this post! I did a 6 mile pace run on the treadmill yesterday and swore it would be my last. After reading your post I’m reconsidering. You are right-the treadmill really forces one to be mentally tough and that is such an important part of racing especially the marathon distance. Thanks for a new perspective and great job on your run!

  18. I like the point you made about training mentally. Running the treadmill is a real struggle for me. I’d rather run through snow (which I did this morning), but running in snow means it’s hard to hit pace because of slippery conditions and dodging plows. So slower times. Which do you think is more beneficial? Also what do you set your incline to? Do you add “hills”? And (this is my biggest issue) how do you occupy yourself mentally? iPod? Tv? I’d love your input:) I need some tricks up my sleeve next time I get on the mill.

  19. As always you inspire me to run stronger and better! I so love your determination to challenge yourself. Amazing!!!

  20. Wow, your amazing!! It’s snowy, icy and then it rained so it’s water over ice and some slush here in Washington so I had to run my 10 miler on the treadmill, Blah! But you totally rock for running 22 on the tready!!

  21. Wow you’re amazing!!!! I’m supposed to do my first ever 20 miler this weekend and I’m going to TRY to do it outside tomorrow, but may have to take it inside for a few — I will be thinking of your post during it!

  22. I totally agree with you that the treadmill is a great mental training tool. I had confidence going into my first marathon knowing I was able to put in the boring miles on the treadmill (and run with the jogging stroller while tending to a little one). Running 26.2 miles solo on the roadways was a blessing….hard, but a blessing.

  23. That’s fantastic!! I am contemplating running 8 on the gym treadmill today since I’m still a little under the weather and going outside probably wouldn’t help me. The through of 8 or almost an hour and a half for me is not fun. Your hubby is super awesome to keep your littls out of your bedroom so you could do what you needed to do!

  24. I just did a short run outside yesterday. The cold felt good and running in different weather makes me feel alive. It would have taken the whole day to do a 20 though. Way too slick. You had to stay focused the whole time. The longest treadmill run I did was a 20+ during hurricane Irene while training for the 50 miler. I hope to NEVER have to run that long on a treadmill again.

  25. WOW! You rock lady!! :) You are amazing!! :) (and not to mention speedy) 😉 Great run!! :)

  26. whohoooo you rock…and yep it’s all about how badly you want something :)

  27. 7:06 pace and you talked out loud? Holy moly, no words would come out if I was going that fast. Maybe a high pitched whimper but no words.
    Way to slay those mental miles! Great Job.

  28. That’s awesome! Way to go :) I think that believing you can achieve something is half the battle! I know that being mentally positive is so,SO important for me when it comes to running.

  29. Great job! I totally agree with you about the mental training aspect. I keep trying to find ways to do this whether on runs or on core workouts. When things get tough, it’s the extra things you do in practice that are going to make the difference on race day. Way to be a great role model of this. Best wishes on your continued training! PR here you come!!!

  30. Great work! I’m inspired and try to think of you every time I get on the treadmill. I can’t believe though you got on for 2 more miles. That’s dedication!
    So smart to have the kids think you had gone somewhere!

  31. You are the most inspirational runner I ‘know’ out there! Every post makes me re-think my previous run and how I can change my attitude around for all future runs. I cannot fathom 22 miles on the spinning belt of doom; HUGE kudos go out to you. 2012 is going to be huge for you–I feel it!

  32. Mile Posts By Dorothy Beal says:

    Thanks Karla – that is sweet of you to say!! I couldn’t imagine 22 either till I did it. Now I really want to do 26.2 just for the heck of it 😉 Crazy??

  33. Mile Posts By Dorothy Beal says:

    I honestly can’t believe they really thought I was gone!! When I came downstairs they asked where I went :)

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