Choppy post. Writing thoughts as they come.

Training is back in full effect.

I say training because I think there is a difference between running and working out to be healthy and the things you do and do not do while *training* for a marathon or other big race.

Last post was last Wednesday. Sometimes I feel like talking, sometimes I don’t. I like it that way.

Thursday the little mini me had a two hour delay which meant there was no time to go to the gym and do spin and also make it home in time to get little #2 ready for pre-school.

Got on the treadmill when Colton was napping and busted out 10 miles while the other two were at school. I was REALLY happy with 10 because when you are first getting back into the swing of being on the treadmill for the majority of your weekly runs it takes a little bit to get over that 5 – 7 mile hurdle. I always find the longer I run on the treadmill for the shorter runs, the easier it gets to run a double digit run. Picking up the pace also helps me squeeze it in.

I am 100% sure that part of my speed increase over the years is due to limited time. When I had all the time in the world I was one word – LAZY. Now that time is limited I make the time I have count.

After said miles were over, showered and got dressed to go meet Blaire of – She happened to be in town for the night, reads my blog, and wanted to meet up. I said sure because it’s totally normal making friends with Internet people now. Not joking at all. It has become totally normal. Blaire was adorable to say the least. I have this really bad habit [not sure if that is the word] of wanting to do something but then feeling so tired I just cancel [thank you Gilbert’s Syndrome – I will continue to blame my abnormal fatigue on you].

Friday was a planned rest day. Met up with Jess of for a little mall play date with the littles. After a solid week of running I needed a day off.

I had planned to run long on Saturday but couldn’t find the motivation. Kept saying I would run later in the day but that never happened and I was okay with it. I had convinced myself that whatever run I went on that day was not going to be good. My mind wasn’t there so it turned into another rest day. At night I went out with my sister for a little retail therapy at Nordstrom Rack [oh Nordstrom how I love thee]. We headed to PF Changs for some yummy food and my favorite banana dessert. Ordered it with a side of salt, the waitress thought I was nuts, but it made me happy.

Sunday woke up MOTIVATED. It was icy and cold out so the treadmill looked like the best option.

I don’t hate the treadmill. It’s boring as hell and not ideal but anything that allows me to run is something I am never going to say I hate.

18 miles turned into 20 and to be honest I felt like I could have kept going. It’s exactly how I want to feel after a long run, but rarely do. 7:53 average for all 20 miles was right in the zone of where I want to be. I felt happy.

School was cancelled for the littles today because of ice. The four of us headed to the gym. I had barely any time to squeeze in a run before the spin class started. I made them count – 3 miles – 7:03 average. Day 3 of spin KICKED MY BUTT. I know I only went twice last week but I feel like I can already tell I am getting stronger. My wattage today was MUCH higher than my average last week. I felt happy.

I have a terrible headache from getting so dehydrated during spin. I have never sweat so much in a workout in my life. I really look like I just stepped out of the shower when class is over. Gross.

MUST drink more water.

Snow day means more time for snuggles with this pretty girl. I know it’s so cliche how parents say they love their kids more than life itself, but it really is true. She is the best.


Whenever you post about going REALLY long on a treadmill people typically ask a zillion and one questions. Here are some thoughts on some that I got on twitter this weekend.

  • YES I was bored. I watched Dexter for all 20 miles, but it’s honestly hard to not get bored running for that long and not going anywhere.
  • I like running long on the treadmill because it trains your brain to keep going even when bored or in pain. At mile 22 of a marathon you are going to ask yourself why you are doing this. You might come to the conclusion that you are insane or that you will never do it again. Miles 22 – 26 of a marathon are often the make or break miles. There is no point in giving up when the going gets tough during these miles. I often tell myself that if I slow down in those miles then I might as well have just run the 21 before it slower and these woudln’t have felt so bad.
  • How bad do you want it? The winter is not ideal for training. Roads are icy and snowing or it’s just plain freezing outside. If you want to run a good race in the spring or any race at all, you have to put in the work. I want a marathon finish bad enough that 20 miles on a treadmill is worth it.
  • NO I did not listen to music. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t. I wanted this run to be mentally hard.
  • I put the tv on closed captioning so it’s not loud. Loud tv means I wake little people up. Watching the words keeps my mind on the tv and off the pain.
  • YES I vary the pace. I always start out slow and finish faster. I started out at an 8:30 pace and worked down to sub 7’s.
  • NO I do not run on an incline. I don’t believe in inclining the treadmill. I can talk more about this later. I don’t care what studies or reason you want to send me to try and prove it should be done. If it works for you, great. It doesn’t work for me. I believe in picking up the pace faster than you would run outside.

Do you run long on the treadmill? What are your tips?

Mile Posts Blog is on:

Looking for great deals on running, cycling, and fitness gear? Check out The Clymb. Their Great Escape Sale is going on so there are thousands of items up to 90% off. Lucky for me the Sperry boots I’ve had my eye are back!



  1. I run @ 1.5 incline on the TM – I feel like our tiny condo’s gym slants weird so it feels less than that, though not scientifically proven 😉

  2. I really like the idea of using the treadmill as mental training tool. Our apartment complex has TV’s in front of the treadmills, but it might be a good idea to turn them off sometimes and really force myself to train the willpower muscle.

  3. Nice post! Very helpful to me as I was forced on the treadmill this morning. Treadmill running is much easier if you are used to it. But one treadmill run here and there is tough if it’s not routine. I also agree with you 100% about not putting an incline. I’ve heard that you can easily get injured that way. Your gait is already altered on the TM, so no need to alter it any more with an incline. Anyway, kudos to you. Can’t wait to see you at B&A. I will be there too!

  4. I did over 12 miles on the treddy this Saturday. I just put my ipod on shuffle and went at it. I sometimes just watch tv, sometimes nothing at all. Just depends how I am feeling. I usually never mess with my treddy incline unless I am bored and have to mix it up.

  5. This past weekend, a local ultra/trail/running group took part in 24 Hour Treadmill Challenge. One unbreakable woman ran 100 miles… on a treadmill.

    More power to those that can run long on a TM!!

    I don’t have the mental toughness to do it.

  6. Hey girl! If you belong to the Lburg LAF, you should really check out Jenna’s spin class on Saturday mornings at 815. Might be a tough time for you, but she is the absolute BEST! I cycle about 3x a week and it has definitely helped my running.

  7. I totally hear you about having less time making you go faster! It totally happened to me last week at the gym where technically I only had 45 minutes on the treadmill. I had planned to do an easy 6 miles but realized I had to go much faster than I planned if I wanted to get 6 in. I chose distance over pace in my short amount of time and I cranked those miles out.

  8. I run on the treadmill when I have to. I don’t usually enjoy it but that’s probably because I do not have a treadmill of my own. I think if I had one in my basement, I would learn to love it.

    I haven’t been to spin in a few weeks. It is a great booty kicker.

    Great post!

  9. I did 12+ miles outside Sunday, which was maybe not the smartest thing to do. I did them on the roads of Ashburn, too, and not on the trail. So I was alternating running on slippery sidewalks and semi-frozen grass. But I made the most of it at a good (for me) pace. I think the key is making the most of every situation!

  10. Totally intrigued that you don’t use incline! I hope you will talk about it sometime because I am seriously interested. :) I am just breaking into double digit treadmill runs because waiting till later in the day when it is warm enough here to venture out for long runs is just not working for the fam. I struggle through 10+ on the mill but never had an issue with 20+ outside last time I was marathon training. While I would always rather run outside, I’m hoping to get to the point one day where I can say the same you did about a 20miler on the mill!

  11. Love that you don’t run on an incline, either! I know I’m “supposed” to do it but my treadmill gets loud and creaky when I put it on incline. Plus, I just don’t like running with the incline — I’d much rather run faster than on the incline.

    20 miles is the max I’ve ever run on a treadmill. I’ve done it 3-4 times plus several 18 milers. I can get in a zone and the miles just kind of fly by.

    Happy to hear your training is going well so far! :)

  12. I loved meeting you and am so happy you didn’t cancel:) I know it prob was a rough week for you last week. Go you on those treadmill runs! :)


  13. OH! and thanks for the shout-out:)

  14. I would love to hear your reasons for not running on an incline.
    I started running when my son was a few months old, so the treadmill has been my best friend. I always run at a 2% incline, but notice sometimes that it can cause muscles in the back of my feet to hurt and if I drop the incline to even 1.5% the pain immediately goes away.
    I love reading your blog and am just amazed by the triple stroller. Running with one child is hard work!

  15. I trained for NYC last summer and did all of my weekly runs and my 12 and 18 milers on the treadmill. My 20 miler was on a 1.6 trail loop– I think the treadmill would have made me less crazy! Wintertime in the northeast gets so iffy running outside though, the treadmill is sometimes the only option! Kudos to you for trucking through :)

  16. I would love to hear more about your theory on the incline. I personally hate the incline and would love any reason NOT to run on one. I ran 15 miles on my TM this weekend on a 2% incline.

    Way to get the miles done!!

  17. You’re so badass, Dorothy! <3 your motivation and drive!

  18. There is definitely a different between ‘training’ and ‘working out.’

    And, thanks for answering all my questions about long runs on a treadmill 😉

  19. Denise C. says:

    I have never, ever run on a treadmill (only when I got fitted for my running shoes), and I almost flew off. I am thinking of getting one, because winter training outdoors when the weather is icky is just not my thing.

  20. “The winter is not ideal for training (…) If you want to run a good race in the spring or any race at all, you have to put in the work.” So true. I pretty much repeat this to myself each day I get up before the sun rises and go out in negative X 10 degrees + snow.

    20 mile treadmill run! Now that’s training.

  21. I am glad to read about other people who use the treadmill for long runs. I am gradually working my way up to 20 miles. I completed 16 on the treadmill last weekend. I sometimes doubt if I have what it takes to go that far outside. I watch tv and sometimes listen to music and I always do about 2-3% incline unless my legs are getting heavy. Thanks for the extra motivation!

  22. I’m speechless – you tried to make a 20 mile TM run even harder with the no music?! You’re so hardcore! You are gonna kill it in the Spring! Lots of exclamation points, but I’m truly in awe. :)

  23. Therese D says:

    You are such a treadmill motivator! I only use it when the weather forces me inside. It mostly feel that anything beyond 7 miles is mental agony. I’m going to take a lesson from you and work on this anti treadmill attitude. Thx for the motivation!

  24. Britt @ Chicago Runner Girl says:

    I’m anti incline too, but I’m also anti treadmill…so I guess that doesn’t count. But to make it fair, avoid inclines while outdoors too 😉 think the longest I ever did make it on the TM was 15 at a gym. Their it was easy to distract my -2 second attention span by people watching. But the problem I always have on the TM is that my normal outdoor pace feels 100x more difficult to keep pace with. Almost 100% certain that is mental for me, which is why I stick to the roads. Easy for me to focus when I’m out by my lonesome rather than people watching I suppose!

  25. Britt @ Chicago Runner Girl says:

    Darn auto correct. *There not “their”. Grrr, hate when that is misused!

  26. Would love to read a post about why you don’t run on an incline! I also believe in increasing speed as you run on the treadmill and I normally don’t run on incline but I don’t have any reason for it

  27. I went to Spin class at 5:30 AM this morn and thought of you as I tried to remember to drink water :) And yes, it’s very hard! Only my 3rd or 4th spin class, and my first one in months and months.

  28. Congrats on an AMAZING treadmill run. Running that long on the treadmill with no music is more mentally powerful than any run on the road (in my opinion). The only word I can think of for running 20 miles at any pace on the mill is EMPOWERING. Doing what you have to do to get it done = awesome. I typically run on the treadmill for my speed work and tempo runs to help me be more disciplined with and committed to really challenging paces. I typicaly but the mill on a 1% incline, but have seen some interesting articles lately on if that really mimics the outdoors or not. Would love to hear your thoughts on that at some point.

    Glad you are enjoying some of the cross training. I’ve found all my cross training makes me a stronger runner. I swim and bike at least once a week, and do 2-3 days of strength training through a boot camp in my neighborhood. I’m using the Run Less Run Faster plan for my running this year, and will continue to follow it when my triathlon training kicks up again as well (

  29. Congrats on a great run! I use a great electrolyte pill from Hammer Nutrition, so it might be useful to look into something like that for when you know you’re going to get extra sweaty!!!

  30. I started spinning last year after my first marathon and I am completely addicted to it! ditto on coming out of there drenched and dehydrated. it’s my #1 favorite cross training :)

  31. It’s great hearing about others that do long runs on treadmills. I had one marathon training cycle where b/c of various scheduling issues I was stuck doing all but one of my 20 milers on the ‘mill. I’d rather run outside for the most part, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. I think it made me a lot more mentally tough and helped me pick up my pace because I just don’t allow myself to turn down the pace. For my last marathon I actually planned to have one of my long runs be on the treadmill for just that reason.

    I’m really interested to hear why you don’t use the incline. I usually do for shorter runs mostly b/c most things I’ve read say to, but for my long runs I like to keep it at 0 and run faster.

    Congrats on a great 20 and happy training!

  32. I run on the treadmill when it is too cold outside to push my kids. I really dislike the treadmill, BUT I feel like it has truly increased my speed because I get so bored I have to go fast.

    I’m always at the gym when Live with Kelly and Michael, is on. I thought that they should have a treadmill race during one of their shows…bring in treadmills and ladies to run the whole hour. It’d be fun.

  33. There are televisions at the gym, but I find that trying to follow them is frustrating. I have endured long treadmill runs in my basement before by finding a focal point–a bight light or spot on the wall–and then letting my mind wander. After a recent long one, I saw spots for a day from staring at a light!! Good for you for finding a way to get the miles in.

  34. After reading this, I knocked out 17 miles on the treadmill today at a local gym. Surely, everyone probably thought I was out of my mind!! haha. but you are 100% correct, it is done on will power and dreams of a great marathon finish. Thanks so much for the motivation (:

  35. You are so inspiring! Love reading your blog.

  36. You treadmill runners impress the heck out of me! I have trouble staying on my bike trainer for an hour let alone for a 20 mile run! I had a woman I coach ask about running her long runs on the treadmill because of the bad weather we had. She was supposed to do 20 today. After our talk she decided to wait until tomorrow when she can get out with another runner for part of her long run rather than hit the ‘mill for it all! She had planned on watching a couple movies to help her get through. She’ll split it tomorrow between out and in.

  37. I love love love that you don’t believe in incline…. I don’t either. I do the same thing as you – I go faster than I would outside… and I still find running outside the pace easier… Incline makes me want to kill myself so I’d prefer to go a few seconds faster than have to spend the whole run thinking about how much pain I am in…

    i know if I put more speed work in on the treadmill, regardless of the incline… that it pays off… It really pays of when it comes to running normally outside (no matter the gradient) and it helps me massively in races with not only keeping pace but pushing through those mental barriers!

    Keep it up – you are so inspirational. I love how you fit it in!!

    You’re one hell of an inspiration!

  38. You make running on the treadmill sound so easy! I run long on it only when I have to! Three years ago, we had such a snowy winter that i had to run two 20-milers and a couple of 16’s while training for Boston. TV shows and music got me through, not my own mental toughness! :-)

%d bloggers like this: