Saturday, February 4, 2012

Where angels fear to treadmill

Today's run (treadmill intervals): 30 minutes

When two unpleasant things, like sodium and chloride, are combined, the resulting substance can be quite palatable (like salt). More often, combining two disagreeable things will just amplify their unpleasantness. One great example is running intervals on the treadmill.

My plan for this morning was to head out early to the local track to run 4 x 400's and 100 meter sprints. I ended up sleeping to 6:45 AM, which set my schedule back an hour, so I changed my plans to run 200 meter intervals at the adjacent middle school. Due to circumstances, my time got too tight to do even that, so I elected to do my speed work on the treadmill.

Honestly, I don't always find the treadmill disagreeable, but I far prefer to run outside. Intervals on the treadmill spook me because the faster the machine goes, the more concern I have for my safety.  When the Sole is cranking over 8 MPH, it provides a scary display of motion and power. A 7:30 pace on the road feels very mild by comparison. The whole time I'm running fast on the treadmill my primary concern is a misstep that will cause me to fly off the machine.

Since I don't really trust the recorded distance on the Sole's display, I went by time for my fast running. I started off with three minutes of easy running and then hit the 8 MPH button, holding on for dear life. I'm sure there are many people, some who read this blog, that might look at 8 MPH as brisk, but not especially fast. I guess it's all relative, because that first 3 minute cycle was a heart racing experience.

I switched between 3 minute cycles of 8 MPH (truth be told, I dialed back to 7.5 MPH after completing the second interval) separated by two minute recovery cycles. The first three recovery periods were done at 4 MPH, and the rest were at 6 MPH. I ended up running a total of 30 minutes and I stepped off the treadmill thinking:

  • OMG I'm exhausted
  • I need electrolytes
  • I wish I was already in the shower
  • I need to be ready to leave the house in 30 minutes and all I want is a nap
When I came out of the shower I was still sweating, and I knew I accomplished my goal of getting an effective speed workout completed today. I'll go out for a very easy run tomorrow and start my taper for next Saturday's race. Now that enough time has passed, I'm already forgetting how hard today's workout felt. Like sodium and chloride, treadmill intervals do yield some benefits when they're combined, but it's hard to appreciate that at the time.

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