Showing posts with label outdoor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label outdoor. Show all posts

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Treadmill running is almost like real running

Same same
Today's run (treadmill): 3.6 miles

I downloaded my Garmin for the first time since January and saw that my last run before Friday happened on January 31 (not January 25th as I'd thought). Still, it was three full weeks between those runs. Over four weeks since I ran outside. So far the transition from elliptical to treadmill has been seamless, but it will likely be a few weeks before I can run outdoors again.

I was wondering about the difference between treadmill and road running when I came upon an article on the ABC News website called Myth or Reality: Treadmill Just as Good as Road Running. The point of the story was that most of the differences between indoor and outdoor running are small:

- Treadmill running requires less force from the knees and hips but not to a significant degree.

- Calorie burn is about the same until you get down to a 7 minute pace.

The article goes on to say that transitioning from the treadmill to the road puts you at risk for calf strains, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. I'll need to keep that in mind when I return to outdoor workouts. I'm sure that, once I'm back to the street, I'll want to stay outside for my runs.

Today's run was a little longer and a little faster than yesterday's. I am trying to limit the time I spend on the treadmill while I transition back from the zero-impact elliptical. Again, the time went by quickly and I was pleased with the airflow from the two large fans that sit below the console. I suspect that the challenge will increase as I add more time and speed to my running.

Unlike warm weather days, I don't need to think through my venue options for a Sunday run. Like yesterday and today, tomorrow will once again be a treadmill day. And that's just fine.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Missing my houses and cars

Today's run (treadmill): 3.25 miles

The biggest difference between today's and yesterday's workouts was the timing. I got to it early and my energy level and mental engagement were much improved. Even though I set my speed faster than on Tuesday, I felt far more comfortable. There's always an element of tedium on the treadmill, but today it was bearable.

A good run that follows a bad one helps us keep our perspective. The sameness of the treadmill experience, with the unchanging view out the window, can easily sap motivation. But physically, your body doesn't know the difference. I'm ready to return to my neighborhood roads where the scenery is constantly changing. As far as that scenery goes, it's just houses and cars. But those houses and cars are all different in their own way.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My wife's anti-wimp technique

Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

The rain and warm temperatures have washed away most of this weekend's snow, so I headed out for a neighborhood run this morning. The treadmill, which I have long demonized, has recently become my lazy choice for a morning workout. And why not? It's ready to go when you are. A quick change into running  shoes, shorts and shirt (shirt optional), and I can go from sleeping to running in a third of the time it takes me to go outdoors.

Why did I run outside today? Because my wife made me. Last night I told her that I was planning an indoor run and she said "The rain is gone and it's going to be almost 50 degrees tomorrow morning. You really like to run outside, so why aren't you?" I couldn't tell her that I've become a wimp who prefers the easy, controlled experience of treadmill running. Or that I've been seduced by the extra time afforded by not putting on outside gear and messing with satellite acquisition.

Out I went this morning, and I had a great run. I appreciated my ability to vary speed, cadence and stride on a whim and the ever changing scenes of my neighborhood. The winds were strong and they seemed to come from multiple directions. I ran very well, but only beat my usual pace by 20 seconds per mile. It was probably due to so many headwinds. The important thing was that, due to my wife's prompting, I had a much  better experience than I would have on the treadmill. Maybe I should listen to her more often.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Back on the road, at least for the weekend

Rather than take a rest day on Sunday to recover from Saturday's race, I decided to go for a short run. The Snowflake Run distance was only 4 miles so a recovery wasn't really necessary. At the same time I didn't want to go out for a long run since my neighborhood roads are still  marginal, narrowed by snow with icy patches and pooling runoff from the recent rain. After two weeks of treadmill running and only one outdoor run I was just happy to be outside.

The weather was sunny and the temperature was 37. I wore two light layers on top and it was chilly for the first ten minutes. I used the cold as a motivator to generate some heat and I stepped up my pace to help that along. I'd originally planned to run easy but faster felt better. It may have been Sunday's race pace that tuned me for speed but I felt good turnover on my stride. My form wasn't quite as smooth as Saturday but it all worked. With the exception of the times when I needed to slow down to run along icy parts of the road, my pace stayed under 9:00. I ended up averaging 9:05 which was speedier than I'd planned. I'll likely run indoors this week because the icy roads and darkness present too much safety risk. But this weekend I'm aiming for some longer outdoor runs.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Last outside run before the blizzard

Today's run (street): 2.6 miles

Snow is coming. We're not sure how much we'll get but estimates for my area are in the 8"-12" range. I like snow but I don't like the commuting problems that come along with major storms. My other issue is that snowstorms make the roads and trails impassible and that forces me to run indoors. On the bright side, I can look out the window and watch the snowy scene as I run on the treadmill.

Knowing that tomorrow's run will likely be indoors, I made sure I got outside this morning. At 3:50 AM the temperatures are usually at their lowest point of the day and I'm often tempted to overdress to prevent the initial shock of transitioning from 68 degrees in the house to 20 degrees outside. I got it right this morning and went out feeling cold, but comfortable, starting slower than normal but picking up the pace by the minute. Unlike Sunday I remembered to start the Garmin and had even adjusted the calibration on the foot pod before my run. After reaching what I was sure was a mile I glanced at the watch that only showed .91 miles and that surprised me. I later mapped my route on Gmaps to see that even after the calibration adjustment I had covered 5% more distance than the Garmin recorded. I was actually happy to see that because it meant my overall pace was in line with the way I felt while running.

Today's run actually felt very good. I had none of the leg heaviness or low energy response that plagued me on Saturday and at the beginning on my run on Sunday. I'm holding out hope that the snow will wait just long enough to let me get out for another run tomorrow morning. The chance of that happening is low but you never know.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Back to 4:00 AM street runs

Today's run (street): 2.35 miles at 9:18/mile

After about three months of weekday morning runs on the treadmill I returned to the outdoors for my 4:00 AM workout. I'll admit I was a little nervous about going back to the dark streets as I laid out my gear last night. Before, when I was doing these runs daily, it became a familiar routine. This morning it was almost like doing it for the first time. I much prefer to run on ground that isn't moving and our new treadmill is exhibiting some erratic behavior (more on that below) so my best choice right now seems to be running outdoors.

My run went well. I recently read in an article in Running Times magazine that early morning runs like this will yield slower paces. I ran in the lower 9:00 range but, as I've said in the past about these runs, it felt faster than that. I tried to run on streets that have higher inclines because my upcoming race is all about a big hill and I want to be ready. Along the way I encountered a person walking their dog, a surprise to see at 4:15 AM. It really was nice to be back outside and, unless we get rain, I plan to do it again tomorrow.

After a disappointing conversation with a cranky customer service person at Sole yesterday I was concerned about how the company would handle our issue with the slipplng belt tread. After submitting an online form my wife was contacted by the Sole support person who told her that our machine was part of a group that had bad motors (lucky us) and it will be replaced. I can't wait for that to happen! My wife continues to use the machine without much problem and until the motor is replaced I will too. But only if it rains.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Running to distractions

Were you to ask any group of runners the main reason why they run I'll bet most would say they do it because they just love running. Fair enough, there is much to be said for the experience. Among other things, there is the changing landscape, fresh air and the feeling that you are doing something challenging that also benefits your health. So what's not to love?

As I padded downstairs at 4:01 AM this morning to get my pre-run coffee it occurred to me that there are things about running that are not so easy to love. Like waking up every day at 4:00 and running by 4:10. Like enduring freezing cold winds, muscle pulls or hot humid conditions in the name of reaching your distance goals. I think most runners are okay with the idea of suffering. Somehow it plays into the love thing but I'm not a psychologist so I can't defend that theory. I'm discovering that my main source of suffering, fatigue, has begun to give way to a more insidious issue: tedium.

Running on the treadmill this morning yielded two emotional responses. The first was "Wow, this feels great, I wish I could run for another half hour." The second response came near the end of my allotted run time "OMG, I can't run in place while I stare at the furniture in the room for another minute." It's not just the treadmill either. This weekend, as I ran through my neighborhood without any fatigue and conditioning issues to distract me, I began to wish for something new to look at besides cars and houses.

This may be a reason why I'm thinking so much lately about trail running. It would be great to look at a changing landscape that actually is a landscape. I wonder if anyone sells systems that simulate outdoor running by projecting trails on the wall that move at the pace that you run. That may be overkill. I also keep thinking about spring when I can do my early weekday runs outdoors, providing there's enough light to see and be seen. That would be better than staring at a cabinet.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Way off track

As I backed out of my garage this morning to head to the track I noticed that the temperature display in my car said 42 degrees. In the seven minutes it took to reach the track the reading had dropped ten degrees and with strong winds I figured the chill brought that down at least ten degrees more. I was prepared for the weather but not for what I saw when I arrived - the entire track was covered in icy snow. I got back in the car and headed straight back home.

It's been a couple of weeks since I'd run outdoors due to snowstorms that seem to happen every weekend. I was determined to get back on the track or street so I hit my neighborhood roads which were sandy and dirty but mostly clear of snow and ice. After a few weeks on treadmill duty it was disconcerting to encounter freezing cold winds but it really felt like running. I thought about some of the runners I've heard from recently in places like Michigan where it's been 5 degrees. If they're out there running I really can't complain. I ran 3.6 miles and felt strong throughout the run and finished better than I have in a long time. Maybe my conditioning has improved.

I was happy that my starting struggles did not follow my return to road running. I thought the wind resistance and hills would slow my speed but I was surprised to see I ran 20 sec./mile faster than I'd been averaging on the treadmill. I'll do another neighborhood run tomorrow to see if I can exceed 4 miles, a distance I'm hoping to achieve at least once a weekend until my April race.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Back to the street

For the first time in two weeks I did an outdoor run in my neighborhood rather than on the track. It was a nice change of scenery but I have been spoiled by the level surfaces of the treadmill and track. Today's street run was a lot more challenging with hills and hard pavement but I felt pretty good at the end. I'm pleased that running three miles, once a stretch goal, is now a standard distance for me. I have also been improving my pace on longer runs. My goal is to break 9:00/mi on the 5K.

Although I'll likely do more track than street running going forward I do think a mix of surfaces and elevations are important for balanced conditioning. Besides that, I really like running through my neighborhood with many houses decorated for the holidays and crossing paths with the occasional neighbor out doing their own early morning run.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Comparing indoor versus outdoor running

I was out of the office most of last week for the Thanksgiving break. Days off give me more time to run outside and I think that it's important to balance indoor treadmill running with pavement running. The experiences are very different, the view on the treadmill (Pro-Form L18) doesn't change (unless TV counts) while my outdoor runs are almost always unique in terms of route. The treadmill is a more forgiving and enabling process since the tread itself is more padded than pavement and the motion of the tread provides momentum for the runner. On the other hand outdoor running provides a variety of conditions (elevations, weather, terrain) that can be positive (or negative) distractions.

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