Showing posts with label tedium. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tedium. Show all posts

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Good running beats treadmill tedium

Oh, hello deer
Today's run (treadmill): 4.1 miles

Mother nature can be thoughtless when it comes to my running preferences. I woke up this morning to driving rain that wouldn't stop no matter how many times I looked out the window. Once I started to believe the weather reports, it became clear that my only option would be to run inside on the treadmill. I really didn't want to do that, and thought one more time about braving the rain and the accompanying high winds. Ultimately, I decided that running outside in those conditions while wearing glasses would not work too well.

I stalled as long as I could by setting up the floor fan and gearing up for my treadmill session. As I did all that, I thought about the performance gains I've made in recent weeks and hoped they would translate to this type of workout. I finally hit the start button and set my speed to what I averaged for pace on yesterday's outdoor run.

I know I keep mentioning the Garmin FR 35, but that's because it surprises me (in a good way) every time I use it. This morning I selected "indoor run" and hit start. Once I got going, I saw that it was tracking my pace and distance (and of course heart rate). That's a huge upgrade from my old FR 210 that required a foot pod to capture any run data. As I went along, I compared my speed and distance between the treadmill and watch display that were roughly equivalent.

The tedium of the treadmill experience motivated me to dial up my speed throughout my run. I ended up pacing only 19 seconds per mile slower than my next big performance target. I would have hit that had I done today's run one minute faster. Still, it was my fastest pace on the treadmill since I ran intervals on it earlier this year. My cadence and stride length were also captured and showed improvement from yesterday.

Later in the day, the ER family went out to lunch and then stopped into Dick's in Mellvile. This store has just doubled in size with the addition of a Field & Stream store. My efforts to find some decent lightweight track pants went nowhere (and by the way Dick's, have you heard of any other clothing brands besides Nike, Under Armor and Adidas?) but it was fun to explore the adjacent Field & Stream store.

I don't do guns and have only fished a few times, so I wasn't interested in any of that stuff. However, the outdoor clothing was fun to look at and I always want to buy one of those Carhartt heavy duty hooded sweatshirts when I see them. The showroom had a big display with a bunch of real (stuffed) animals, including elk, moose, wild turkeys and this caribou (see picture at the top) that took a selfie with me.

Tomorrow is Columbus day and that will give me another weekend day to get in a run. There's no rain expected for tomorrow, so I'll be doing that outside. Today's treadmill experience was mostly positive and I was pleased with my performance. But ten times out of ten, I'd rather run outside.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Four mile marathon

Good airflow doesn't help boredom
Today's run (treadmill): 4 miles

What's the difference between running a marathon and running four miles on a treadmill? Today there was no difference. Despite stacking the deck in my favor as much as I could, I struggled to get through the workout. I knew it would be humid, so I opened up windows at both ends of the room and positioned the big fan to maximize air flow. Despite that preparation, it was a slog from start to finish.

I wish I could turn off the mental tedium when I'm on the treadmill, but I can't. The TV doesn't help. Music doesn't help. Only stopping helps. I tried to focus on something else besides the mileage display. Hundredths of a mile ticked by slowly and I self-bargained my original target of five miles down to four to retain my sanity. I always tell myself in these circumstances, "Every run ends, and this one will too." And not a moment too soon.

Hoop dreams
My project for the afternoon was to assemble a new basketball set to replace the one we have that has a smashed backboard. My son is getting taller and stronger and sometimes doesn't know his own strength. The new system has a shatterproof backboard and shock absorbing springs to guard against aggressively energetic teens. It's great that we have these features, but it made it a greater challenge to put together than the old set.

My son and I plowed through the numerous stages of assembly. It got a bit complex at times. We were into our third hour when we needed to enlist my wife and daughter to help lift and position the unit while I connected the height adjustment assembly. In all, it took over four hours to complete, but my daughter (who's the primary user of the basketball hoop) really appreciated it. That made it all worth it.

As hard as my treadmill run felt, I think putting together the basketball pole and backboard was harder. I was glad to add what amounted to an upper body workout to my day, although I'm concerned that I may have put too much pressure on my lower back. I'm not experiencing any sciatica, but I'm concerned about how I'll feel in the morning. Unless I'm really hurting, I'll be out tomorrow morning for a run. I've had enough of treadmill running for now.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wishing for a DVR for running

Today's run (treadmill): 3.25 miles

The kids are off from school this week and that can effect the rhythm of my day. I usually see the kids off to school each morning before heading outside (or upstairs) for my run. My timing is often very tight, leaving me just enough time to work out (and shower) before my first business call. When the kids stay home, my schedule tends to slip.

This morning brought distractions, including shoveling a few inches of fresh snow. I lost my running slot and had to start my work day without my usual post run rush. Worse, my missed workout made me feel guilty all morning. I decided then to switch around a couple of calls so I could take a mid afternoon break and do a treadmill run.

I prefer to run in the morning because my body responds better to activity before noon. A mid afternoon run wasn't ideal, especially since I'd had lunch only a couple of hours before. The run was okay, but tedious. I found myself wishing that I could fast forward through it like a DVR. I did get my run in, even though it extended my workday another hour. The temperature rose above freezing for most of the day today and they are predicting rain for tomorrow. An outside run by Friday is a possibility. Can't wait for that.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Rainy day running gets you nowhere

Get it?
Today's run (treadmill): 4.1 miles

Rain is a funny thing for me. I generally don't mind when I'm caught in a storm, as long as I have a decent umbrella. I like the experience of reading a good book indoors when it's pouring outside. But when it comes to running in the rain, I would rather endure freezing temperatures, high humidity and scorching heat than be subjected to pluvial conditions. Some of this is due to my difficulty seeing in the rain with glasses, but the whole soaking shoes, socks, shirt and shorts thing really undercuts my enjoyment of a run.

This morning I prepared to run outside under a dark gray sky. As much as I abhor running in rain, my favorite conditions are cool and overcast weather. I was dressed and ready to head out when my daughter looked up from her homework and said, "Dad, do you know that it's raining outside?" I didn't know, but I decided to walk down the driveway to see if it was rain or just light drizzle. It was rain.

I came back inside and headed upstairs to wait for my wife to finish her treadmill run. I changed into a lighter running shirt and removed my RoadID but kept on the other gear. As soon as my wife finished her workout, I fired up the floor fan, put on the news and set a brisk pace on the treadmill. The rainy conditions outside created humid conditions indoors. I prepared for 16 tedious "laps", the most I thought I could endure this morning.

It was disappointing to be stuck on the treadmill after expecting to run outside. Yesterday I experienced some fatigue after negotiating the long uphill section along Sunnyside Boulevard. Today I felt like I had more energy, but the lack of perceived progress I get during treadmill running was mentally wearing. I focused on .25 mile increments and eventually got to my targeted "distance."

I was glad that I didn't let the weather prevent me from putting in the miles today. However, after four miles of humid treadmill running I'm reconsidering the merits of running in the rain.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A little love for the treadmill

Today's run (treadmill): 25 minutes

I've been running well lately, but I found yesterday's workout disappointing. It may have been my mental state at the time of the run, but I didn't enjoy the experience at all. I usually associate tedium with the treadmill and prefer the changing conditions that happen when running outdoors. Thursday's run felt like a maintenance effort, nothing more. But, as the saying goes, "I've never regretted a run."

Knowing that heavy rains would be sweeping over Long Island by morning, I planned for a treadmill workout and actually looked forward to a change from the road. As I've written, the treadmill provides two advantages over street running (along with numerous disadvantages): instant availability and the option to introduce variables at the touch of a button.

I like that the time I take between waking and running on the treadmill is almost half of what it takes to gear up and get outside to run. I can sometimes save as much as ten minutes, which becomes ten more minutes to relax after my workout is completed. The treadmill allows me to custom design my workout by varying incline, and speed. The speed flexibility is key. If I want to run slowly outdoors, I need to either shorten my route or risk getting behind schedule. On the treadmill, I can jump off when I get behind and already be home.

I still prefer the trails and the road to the treadmill, but I liked my workout this morning. I followed my usual practice of starting easy and working my way up to race pace using my heart rate as a guide. The best part was when I finished. One minute after after hitting the stop button I was downing my coffee and preparing for another long day.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I've already forgotten this morning's treadmill experience

I had a decent run on the treadmill this morning, 2.6 miles at a moderate pace. After the hard trail run on Sunday I planned to take it easy today. I did the first half of my run at around 9:50 and the second half at 9:10. There was nothing particularly interesting about this workout and I realized when I finished that, besides checking my Garmin a couple of times for pace info, I had almost zero recollection of the experience. I came off the machine hot, sweaty and energized but I couldn't think of anything notable about the run.

Although it's an important aspect of my workout routine, the treadmill only provides me with a one dimensional experience. Compared to road running or trail running (that are multidimensional in terms of visual and sensory experience) the treadmill provides little in the way of intellectual stimulation. True, you can make up for that gap by putting a television in front of the machine or by listening to music, podcasts or audio books, but those things aren't really about the running experience. I'm not against treadmills by any means. I just got the good news that our new unit is in transit to the delivery company and I'm eagerly anticipating its arrival. Our new treadmill has built in programs and lots of metrics to help distract from the tedium of running in place.

While looking at speed, incline, time, distance traveled, calories, pulse and pace falls way short of looking at trees, birds and other interesting things along the trail, at least these displayed metrics have something to do with running. No matter what (like anything new and technical) the new treadmill will provide me a new dimension, at least for a while.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Slowing down time the hard way

Time is elastic, at least when it comes to human perception. When engaged in an absorbing task, time seems to pass at an astonishingly fast rate. When we are anticipating something good, time seems to slow. A perfect example of this was this morning's workout on the treadmill. In this case anticipating something good was defined as doing anything but running on the treadmill.

I decided to be positive and look at the treadmill as a solution rather than a problem. The real problem was the icy streets with no sidewalks for escaping cars. I knew that if I wanted to run this morning I would have to do it indoors. Knowing it would be hot, I dressed in shorts with my new ATAYNE short sleeve running shirt. I began to nudge the slide control on the treadmill towards what I remembered to be a fairly fast pace. The control panel display no longer works (hey, the machine is older than my 6th grader) so I need to rely on perceived effort to gauge my speed. The first five minutes seemed to go fine and the second  five were less fine. As I stared at the numbers on the digital clock I was amazed by the time it took for a single minute to pass. At the 15 minute mark I just told myself that I can endure anything for 5 minutes and I finally finished up after 20 minutes covering about 2.4 miles.

I'm at a point where I can probably run ten miles under ideal conditions. I would not be doing that at 8:39 per mile as I ran today but I'd enjoy it a lot more. Whether I love or hate the treadmill, it looks as though it will be my primary work week running option. You never know, some day those passing minutes could feel like actual minutes rather than hours.

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