Friday, February 8, 2013

Back to the Treadmill

I've had it easy. Up until the last few weeks, winter both this year and in '11-'12 were extremely mild, so I could run outside with little to no problems. However, recently a bout of relentless illness and very cold temperatures (not to mention Hurricane Nemo dropping up to 3 feet of snow on me as I type this) have made running outside difficult at best. So, somewhat crestfallen, I trudge downstairs to my treadmill, a sad model that I picked up for free on the side of the road a few years back. It's stuck in a corner of the basement, has no working display, can no longer consistently incline (a nice way of saying the incline would collapse at any time) and i've duck-taped the  non-functional cross-country ski arms to the base because they were falling down anytime I picked up the speed. Pretty rough, eh?

The funny thing is that i've actually enjoyed my last few treadmill runs. First of all, the soft surface of the treadmill is easier on the legs than pounding the pavement. Secondly, I've been allowing myself a relatively leisurely pace due to my throat infection. (I'm not sure why running actually feels good to my strep throat. I suspect it might be the endorphins masking the discomfort.) Lastly, I've set up another relic rescued from the side of the road - an old TV with a built in VHS in which I play some old X-Files videos I amazingly still have lying around. So I set everything up, pick a good cruising speed (usually between what I think is between 9 and 9:30 per mile), and just zone out to the TV. The time flies by and I get in my workout without hardly even noticing.

The amazing thing is that i'm actually seeing benefits to it: i'm running on a completely flat surface, which is a nice change of pace from the hills around where i live, and the completely consistent footing means that I can focus on keeping a steady form. In short, it's been a win/win situation: I get my run in, feel better, and I don't need to leave the house in nasty winter weather. Although don't get me wrong: as soon as the roads and my throat clear up, i'll be back outside.

What do you do to make your treadmill running more enjoyable?

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