Treadmill Running: Fear Factor Sytle

We’ll call it crossing past the comfort zone on the treadmill and into the fear zone. This is my face when the intervals on the treadmill are just TOO SHORT and FAST for my liking!!!
fear of flying off the treadmill
Hang on, Dear Runners. When doing speedwork on the treadmill, there’s always the extra incentive to keep up or risk turning into a treadmill causality.

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Tips and training for all things treadmill running HERE!!
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1) What mph or lenght of intervals on the treadmill is your comfort zone to fear zone barrier??
2) Have you ever been hurled off the back of the treadmill?
I decline answering.
3)What’s going on for you this weekend??

The Running Nightmare Zone: True stories to give you chills

Some things are so scary they can only be real…true tales of running nightmares!!

This story comes by way of a runner in Minnesota. You know, one of those states that actually gets REAL winter weather. No, the scary part isn’t the snow, wind, or temperature reading. That’s just freaking wrong.

With all the advancements we’ve made in the world, running and otherwise, one would think we’d have solved this whole ‘power outage’ issue. I mean, c’mon, we’ve landed on Mars. But I digress.

Minnesota. Dead of winter. Night. Running outside is clearly not an option, unless you want to wind up with frost bite on your nose and unconscious from slipping on black ice. Treadmill it is.

WHAT?!?!? Power issues, FIVE BLOWN FUSES?!?! What is a runner to do? Enter the Running Nightmare Zone. This quick-thinking runner, in what can only be described as a true Running MacGyver moment, rigged up the treadmill off of a remaining circuit and…
treadmill running in the dark
…got the treadmill working. No lights, no problem, that’s what a flashlight is for.

The runner was quoted, “You can take a lot of things away from me, but my sanity won’t be one of them.” AMEN!!!

Scary.As.All.He##. Stay safe, stay sane, stay running, My Friends!!

**Names have been omitted to protect the traumatized ;)

1) What’s one of the craziest situations you’ve been in to get your run on?
I’m actually embarrassed to say…it’s crazy.
2) What’s a true running nightmare tale you’ve lived through?
3) What’s the last scary thing to happen to you on a run?
Just this shady looking dude I passed, it was dark, I definitely ran wide and picked up the pace.

Running Shorts in Winter

So you remember how just a few days ago I was saying how running during winter can really suck?? Weeeeeell…that’s not always the case…
running shorts in california
I honestly DO feel bad for all you running out there in states that actually DO have winter weather. Snow? Sleet? Hail? Crazy-@$$ wind?? It’s not fun stuff…but it does certainly make you tougher. I mean within reason, no use running outside just FOR the torture, sometimes running on a treadmill is the smarter choice. If it allows you to avoid a potential injury and if you’re needing to run faster than outdoor conditions may allow. So treadmills ARE training tools that have their place.

That said…I’m not going to lie. I’ve run in snow, I’ve run in sleet, hail, and into crazy winds that blew me to the side. But *please karma don’t come back and bite me on this for writing the next line* not this year. So I’m going to REALLY enjoy wearing my running shorts.

The other *perk* of being a runner?? #stronglegs #awesomelegs
awesome runner legs
1) Treadmill running? How often have you been hitting the treadmill the winter?
2) What are some of your favorite treadmill workouts?
Longer repeats or tempo runs on the treadmill…doing 400′s or 200′s sorta freak me out because when the belt gets going I’m afraid I’ll get spit right off! ;)
3) I wear running shorts in public….
anywhere I can.

Winter Running Weather Warning: Duh, it’s cold out, so duh, put some clothes on

This runner is a full-on weather wimp. There, I said it, all of you Minnesotans, New Yorkers, and residents of states with ‘real’ seasons can feel superior to me. BUT, let me at least say in my defense that I’m also OCD enough of a runner that barring getting sucked up into a twister would stop me from getting a run in…at least some kind of run. Cut to me running in place in some kind of bomb shelter. ;)
running in twister
But back on topic, I don’t envy those who get their white Christmases because while snow is pretty to look at it brings those bone-chilling temperatures. In the Northwest it gets cold enough for me, and that wet cold with a windchill is plenty enough for me. Here comes winter so time for the annual Runner’s Weather Advisory spiel!

* Bundle, Baby: This sounds ‘obvious’ but I’ve come to learn it’s better to err on the side of over-dressed and winding up a bit overly-warm than the opposite. Running with cold muscles is just begging for an injury, this isn’t a joke people. ESPECIALLY if you’re warming up for a race or workout; don the sweats, gloves, hats, you name it for your warm-up. Once you’re sweating bullets then you can peel off the layers. You’ll be safer and your workout will be more EFFECTIVE if you’re warmer. True fact.

* Slip and Slider: There are TONS of leaves where I live and when it rains it’s slick as heck on the roads. Be careful and this is when staring at your feet is okay; maneuver around navigate and as best you can. Fun fact: the most slippery time of year is after the very first rain after a dry-spell.

* Treadmills Aren’t Shameful: Running purists look down on them, but I’ve also learned that treadmills have a time and place. I’ve written a few pieces on treadmill running, the most recent is HERE for Active.com. Especially in ‘real’ weather states treadmills can be your answer to not only getting in a run, but getting in a more EFFECTIVE run. If it’s too slick to run outside at a fast enough pace, on a treadmill you’ll get a more quality workout and be able to run much faster.
treadmill runner
* Warm-ups and Cool-downs: I’ve said time and time again that for races and workouts you need a warm-up and cool-down. This is even more important the colder it gets; we already know that your body responds better and you will feel much better for your workout if you do some easy running, drills, and strides before getting down to those faster paces. In times when it is especially cold you may need to extend the time you do that easy running to ensure your muscles are indeed warm-enough. Again, I get back to this little rule of thumb: by the time your warm-up is complete you should be a little stifled and wanting to rip off those sweats Hulk style.

* Still Ice: Say what?!?! Yea, it’s cold as flip but get somewhere warm and you should still be icing any ‘trouble’ spots. Ice baths are still ‘in season’ despite being especially not appealing. Don’t slack on the runner rehab because of the weather; that’s what the indoors is for…oh, and super hot showers. ;)

* Hydration: You STILL sweat when it’s frigid outside, you won’t see most of it because it evaporates quicker due to the air. You still need to drink your water and electrolyte replacement drinks.

I’m a runner, and I’d say I’m a ‘normal person’ weather wimp. That is I could suck it up for a run, but in ‘normal’ life when it gets nasty outside I’ll start complaining that it’s cold and it could be about 50 degrees. I also have a really bad temperature gauge, I’ll feel cold it could be 50 or -50. Hey, I did handle that cryo-chamber! Oh, and another thing I don’t like is the nice snot train that the cold weather brings…now THAT is a hot runnerchick look, right?! ;)

Stay safe runner peeps, don’t face plant on leaves, and stay warm!

1) What is the weather like in your area? (southern hemisphere buds, you can complain that it’s too hot down there! lol)

2) What’s the worst you’ve run outside in?
For winter it’s been cold and rainy, nothing incredibly insane or hard-core. But there is a run that I’ll always remember that my mom and I ran in that was INSANELY windy. It was a Christmas and we both were blown darn near into the road a few times, good thing the roads were pretty vacant. :P

3) What’s your stance on treadmill running?

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It’s a Treadmill War: There will be losers and potentially collateral damage

The line of treadmills at the gym is like a runner’s minefield. Sometimes you enter, innocently minding your own business, start up the belt happily going about your scheduled run and BAM!!! TREADMILL WAR!!
treadmill war
You unassumingly are turned into the opposing party when Jon or Janette Ego Doe on the next treadmill over have decided to make it their mission to beat you.

Signs that you’ve been turned into General Fartlek:
* Tell tale beeps from the next treadmill over
* Increased huffing and puffing resonating from next treadmill
* Peeking Tom/Tammy looking over your shoulder (why do these people think they can try and casually disguise their obvious leering?)

Sometimes it’s fun to mess with them, we’re all human. Go on the offensive with these power moves:
* Pace zagger:
We don’t zig because we only go one way, and that is UP
* Nose breather: Admit it, you know you start making your breathing even quieter on purpose
* Smile: Kill them with kindness and flash them an ‘I know what you’re doing’ smile

And the Reward:
* Winning, right?

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Speaking of wars…the September Miles Madness Competition is headed into its final countdown! This Week 4 will include all the days that take us to the end of September, so make your final totals and update the Google doc…we want to WIN!! :)
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Blatant Pimping My New Shirts: Check my awesome store, peeps! ;)

1) Do you have a funny treadmill war story?
Actually I DO but the best one doesn’t involve me; so let’s just say the above cartoon is based off of real life events.

2) Have you ever instigaetd a treadmill war? Fess up!

3) What’s your Saturday run on plan??

“The First Run is the Sweetest”…or Something Like That, Cat

Six weeks and the legs went to the dogs! :) I know I haven’t talked about it too much on here (I’ve been playing by the ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’ rules a bit.) but I injured my foot awhile back and was thus held captive to the cross-training.
chained animals
Still working to find out exactly what was/is wrong with my foot but it stems from head-diving into all outdoor running when I’d been doing solely treadmill running for over a year. My case is a little odd, the reason I was a gerbil on the ‘mill for so long was because I was a little iffy running on the roads after getting hit by the car.

I pretty much chop-shopped my own little rehab program to even get back to being able to walk and then run (the doctors hadn’t seen/worked on a case like mine before) but I knew where I was and I knew where I wanted to end up…so just head in that direction! Anyways, I went to the treadmill on my road back to running but after so long a runnerchick needs to get some fresh air!

girl hit by car

Opps a-daisies! (Art: Cait Chock)


I got a little overzealous, I admit, pressed my luck a bit and my foot had something to say about it. Lesson learned, and learn from my mistakes…do as I say, not as I do, right? Running on the treadmill is a lot more ‘forgiving’ than running on pavement so if you’re making a transition you need to do it gradually.

Anyways, six weeks of burning a hole in the elliptical and let me tell you: BAM that first run back (on the treadmill) was a bit of a sucker-punch to the face. That old saying of ‘use it or lose it’ applies to running, my friends. It’s just funny because it takes awhile for the mind to catch up; mentally you’re used to a certain pace feeling ‘easy’ or at one level of effort but then you need to check yourself when you’re coming back from a running break…even if you’ve been diligent with the cross-training, there is still going to be some work getting back into the swing of things with running.

But don’t get depressed, because the GOOD news is: muscle memory. While your legs will feel like foreign objects at first and be sore, they snap back relatively quickly and you’ll be surprised with the progress. (I am reminding myself of this very thing, we’ve all been through it before) It’s just a matter of mustering up, getting through the transition, and remaining positive…your legs will eventually be returned to you.

happy girl

Yes it sucks, you don't have to do a dance, BUT slap a smile on a fake it 'til you make! (you don't even have to smile but remind yourself you'll get through it...mmk!) Art: Cait Chock


Even in the short time I’ve been getting some easy runs under my belt I’ve seen improvement…this morning I did a short/easy fartlek on the treadmill (I’m going to heed my own advice and start back on the treadmill for now) and while I was hardly on world record pace I was able to get the old legs moving and the endorphins rolling…and even better news I didn’t fly off the back end of the treadmill. :)

In closing, I’m hardly out of the woods yet, I’m still supplementing with cross-training but my message is simple: injuries bite the big one, but they are a necessary evil as I’ve said a million times. My biggest advice though is to allow some venting (keep it minimal and give yourself a time limit of wallowing), but stay positive and keep plugging away…and then do your cross-training. I tell you, if I had done nothing for six weeks the legs would have been ravaged by the dogs and not just bitten. ;)

1) Why is it that the first few miles back running after an injury are both euphoric but excruciating?
Happiness is from the mental relief, the pain are your legs revolting…that’s why I was grimacing like that, it was a smile on the inside. :)

2) Your go-to cross-training and how do you keep it interesting/effective?
Elliptical and intervals.

3) When on the final few intervals of a workout, what is your mental trick to keep on plowing through to the end?
Tell myself I’ve only got one more, break down the interval in my mind and think ‘only 30 seconds more’, and pick a point ahead of me and zone in on nothing else.

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Let’s All Have Cake and Bring Your iPod Too

Today it’s all about Cake. To be more precise, it’s about music, sorry chocolate cake you also deserve a few special days to call your own but today’s not it.

My all time favorite running song is Cake’s ‘The Distance.’ Cut to me looking like a total idiot belting out…”[S]he’s going the distance…[s]he’s going for speeeeeeed…” I almost can’t help myself every time I hear it. It’s got a power over me.

man singing in the gym

Though I do contain myself if others are around...I do have some shame.

I actually don’t listen to music while I’m outside running, I never have, and I don’t plan on starting. But that’s mostly because I’d rather be able to hear what’s going on around me and lingering accident-issues there.

BUT, if I’m on any kind of stationary machine I’ve got to have a distraction. TV or music help the time pass. So now, can listening to loud, uptempo music make those sweat sessions more productive (along with a lot less boring)? Though, if I can say so myself, I’m going to go with a resounding, duh?!

I’m sure anyone who’s compared doing: a gym cardio session with nothing vs. a gym cardio session when the gym is playing the best of Michael Bolton vs. a loud, invigorating, pump-up song can tell you all you need to know.

But because we like to back stuff up, let’s get all sciency, and put on our lab coats. I was a little surprised that it seems there are mixed results/opinions out there. I found a really great article that sums it all up by Dr. Len Kravitz, PhD. But I’ll paraphrase:

  • There is probably a gap between lab studies and then actual application. Further, the people they are testing on present a lot of variables: how in shape are they, how ‘hard’ to they perceive hard, etc.
  • Out of the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, in 1991 Copeland, B.L., & Franks, B.D. found conclusive that people on a treadmill were able to go longer with faster, loud music than the slower easy listening variety.
  • Again from the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, in 1990 a study published showed that a pulsing beat upped cardio performance; they cited the reasons might be simply because of mental perspective. Obliviously if you’re able to listen up and let the music ‘make you sweat til you bleed’ you might be moved to up the ante.
  • Finally, further studies indicate that listening to louder, fast music while lifting weights can actually allow you to lift more and improve strength.

So, if you’re still with me: if you’re stuck inside bring along some fast music. I will also say, having a stocked iPod works wonders in terms of motivation to get to the gym in the first place, if you’re having a ‘meh’ day.

1)   I now throw it to you, what’s your favorite pump-up song?

2)   Do  you listen to music when you run outside?

3)   Did you race at all this weekend?
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What NOT to do When Running — All or Nothing is Not Smart

At least I didn’t step in it! Yes, this girl with no coordination was at least able to dodge the steamy pile of horse doodoo on the bike trail today. My friend, no so lucky in the poop department and he wound up with a splatter of birdie variety. Heads up.

pile of poop
On that lovely opening, I had a run around the lake today and while it really only has some rolling hills it felt like mountains. I honestly have to do some serious hill work. But for this girl, of the past seven days, six of them were not on the treadmill. (Yesterday I did a little quasi-tempo effort on the treadmill. I call it quasi- because while it felt hard the pace is a nice slap of reality too…lol.) So, total miles outside works out to be: 66.

Would I recommend ANYONE do that? No. Listen to what I say, not what I do. Also, one of the main reasons I had to run outside was that my treadmill was being moved so I couldn’t get on it. Like I said, there are differences between inside vs. outside running and if you are only used to doing one, jumping full bore into the other is just plain not smart. What I would tell people is that you should gradually switch from one or the other; or if you are a science person, titrate the ratio.

If you don’t? A sore tushie, hams, and calf muscles. Actually, now it’s that I’ve got twin psoas tightnesses going on. [These are really deep muscles on either side of your stomach/abs.] The funny thing is I feel them the most going downhill, so just further proof I need hill work. :) Actually, I’m lucky it’s just sorenesses; like I said: DON’T go all or nothing, and that really applies to anything.

For example, if you are just starting to build your mileage, don’t go from 15 miles per week to 30. Stupid move. If you’ve never done a 400 repeat in eons, don’t go to the track and bust out 20 your first time out. Not smart. If you’ve only been running on flats, don’t go to a super hilly trail and only run there until you think you’ve mastered hills. Ouch and not a good idea.

runner in forest
Why? You’ll wind up injured, overly sore and not want to run at all, or mentally set yourself up for failure. Instead: the rule of thumb is to only up your total weekly mileage by 10% each week. If you’re just starting to integrate faster workouts into your routine, start out with doing some faster strides at the end of some of your runs or in the middle as pick ups. From there it might be smart to move to fartleks and tempos before gutting out tough track workouts.

Finally, with hills it’s not just that you’ll be sore if you haven’t done them but your entire body will be a little thrown out of whack; most likely your form will be altered because you aren’t used to doing them and that can lead to pulling or tweaking something. Also, running downhill puts an exponential amount more stress on all your bones/tendons/ligaments/muscles than just regular running and they will make you sore too.

Summing up here? It’s all about easing into new stressors…or, for science folk, titrating. :)

1) What did you do today? Did anyone race?
No race, just 11 and change on the trail…sans horse doodoo. Then I had a lot of fun cheering my sister on at her soccer game! It was a tie, but at least they still have their no losing streak alive.

2) Do you find yourself breaking rules, or doing things you would never suggest anyone else do?

3) Anything exciting coming up for you?

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Two Days in a Row…My Bum is Feeling It

They say that putting the treadmill at 1.5% grade makes it equivalent to running outside. I don’t care who ‘they’ are but I’m telling you that running outside is harder, one and a half, schmone and a half. ;)

running away

Road vs. Tread

Okay, no, I know that there are differences between ‘real’ running outside and running inside. On a treadmill your strike, footfalls, and gait are able to stay exactly the same. Even on a flat road, you will make some turns, there are variances in the road, you move to avoid a branch or rock, slight elevation, slight grade down…normal stuff. All of these things add up.

The other big difference is that on the tready you actually don’t use your hamstrings at all. The way the belt moves, it works only your quads; the movement of the belt actually drags your leg back and thus takes your hammies out of the equation. So going outside it’s a little bit of a shock to the backside of your legs!

So in an effort to return to being a ‘normal runner’ I’ve taken it to the streets. Well, not the real streets, but outside on the bike trail. I feel safer there, still working against a little residual ‘I’m a weenie and cars kinda freak me out’ fears, but a bike trail I can manage. Now that I’m living closer to an awesome bike trail I’ve been going there.

It’s also a slap of reality, I’m also able to go faster on the tready than outside…most of that I think is just ‘me’ though because I’ve never been a real power runner, so the difference in paces I think is more overt just because I have strength that needs to build up.

runner

This guy kicked my tush today. :)

Today was a good one, hillier than I’ve been doing…I say this and laugh because I ran with a good friend of mine (actually, it’s so funny because he’s about 7 years younger than me and I remember when he FIRST started running, him going out to his first races and now here I am running with him…PS-he kicked my butt and was way too nice to admit I was definitely the dead weight holding him back…haha!) and when I said, “So now we’re done with the rolling hills, this is flat from here on out, right?” his reply was, “Oh, yea, I forgot about the hills…haha…ya, I guess those were them, I was distracted talking!” I guess the only thing I can feel better about is that at least I was able to hold a conversation the whole way through. ;)

Ahh, but I loved it. The other great thing about the bike trail on the weekends too, you see tons of runners getting their miles on. Oh, and bikes…but runners are better. ;)

So kicked Sunday off to a good start; backtracking a bit, I also had a great Friday when I went out to On the Border with my fam and my little sis’s boyfriend. Mexican food and good conversation always makes for an awesome night. As for the boyfriend, all I have to say is this: this was just a ‘regular’ day, no special occasion and he brought her flowers. Earlier in the week he picked her up from school with a surprise: a limo waiting to drive them to San Francisco. Ummm…where were guys like these when I was in high school?!?!

 

san francisco

Sis and the BF at San Fran

 

So, fun Sunday runs…like the title notes my hammies and bum are feeling it a tad but it’s a GOOD feeling. The feeling like I’m back among the outside runners…and YES, regardless of what David may think, those WERE rolling hills!! ;)

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Update: this runnerchick somehow made a dorkette mistake and a few paragraphs were repeated in my post!! What was I doing?! Anyways, you no longer will see double but that’s only thanks to the amazing Christina for telling me!! Thanks so much and I emplore you all to go and follower her blog because it’s totally stalkworthy! :)

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1) What were/are you up to this weekend?

2) If you’ve spent a lot of time doing treadmill vs. outside running, do you find you can go faster on the tread than outside, even if you have it at the 1.5% grade?
This is true for me even when I do hard workouts on the treadmill vs. if I do the same workout on the track. It gets me frustrated when I can go faster on a treadmill tempo and then I take it to the track and I’m slower…what’s the dealio?!

3) Have you ever been surprised with a trip in a limo?
No…but sign me up.

4) On the Border is Mexican…love me my Mexican food…what’s your favorite Mexican dish/food?
Bean burrito, Baby!

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