I had a seven mile training run to do this Sunday, and baby, it was COLD outside. I can handle cold to a point, but it was in the mid-20s, I have never gone running in temperatures quite THAT low, and there was a very real threat of ice on the trails I’d be running. The ice was really my biggest concern. See, I’m a bit of a klutz. Klutzy tendencies aren’t helped any by the exhaustion that sets in on a long run, either. So, I opted for the treadmill.
I recently joined a local rec center facility and am loving it. The treadmills there the nicest ones I’ve ever used. Still, it is a gym environment, and gym etiquette insists that you not use equipment for longer than 30 minutes if there are people waiting. (No complaints about that, by the way – that seems fair to me.) There’s no way in bloody blue hell I can run seven miles in 30 minutes… that’d be about a 4 min 20 sec mile. I don’t know if treadmills even go that fast. Doesn’t really matter because if they ever DID go that fast, I’d just be flung off the thing.
Anyhow, the point is that I had to be careful not to hog the treadmill. There’s about a dozen of them at the fitness center, and it wasn’t as busy as it could have been, so I got lucky and didn’t have to give up my treadmill partway through my run.
This was, without a doubt, the longest run I’ve ever done on a treadmill. It was kinda weird, actually, in a nice way. I’m still not a terribly experienced runner. I have trouble pacing myself sometimes. Pacing is not an issue on a treadmill… you set it and forget it. So, I set the thing for 5.0 mph and got down to it.
I am very pleased to report that 5.0 mph isn’t a problem for a seven mile distance. That’s good – my average mile for the half marathon I did was 12 min 12 sec, so if I had trouble keeping a 12 min mile pace up for seven miles, I was going to have it tough. It’s still going to be tough, but it’s definitely encouraging to finish seven miles without too much trouble.
There are definite advantages to doing my distance running on a treadmill. If my knee really starts acting up, I don’t have miles to limp home. If I need more water, I’m not up shit creek because the water fountain is right over there. The people watching can be pretty interesting. The TVs are on, but I don’t even have a portable radio to use to listen to them, so I have to either ignore the shiny colorful shapes or hope it’s something I’ve seen often enough that I know what’s going on (I usually opt to try to ignore the TV).
Still, I’d prefer doing my long runs outside. The half marathon isn’t going to be on a treadmill after all…