Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Treadmill Running

It's Pancake Tuesday! I love Pancake Tuesday!

It was during storm Desmond in December that I decided to purchase a treadmill. I had been running through some fairly wild weather on more than one occasion but having gotten old and soft cautious decided that this could be dangerous and an indoor option would be a good idea. With storm Imogen hitting the Southwest of Ireland this weekend, that felt like a good decision. It spared me a few painful hail stones on Sunday and I'm pretty sure Monday's run would have had to be binned entirely, the orange warning that had been in place sounding understated for once.

Sunday's planned workout had been cancelled and replaced with an easy run, though that had nothing to do with the weather and all with an email I had gotten from my Guardian Angel former coach who still stages an intervention whenever he thinks I'm doing something particularly stupid. In this case, I would have violated one of his golden rules, namely only to do a workout if you are sure to be able to recover from it, and, as stated in my previous post, that was not the case this time. I followed his advice and did 10 mundane miles on the treadmill instead.

I got asked a while ago how I'm going to compensate effort on the treadmill. The standard advice is to turn the incline to 1%, which allegedly makes the effort closer to road running. From what I can tell, on my treadmill at home that doesn't apply. If anything, 8-minute miles on my treadmill feel tougher than 8-minute miles on the road, and that is entirely consistent (for the record, 6-minute miles feel easier on the treadmill but that's not my training pace). I don't use the treadmill for workouts, just easy runs and recovery runs, and the actual numbers and how they compare to the road don't particularly interest me - I just run at the effort that feels easy and don't pay much attention to the actual pace.

One thing I noticed is that my HR on the treadmill is always high, which I attribute to a lack of cooling that builds up after a while. It certainly does not reflect the subjective effort. If I run at HR 150 on the road I'm working hard. The same HR can be reached on the treadmill without much trouble - though the sweat will be pouring off me.

One other thing that baffles me is that the timer on the treadmill and my watch never agree. For example, on Monday the treadmill said 63:41 after 8 miles, but the timer on my watch said 64:22, and that kind of thing happens every single time. I know treadmills can be out when it comes to distance but I would have thought an accurate time should be a given. Anyway, I always go with the watch.

Despite the high HR, the legs felt very good on both occasions, better so than on any road runs during the past week when the hamstrings and the glutes had always felt rather achy ever since my break.

I felt a bit weird on Tuesday morning. Not tired, just a bit - odd. It may have been because of the yoga session on Monday evening after which my shoulders and hamstrings had been rather achy. Obviously I'm not using my shoulders much when running but the hamstrings made up for it. If that accounts for the high HR, this time on the road rather than the treadmill, I'm not sure.

But you know - who cares! It's Pancake Tuesday! I love Pancake Tuesday! It's my favourite holiday of the year!

I can't think of anything to give up for lent. In past years I usually gave up sweets and chocolate, which then would go on and drop my weight by about 5 pounds over the next few weeks. As I'm already as low as 142 lb / 64.5 kg / 10 st 2 lb right now, I don't think I'd want to drop any more weight so I'll give that one a miss. Any suggestions?

7 Feb
10 miles, 1:18:15, 7:50 pace, HR 152, treadmill
8 Feb
8 miles, 1:04:22, 8:03 pace, HR 148, treadmill
9 Feb
6 miles, 46:44, 7:47 pace, HR 152


  1. You could give up the treadmill!;) Just joking, it does have its place. I almost wished today to have one, because of the depressing winter conditions. It is very interesting about the HR observation, this is the first time I've ever heard of it. Great post as always, happy running!

  2. Giving up wheat would be an interesting challenge, alas it'd have lots of knock on effect to family meals etc.

    On a different note, from your description perhaps your treadmill has a place in your heat adaptation training :-)