winter running: surviving indoor workouts

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Like I said the other day, one of my unspoken goals this year has been to run the majority of my training runs outside.  But, also like I said, sometimes ice and snow make that impossible – or at least much harder.  My access to an indoor track is just not that easy either, since the gym is 10 minutes farther away from home to where I work and doesn’t open until 5 AM, which unfortunately is too late for me to get ready, get the kids ready, and get to work on time.

Blog - Winter Running Series

So, the treadmill is sometimes I must for me.  I’m lucky that I have a fitness center literally above my office that I can use, free of charge, on a daily basis.  (They also finally fixed my favorite treadmill too after several months of it being broken.)  While I don’t necessarily love the treadmill, I can at least deal with it.  After a few years of daily treadmill runs as my only way to fit in a run, thanks to coaching, I’ve come up with a few ways to survive treadmill runs a little bit easier.

First, and probably most obvious, you just gotta switch things up!  I get bored easily and boredom is something I just don’t handle well.  I’m not one to just sit and do nothing.  Just as we speak, I am trying to write this post while also watching “Making a Murderer” on Netflix at the same time.  If I would try to run at one constant speed on the treadmill, I would lose my mind!  Plus, you really are never running at one constant speed outside, so why should you do the same on the treadmill?!

Blog - Speedy Hill Repeats

Blog - Leg Speed Intervals

These are my 2 go-to 30-minute workouts.  I usually try to do anything longer than 30 minutes outside, but if I do have to run one of my 45-minute runs on the treadmill, I might do a combination of these 2 workouts, or just continue to change up my speed every few minutes or so.

The other thing that I have found really helps distract my mind while I run is to read on the treadmill.  I just recently started doing this as I NEVER thought it was even possible to do that on a treadmill while running.  I’ve certainly read on the treadmill while walking, but reading while running just seemed impossible.  But, then I read somewhere on the interwebs about someone doing this and decided to give it a try.

I think the key to doing this is that the book or magazine needs to be below eye level.  It the book is at my eye level, my head bounces around too much and it ends up making me completely dizzy.  If I am able to put it on the treadmill below eye level, it is much easier to read.

The thing that I think is a must is reading on a Kindle or iPad.  It makes it easier to turn pages compared to a paper book.  Of course, if I’m running leg speed intervals – like I was yesterday – I have to check the time and speed frequently, so it’s a lot of looking away from the book.  But, I’m getting much better at it.

And, if I’m just not in the mood to read, I turn on Netflix on my iPad and watch an old episode of “Friends”.  You’d be amazed at how quickly 24 minutes goes by when you’re occupied with one of your favorite TV shows.

While we have a January thaw upon us this coming weekend (60 on Friday!), I know there will still be more snow ahead.  These are the only ways I can even imagine training for a half marathon through the winter and early spring.  Stay tuned:  more winter running survival tips coming throughout February!

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  • carla birnberg

    Come on to Austin and live with me 🙂 I will get you addicted to my latest Amazon Prime fave and we can treadmill run together 🙂

    • That would be AWESOME! What’s your Prime fave now? We just got a Roku so we can watch Prime now! And we will probably finish Making a Murderer by the end of the weekend, so we will need a new show…

  • Great workouts! I just realized you’re in St. Louis, and the treadmill is such a must for winter workouts there. I was born and lived there through college (I’m now a Seattle transplant) and if winter’s there are one thing, it’s icy!