Friday, May 13

Learning to love the dreadmill

One of the things I love most about running is the time it gives me to go outside and play. I love the scenery. The fresh air. Watching surfers bobbing in the waves, waiting for their ride. Spying on dog-walkers, and wondering who is walking whom? Getting a regular tour of the neighborhood to see what new construction is underway or which neighbor is having a yard sale.

But with my perfect-year-round 68-degree San Diego days now 2,000 miles away, and a Florida Panhandle 90-degree, 95-percent-humidity summer stretching out in front of me, I am in a bit of a bind. I either have to accept a pace so slow I might as well be walking (which sort of destroys all of the progress I've made in training over the past thee years), or I have to make peace with the piece of equipment runners love to hate: the dreaded treadmill.

So I've sucked up my running pride, cast away all "dreadmill" stereotypes, and have learned to embrace my new running friend. In the mornings Kiran Chetry has become my running buddy, filling me in on all of the day's breaking news. Instead of surfers, I get to watch dancers, in the odd instances when Vh1 stops the chatter and actually plays a music video. I won't claim that the treadmill will ever replace the freedom of outdoor running, but I am learning to enjoy it, especially for interval training.

My new favorite treadmill workout:
10 minute warmup (starting at a 10 minute mile pace and gradually increasing to 9)
6 x 90 second sprints (1 min. at btwn 7:00-7:30 pace, last 30 seconds @ 6:30-6:50 pace) with 1 minute recovery (9:30 pace)
10 minute recovery and cool-down

By keeping the speed up on my treadmill workouts, I'm hoping to avoid any "damage" being done to my overall pace on my slogging, sluggish outdoor runs in the heat.

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