But running on the treadmill is tough mentally. I have learned to not compare treadmill pace to road pace (or to jogging stroller pace for that matter). I have learned to create equivalent workouts (think RPE or rate of perceived exertion) not totally dependent on pace. This was a tough one for me because paces can be a huge focus in a training plan. Run your tempo at this pace. Run your speed intervals at this pace.
Even with all that aside, you still have an uphill battle because come on, you are running in place. Going no where no matter how fast you are going. It can become quite discouraging. So how do I get up so early and get back on?
Determination. I love to run. Running is a huge part of me. I truly feel my spirit is meant to run. And running makes me happy and more patient. And if I don't run I am only cheating myself (and perhaps exposing my family to a grumpier mommy). And I know you have heard this a thousand times but it is true....I never regret putting on my running shoes and going out for a run. And no, I don't always jump for joy at the thought of lacing up. Some days I just don't feel like it. But I do. And I am glad I did.
So how do I overcome becoming tremendously bored on the treadmill when I run for one hour, two hours, or even three hours?
I play games.
No, not Words with Friends.
Mental games. I trick myself. I distract myself. And my distractions aren't always the same because if they were, that would become boring.
A list of my tricks:
- Have a good playlist selection and change it up. My current playlists are: 1/2 Marathon, 10K, 5K, Marathon, Purchased, Running .75, Running 1, Running 1.5, Running 2, Running 2.5 plus I can select randomly play whole library. Therefore, I never really know what tune will be up next and that is good. Plus I tend to keep my race distance playlists just for races. FYI Running xxx indicates the length of the playlist in hours.
- Change it up some more. I often do intervals either with speed or subtle incline changes, either pre-determined or determined along my run. It could even be pace/incline changes with each new song. And the change doesn't have to be huge. Just something to make it less monotonous.
- I have a training plan. Yep, I do. And it says easy, tempo, or speed. I try to stick to that in a very informal, flexible way. That keeps things different.
- Sometimes I just opt to run for time not distance. Yep, takes some of the pressure off.
- I visualize. This is a big one. I can be in "competition" or "running with" the fellow runners on other treadmills. I can be running on my favorite path, at a past race, or in a future race.
- I have "do something" milestones in replacement of running to the next tree, light post, etc. You know, drink every 15 minutes. Take a gel at x-miles for those longer runs. And today, my goal was to run 7 miles with 4 miles at tempo so I could check in on my distance at 10 minute intervals during the tempo even though I knew my 4-mile tempo would take about 32 minutes. Yep, just gives me a way to break up the run into smaller pieces.
- I allow myself to skip a song if it is bugging me. For road runs, I just pull the earphones out or keep going. On the treadmill I let myself indulge.
- I tell myself to "push your limits" and "find your strong".
- I think of others, in particular my Dad. Often this leads into visualization and I can imagine him running by my side. This works for other people too. I run solo a lot and rely on this technique for treadmill runs, road runs, and races. It is great running with your supporters and yes, you can be my supporters during one or more runs.
- I think of blog posts. What I have read. What I can write. What I plan to write. Many things don't ever make it to the blog though.
- I pick up the pace. Often this works if I am feeling down and lethargic. Pick it up for bit then ease back into what I am supposed to be running. This trick tends to make it easier overall and helps get my mind out of a boring lull.
Today I am grateful for:
- No rain as I drove to the gym this morning
- Foam rollers
- Massaging pillow at my work at my desk for that nagging ache
- Your blog posts
- You taking the time to read this blog post today when there is so much more you could have been doing....really, thank you!