Monday, November 19, 2007

Me vs. The Treadmill

I have a real problem with running on a treadmill. Yeah, of course it is boring, but I can get past that with the help of my Ipod. No, I have a problem trying to run easy on it. Some workouts during the week are supposed to be easy ones, where my average heart rate stays under 150 beats per minute, usually in the low 140s. However, when I get on the treadmill something begins to happen most of the time--I get competitive. The machine lets me know how fast I am going, how far I have run, and what time I will complete a mile at my current pace. It also tells me my current heart rate and approximate calories burned, but I am used to have that on my Polar wrist watch.

Today is a prime example of how my goals start to unravel. First, I started at a 6 mph pace. I probably should have started slower, but I had done some stretching and felt pretty good. Currently that pace is one that I feel I could run for a very long time, but the fact is I have never run that pace for a long time on a treadmill. Instead I get an itch to go faster just to mix it up and then I will eventually return to the 6mph pace. Today that pace lasted for about 5 minutes before I stepped up to 6.5 and then soon 7.0mph. I ran 3 miles in 26:45 even with the slower 6.0 start for the first few minutes. Then it turned in to a goal of seeing if I could run 6.5 miles during my hour on the treadmill. Then 6.7 and higher until I figured I could come close to running 7 miles during my 60 minutes. I hit 6.9 during that time. I ran 7 miles in 60 minutes and 55 seconds. Including my cool down I ran 7.5 miles in all.

But seriously it was sort of stupid. I mean, I am happy I could run that fast, but I am supposed to be building my base fitness. Running so that at times near the end of the hour my heart rate reached 186 was not helping that goal. I am better at running in the proper zone if I am kept in the dark about my pace, which is how it is when I am running outdoors. I need to exert some will power on the treadmill. Part of it is that it is a game, I am trying to see what I can do, if I am getting faster. I need to do this less often, running at race pace.

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