Knocking out those miles: When the treadmill struggle gets real

When it comes to running there are typically two types of people – those who prefer running outside and those who like the treadmill. I am NOT the latter. Some of the things I like most about running are exploring the great outdoors, creating new routes and the change of scenery. This is why treadmill runs are a real challenge for people like me. It feels like running in place (which it is) and can be boring.

Until this past week, my first month of Boston Marathon training had gone fairly well. There were a few days with heavy rain or high winds which caused me to do some shorter runs indoors (6-8 miles). Usually, one hour is my limit for treadmill running. Anything more than that drives me nuts!

This past weekend’s snow storm forced me to encounter my arch nemesis – the treadmill – for a longggg run.  I knew the snow was coming so I moved this week’s scheduled distance run from Saturday to Sunday with hopes that the roads/sidewalks would be clear enough to run outdoors, safely. When I woke up Sunday morning, temperatures were in the teens (feels like temps were below zero) and the roads remained icy. I dreaded this moment. In order to stick with the training plan, it would mean running 15 miles on the treadmill. Ugh!


deeboBefore heading to the gym, I gave myself a pep talk to mentally prepare for this run. Being on the treadmill is similar to running in an actual race, in order to finish, it’s important to stay focused and control your thoughts. I knew this weould be a roughly two hour-plus session so I came up with a plan to keep my mind busy. I decided to break the workout into sections. I would watch t.v. (Cruel Intentions) during the first 6.5 miles. Then switch to music while picking up the pace for the remaining 8.5. I also added some intervals and increased the incline throughout the workout. By doing this, I was able to complete the 15 miles on the treadmill with dying of boredom.

Here’s an example of the intervals I did. (Paces vary depending on fitness levels)

– 9:30 pace for 2 minutes then increase to a 8 minute pace for 1 minute (repeat for 10 minutes)

– Run half-mile 45 seconds slower than marathon pace then increase the pace to half-marathon speed for .25 miles ( repeat for 3 miles

– Listen to Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love” on repeat and increase the speed each time the beat picks up


One of the most valuable life lessons I’ve learned from the running community is to condition your mind to achieve goals. When the voice in your head starts saying things like “There’s nothing left in the tank” or “You just can’t run another mile on this dang treadmill” tell it to shut the hell up. You got this!

While it’s not among my favorite things about running, I hope working on my mental strength during these treadmill runs better prepares me for Heartbreak Hill or any other challenging moments during the Boston marathon.  Until next time treadmill. Brie – 1 Treadmill – 0

Here are other treadmill workout ideas:

3 Surprising Ways to Enjoy Treadmill Running

Treadmill workouts that take the monotony out of running indoors



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s