How I handle long treadmill runs

10895344_332209036986865_823329567_nLast night, I ran ten miles on my treadmill.  I got a lot of comments from people about how I was crazy and how they could never do ten miles on a treadmill.

I really didn’t have another option.  If I wanted to get the workout in, I had to do it on the treadmill.  I was at the office during all of the daylight hours and I am certainly not running alone in the dark.  I know people do it, but I just wouldn’t feel safe.  Plus it’s cold out.  Cold and dark sounds absolutely miserable.

I’ve learned a couple of tricks to get me through a long treadmill workout.

1.  Cover up the screen!

I actually cover my treadmill screen on a lot of my treadmill runs.  I just toss a towel over top so I can’t see the distance slowly ticking away.  Because I run intervals, I cover the screen so that I can see the speed (so I don’t inadvertently bump up the speed too high or too low) and then hide the rest.  It makes the miles go much faster when I’m not constantly checking.  How do I know I’m done?  Well, I have a general idea of how much time I’ve got to spend on the treadmill, so I glance at the number occasionally and when I’m in the last mile, ditch the towel so I can see the last mile tick away.

2.  Distract your brain!

Some people argue that you should focus on your workout and only your workout.

That’s not going to happen for me.  So I find something else to entertain my brain while my body works.  I know some people like music or podcasts, and I do listen to podcasts while I’m outside running (because I can still hear all the ambient noise around me), but while I’m on my treadmill, I have the tv on.

The trick that I have discovered is to make sure that I have something that I really want to watch ready to go.  Since I watch most of my tv on Hulu Plus now that I cut the cord, sometimes that means “saving” good shows for a hard run.  Not only does it keep me occupied, it’s incentive to get on the treadmill if I know I can watch the latest episode of Parks & Recreation while I run.

When I have a really long run, sometimes I like to queue up a movie on Netflix.  Since movies are longer than tv shows, I don’t notice the passage of time quite as much.  And sometimes, I go back and forth.  Nope, this movie isn’t doing it for me.  Switch to a tv show.  Whatever keeps me going.

3.  Brag!

Last night, I posted before and after my workout.  That meant that when I started, I had to finish the whole workout or risk admitting to the world (because the whole world follows me on Twitter) that I hadn’t completed the workout.  So I posted before and after.  It’s added motivation.

Now, what constitutes a long treadmill run varies for everyone.  Some people love their treadmill and will happily run 20 miles on it.  Others can’t handle anything more than five.  But sometimes, the treadmill is the best option, and you have to do whatever you can to make that workout happen.

How do you get through long treadmill workouts?  What’s the longest treadmill run you’ve ever done?

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