Treadmill Tips and Tricks

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With all of the snow and cold weather, I have been seeing a lot of comments from people who are stuck doing their run training on a treadmill.  And many of those people are struggling with getting in longer runs on the treadmill.  I even saw someone say that they struggle with getting in even a mile before they get bored.

I have learned to love my treadmill, so here are some tips and tricks that I have learned to get me through.

Cover the display

You know the saying that a watched pot never boils?  Well, watching the miles tick away on the treadmill display makes it feel like your workout is never going to end.  Watching the clock is never good for anyone.  So cover up the screen with a towel.  Don’t worry, you’re not going to accidentally run way too many miles.  Move the towel every so often to check where you are in the workout and you’ll realize that the time is flying by.

Play with the settings

Running intervals on a treadmill helps pass the time.  My coach currently has me doing some faster miles in the middle of my long runs.  It breaks up the workout, which helps with the monotony.  So consider adding some additional speed.  And what about the incline?  Adding some incline work can change up way you’re using your muscles.  I’m not saying you should be running at 9%, but maybe bump up a half percent or a full percent for a bit during your workout.

Distract yourself

I’m lucky.  I own my own treadmill, so I have it located where I can watch tv while I run.  One thing that I like to do is that if I have a big workout that I’m dreading, I make sure that I have something I really want to watch.  Maybe that’s a movie, maybe it’s a tv show that I have waited to watch until my workout.  I know some people take iPads to the gym with them and watch that way.  Just be sure you don’t knock your iPad onto the floor.

When I used to go to the gym, I would let myself watch total trash tv while running.  Keeping up with the Kardashians style shows.  There’s always something trashy on somewhere.

If you don’t have (or don’t want) the tv option, consider podcasts or audiobooks.  Music is great, but songs are so short that I start to think about how much time is passing.  “Well, that was two more songs, so I have to be at least another mile in.  Wait, I’m not?”  But something longer, especially listening to a story, really helps.  Podcasts are in right now, and there are a ton of great ones out there.  If there’s a subject you like, there’s probably a podcast about it.  And they’re free!  I also really like audiobooks.  I can rent them from my library, but an Audible subscription isn’t bad either, especially when you think about how long an audiobook is.  Having a book read to you can easily take 8-10 hours, so that’s a number of solid workouts covered.  Or just get the Harry Potter books in audio form.  Those last forever.

These are some really simple tips, but they’re what gets me through a long treadmill run.  I did ten miles earlier this week, and will probably have a longer run coming up soon.  Would I love to be outside?  Yes.  But it’s all going to depend on weather.  I’d rather stay safe and run inside than risk falling and injuring myself right before a race.

Now… what should I watch next?

Wednesday Workout Recap

I have to be honest, I have no idea what day it is.  I haven’t left my block since Thursday night.  But my calendar tells me it’s Wednesday so it must be time for a workout recap.

Monday – Did Sunday’s 9 mile run.  On the treadmill.  Still dealing with a lingering cough, but I’ll probably live.

Tuesday – Trainer workout.  Kicked my ass.  People who complain that the bike trainer isn’t a good workout aren’t doing it right.

Wednesday – 3 mile run.  Very sluggish.

Thursday – My triumphant return to swim!  I wore the sweet swim cap that Kim gave me for my birthday as promised.  This one was hard.  I’m wearing out for sure.

Friday – The shoveling begins.

Saturday – More shoveling and 20 miles on the trainer.

Sunday – More shoveling.  Got on the treadmill to run 10, got through less than a quarter mile, realized it wasn’t happening, decided to put it off til the next day.  I really have to get back to a normal schedule.

The Internet is Not Private

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Right now, there are a couple of runDisney related Facebook groups seemingly fighting with each other.  I’ll be honest, I find it pretty amusing.  What it ultimately comes down to is that people forget that nothing on the internet is private.  Okay, so maybe you can have your secret Facebook group where no one else can see what’s in it but the members.  But any one of those members can take the information that you post there and share it elsewhere.  And if you’re in a public group?  It’s public.  Anyone can see it.

I’ve seen people get upset when they get called out for cheating at a race, for wearing someone else’s bib during a race even though the race doesn’t allow bib transfers, for having someone carry their bib so they get a good proof of time for corral placement.

Do the crime, do the time.  And if you’re going to do the crime, maybe don’t make it so obvious in your online postings that you’ve cheated.

But I think more importantly, people need to remember that the internet is a giant public space. And it lasts forever.  Just because you delete something doesn’t mean that it’s gone.  There are these things called archives.  Companies do tape backups.  Someone may have taken a screenshot of what you posted.  You just don’t know.

Does this mean I’m telling you to not use the internet?  Clearly not.  I write a blog.  I love the internet.  But you need to consider what you’re posting.  Sometimes I wonder if this has to do with age and whether or not you grew up with social media.  I did not.  Facebook came into existence once I was out of college.  And I remember friends saying “Hey, don’t post pictures of me holding a drink online because I don’t want my boss to see that, even though I’m old enough to legally drink.”  Because we wanted to be cautious.

I try to make a point to not post anything online that I would be embarrassed by if confronted with it.  That doesn’t mean I don’t post things I’m not proud of – when a race goes wrong, I’m the first to talk about it.  But for me, it’s also a learning experience and I’m proud that I didn’t quit.  And if I accidentally do something stupid or injure myself in a ridiculous manner, I’m the first to share it on Twitter because if you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re missing out on a great part of life.

What I’m saying is “Consider your words before you share.”

The Calm After the Storm

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What a lovely day it is outside.  The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the only sound outside is the scrape of distant snowplows.

The picture above shows the side porch of my house.  When I started shoveling, the snow on the porch was at the top of the recycle bin, and it wasn’t apparent that there were stairs.  I felt like I was digging a hole to try to get down to the sidewalk.  In fact, I thought I had hit the sidewalk when I was only at the last step.

Why did I dig this hole?  I thought it would probably be good to be able to get to the trash can.  And I’m a glutton for punishment.  Today, I may attempt to dig the end of the sidewalk to the street.  I live on a corner lot, so the sidewalk in front of my house goes all the way to the street.  I did not dig out that far because it was just going to get plowed in at the intersection.  The snow there is… possibly taller than I am, though I think it has settled some since last night.  It’s not like I’ve seen anyone out attempting to use these sidewalks (most people are walking down the street), but I should be a good neighbor and give it a shot.

I’m actually pretty lucky.  My little jurisdiction has their own plows and the drivers have been hard at work.  If I wanted to, I could get my car out on the road.  I do not want to, but it’s possible.  Having talked to friends and coworkers in the area, I realize this is a rarity.  Many people have yet to see a single plow.  So it’s going to take a while to dig out.  Of course, that also tells me that if I were to get in my car, I probably wouldn’t get far anyway.

Everything’s pretty much shut down in the DC area.  Metro is only running partial service on three lines.  I know how lucky I am to be able to work from home.  Technically, the government is closed, but at my agency, if you have a telework agreement, you work on a snowday.  I’m okay with the tradeoff – I get the benefits of teleworking at other times of the year, and this way I don’t fall too far behind in my work.

So… we’ll see how long I’m at home.  No long runs happening outside anytime soon for me – unless I want to do laps up and down my block along the sidewalk.  Which I do not.

 

Liveblogging the Blizzard of 2016 – Part 2

Welcome to part two of my live blog.  If you missed part one, check it out here.

Saturday

7:45am – I wake up because a cat is pawing at my face.  I guess it’s morning.  I can hear the furnace running, so this is a good sign.  Means I still have power.  Let’s see what it looks like outside.

Looking out the window, it’s hard to say what’s going on out there.

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I mean, the firepit is gone and the large planter is almost MIA, but maybe it’s not that bad.

So I decided to take my trusty yardstick and go outside.

Shouldn't there be a step down here?

Shouldn’t there be a step down here?

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And I know these are stairs.

14 inches. Yikes.

14 inches. Yay?

So we’re officially at 14 inches at my house and it’s still coming down pretty steadily.  it’s not super windy here, though there are occasional gusts.  Fingers crossed.

8:15am – Instances of cat barf cleaned: 1.

8:30am – I could only convince the cat to check out the front porch, where there’s about 4 inches of snow.  This furry little jerk tends to howl at the front door, demanding to go outside, so of course, I had to let him out in the snow.

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10:45am – Crafts completed: 2  Tasks on to-do list completed: Less than 2.

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11:15am – Having wasted away much of the morning, it’s time to hit the bike trainer and get in a workout.  Then lunch, then tackling the snow.

12:28pm – Power went out for about 30 seconds. Ominous.

1:30pm – Still have power.  Finished 90 minutes on the bike trainer and scarfed down some lunch.  Headed out to shovel.

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2:30pm – Done with shoveling.  My whole body is exhausted.  And while I was out there, the snow picked up even more.  It is now super heavy conditions.  My shoveling may have been for naught.
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Total inches so far – about 14.5.  Not much since this morning, but as I type, it’s certainly coming down.

3:15pm – Poor cold birdie.

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4:35pm – Dammit.

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And for comparison, one last photo of my backyard for the day.

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5:15pm – Hot chocolate and vanilla vodka.  All my weight loss plans are going to hell this weekend.  Mmm…

6:30pm – I am exhausted.  And haven’t been up for 12 hours.  Blizzard life is hard.

7:30pm – Well, might as well continue the repair work on the damaged ceiling from 2+ years ago.  Time to spackle!

Sunday

7:30am – I am awoken by one cat licking my hair and one cat meowing from downstairs for breakfast.  The blizzard is officially over, and I managed to get through it with power and internet.  Hooray!  Of course, today, I must attempt to dig out.

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8:40am – The shoveling begins.

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There is a sidewalk here.

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9:40am – Look!  I found my car!

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10:20am – DONE.  I’m not sure what the official snow total is.  My yardstick hits at 18 inches, but I have since learned that this is an improper way to measure snow, since it settles under the weight.  So… more than 18 inches, I guess.

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10:40am – The internet tells me my area’s official total is 25 inches.

2:40pm – Got all the snow equipment cleaned up, had some lunch, considered starting my ten mile run.  Got .25 miles in and stopped.  Nap first. Then running.

5:00pm – Who am I kidding.  Today’s run isn’t happening.  Spent the afternoon on the couch being lazy, then went out to do another hour of shoveling and clear off a path to the trash can.  I won’t be going anywhere tomorrow.  I’ll be able to get it in then.

5:50pm – Office is officially closed tomorrow, so that means a day of telework for me.  As if this is any surprise.  Choir is also cancelled, so I have no need to leave my house.  I’m really going to struggle when I have to put on real pants again.