Treadmill Training Tips

I bought my treadmill five years ago.

Apparently, I bought my treadmill five years ago.  And I have beaten the odds!  My treadmill is not used for hanging clothes or stacking things.  I run on it at least once a week, much more in the cold months.  I use it for short runs, long runs (I’m not sure what my max is, but I’ve regularly done 10+ mile runs), speedwork, and hill work.  While treadmill runs do get old after a while, there are ways to mix it up and keep them exciting.

First off, I need to distract my brain.  I can’t just run and stare at the wall.  That does not work for me.  I cover up the screen so I can only see my pace (helpful when I’m running intervals), and then set my watch to beep so I know when to run/walk.  I’m sure I could make the treadmill do this for me, but I haven’t bothered with the settings.  Once I’m sure I’m not watching the time tick away, I put something good on the tv.  I often save “good” tv shows to watch while on the treadmill, or I rent a movie for longer runs.  Whatever it takes to keep my brain a bit distracted while I run.

I have the tv set a bit away from the treadmill.  I know some people who use an iPad set on the treadmill display, but I can’t watch something that close.  If you don’t have a tv available, consider watching something on a laptop placed on a tray table or whatever you may have laying around.  Barring that, go for music, podcasts, or audio books.  Whatever it takes.

Next, I generally try to mix it up a bit.  Even if I just have a long run, I’ll play with the pace or the incline.  Anything to change things up for my legs.  If I were running outside, my pace wouldn’t be completely steady and the ground wouldn’t be completely flat, so the variety makes things at least a little bit more realistic.

Finally, if I need to, I break it up.  If I have a 10 mile run, I might run 5, then stop and grab something to drink, stretch, then do the last 5 miles.  We’re not talking a long break, but it’s something to look forward to as I work through the distance.

Any other treadmill runners out there?

Team Fight Tri Camp

Team Fight at Tri CampThis weekend, I spent much of Saturday helping out at the Team Fight tri camp for the ladies doing the Iron Girl Columbia sprint in a few weeks.  This is the first year since I started triathlon that I won’t be doing the race, so it was awesome to get out there and help out.

It was also awesome to realize just how far I have come.  We started the day with an open water swim.  I remember coming out to this water a few years ago and really struggling and Coach Dawn telling me that it was normal – that I had to remember that I knew how to swim, that I was competent in the water, and that I would be fine.  She was right, of course.  Doesn’t mean that I won’t have a moment of panic, but now I know what to do and how to deal with it.  So when I found out there was a camp going on, I offered to help out.  These sorts of workouts have given me so much, so it’s awesome to give back.

I spent some time in the water making sure that the ladies didn’t crash into each other or go totally off course.  The group looked great – some super fast swimmers, some slower swimmers, but I have no concerns that every single one of them will finish the swim.

Then it was on to the bike.  I helped make sure that they got onto the bike course, and then rode around, making sure that everyone was okay.  Some big things that we worked on were proper passing skills (call out, go wide enough, and if you’re being passed, don’t feel like you have to move over – hold your space) and general bike handling skills.

I stayed out on the bike while the ladies did their run as well and rode with one of the slower runners.  We thought she was the last one out there, but there was another duo still out.  Whoops.  But they were together, so it was all good.  I also noticed some of the runners having some… support issues.  Ladies. Get a good sports bra!  I am obviously a champion of the Enell, but whatever you wear, make sure that you aren’t bouncing all over the place.

Because my tri bike was in the shop, I did this whole workout on my road bike, and it became abundantly clear that it is too big for me.  I didn’t realize it when it was all I knew, but now that I’ve been spending time on a bike that fits properly, I see what the fitter was saying when he told me that the bike was too big.  It’s still a source of frustration – a bike shop wanted to get the bike off the floor so they told me it fit when it’s clearly too big (it’s a Felt medium, and based on size charts, I should be on a small – my tri bike is a 47, which is tiny in comparison).  But I’m not in a position to buy a new road bike, nor do I really need one.  And since having two bikes is helpful for when you break one, I don’t see getting rid of it.  I’m just glad to have my tri bike back (picked it up Saturday after the workout).

Staying Healthy in the Heat

Hello heatwave!

It is approximately one zillion degrees outside, give or take.  I don’t know about you, but that makes workouts a challenge for me.  Biking isn’t quite as bad because you create your own wind.  But running… ugh.  So very warm.

Here’s what I’ve found works for me to stay healthy and keep moving in the heat.


Hydration is obviously key.  But I don’t just mean staying hydrated while you workout.  No, you need to make sure you’re properly hydrated at all times.  There is a lot of different “wisdom” out there about how much water you need – 64 ounces, 100 ounces, juice counts, juice doesn’t count, etc.  I tend to aim for 100 ounces in the summer, plus whatever I consume while working out.  But this isn’t a challenge for me.  I’m not forcing down water or anything.  So if you don’t drink very much water right now, don’t worry about hitting a certain goal.  Just try to add a glass of water here and there.


For me, figuring out electrolytes (specifically sodium, but really electrolytes in general) was a huge thing.  I used to get crushing headaches after a long run until I discovered that salt after a workout helped.  If it helps after a workout, it must help during too, right?  I’ve used salt pills and recently switched over to Base Salts, which I really like.  Using electrolyte beverages just wasn’t cutting it for me.  So as you’re training in the heat, experiment.  Maybe the electrolyte drinks will work for you.  Maybe you need something more.  Since I don’t eat much processed food and don’t habitually salt my food, when I have a hot workout coming up, I make a point to add some salt to my meals, just a sprinkle here or there.  It’s made a huge difference in how I feel after a workout.


Wear sunscreen.  Just do it.  I don’t care what kind you use, just make sure you apply it properly.  And if you’ve had a few burns over the years, it never hurts to see a dermatologist for a skin check.  I get one every year, just to be safe.  It’s quick and easy and the reassurance is awesome.

Time of Day

If you haven’t noticed, it’s much warmer out in the middle part of the day.  Getting in your workout early can really help you beat the heat.  But you have to be smart and safe.  I’m not going running at 3am in the dark outside.  It’s just not happening.  But there are running groups that meet early to get in their training.  Safety in numbers and all.  Just make sure you’re wearing a lot of reflective gear.  Not just light colors – they don’t illuminate like you think they will.  Reflective gear, blinky lights, the works.  The more ridiculous you think you look, the better off you are.

Listen to Your Body

This is the most important part of working out in the heat.  Listen to your body.  You will probably have to slow down a bit.  That’s okay.  If you find yourself struggling to recover after a workout or find that you’re way more exhausted than you think you should be, get some rest.  Heat is hard on your body even when you’re not exerting yourself, so be smart.  It’s better to go into a race slightly undertrained and healthy than sick or injured.


Looking forward to Augusta

A cat familyI’m not going to bother with a weekly workout recap since last week was a major taper week.  Basically, last week, I rode a little, biked a little, and swam very little, and then did a race.

I also must share this picture of a very important cat family that hung in our condo bedroom.  This is a very serious family.  But I suppose that is the way of old fashioned cat portraiture.

This week is another light week in terms of training, just a lot of easy recovery.  I’m feeling really good today – no lingering soreness, and the little bits of pink from the sun have already faded.  (Seriously, Zealios is a fabulous sunscreen.)

It’s a little scary to think that my next race is a 70.3.  I’m definitely feeling unprepared, but that’s what the next many number of weeks (I refuse to count because it will make me nervous, and yes, I realize there is a countdown in my sidebar) are for.  This weekend’s schedule is pretty easy, but next weekend starts the massive bike miles.

That said, I felt pretty good during this weekend’s race, and it makes me feel more confident in September’s 70.3.  Yes, the course is significantly different, but here’s my logic.  The swim was fast.  The swim for Augusta will also likely be fast because of the current.  Thumbs up.  For the bike, this was a flatter course, but I held a fabulous pace, faster than I thought I could, so that’s huge.  The run was a hot slog, but again, faster than I thought it would be, so that shows I can push when I need to.

My only time goal for Augusta 70.3 is to get an official finishing time – so under 8.5 hours.  8:29:59?  That counts.  Of course, I would like to be faster so I’m not totally stressing out on my run.  If I can be onto the run course with 3.5 hours left, I will be happy.  More than 3.5 hours and I will be delighted.  So really, the goal for the next few weeks is to really work on my bike skills.  Lots of hill riding, lots of long hard workouts.  I’ll get there, but it’s going to be an adventure.

Race Report – Rev3 Williamsburg Olympic


Rev 3 Williamsburg, race number two for the season was a victory.  With a pretty fabulous medal, if I do say so myself.

So this race was sort of new and sort of a repeat for me.  Last year, the race was taken over by Challenge, but this year, it was “back in blue” as they like to say, and the course was altered this year, so while the area was familiar, the course was different.

Physically, I was definitely prepared for this race, but mentally, not so much.  It had been a long two weeks of work travel and lots of extra hours in the office, so my head wasn’t quite in the game as I would have liked.  I just felt sort of mentally unprepared.

And then the week before the race, I noticed the beginnings of a gash in my tire.  Not cut all the way through, but not good.  So I needed a new tire.  You know what’s impossible to find?  650cc tires.  My local shop didn’t have them, so rather than hunt around to other local shops, I found a shop online in Michigan that could expedite some new tires to me.  I bought two, of course, because why not be prepared.

You know what sucks?  Putting on a brand new tire.  Those suckers are tight.

Thankfully, I took Friday off (and still managed to get in 95 hours for the pay period), so I drove down early and started to really think about the race.  My ultimate goal was to have fun.  The weather was going to be hot, but not as hot as last year.  So that was a plus.  Kristin had ridden the bike course and said it was flat and fast.  Thankfully, it wasn’t completely flat – I like soft rollers, so that was good.  Everything seemed to be leading up to a good race.


Last year, I did the race in just over 4 hours.  This was a new course, and I figured it would be faster.  My C goal was to be under 4 hours.  My B goal was to be around 3:50.  My A goal was anything faster than that.

Race morning was a lot of fun.  Ran into some Coeur teammates, which is always awesome.  Those ladies are fast!  Definitely motivation to keep moving.

We watched the half racers go off and realized just how fast the current was in the water.  They were struggling to stay behind the start “line” while treading water.  So that was a good sign.  Once we got in, I realized just how crazy the current was.  Definitely impressive, but since there was a turn, that also meant a bit of cross current.

The swim felt a little off because the buoys were also struggling in the current, so things weren’t exactly where they were supposed to be.  The first turn buoy broke off, so we turned near it, but not at it (thanks to the awesome volunteers).  I think the turn was still wide, because we were very far away from the line of yellow buoys that were supposed to be a straight line.  I had to pop up and figure out where I was more than once.

But it certainly was a fast swim!  I hope this is an indication of how Augusta will go.

Swim: 25:47.  Yes.  Insane.  And that includes the long “run” to the transition mat.

Transition was fine.  Felt slow, but not a big deal.  Kristin was there when I got there, so that was a nice feeling.  Always fun to see friends.

T1: 3:03

On the bike, my lack of preparation showed right when I went to mount.  Why?  Because my cleat covers were still on my shoes.  Rookie mistake.  Problem easily solved, I was off.  My goal was to hold at least a 15mph pace.  I don’t pay attention to instant pace, just “lap” pace, which is every 5 miles on my watch settings.  I was easily holding over 16 for most of the race.  The course was lovely, lots of shade, and very well marked.

One very scary moment was when we were coming up towards transition and there was a huge line of cars.  The cops were directing bikers to come around to the left side of the cars, so I did that, and as I reached the first car, I noticed two cyclists on the ground, one face down, and a pile of bikes next to them.  Nothing I could do but send good thoughts their way, and I continued on.

I learned later thanks to Facebook that one cyclist had hit a really bad patch of road, blew both tires, and lost control, and the cyclist behind him was going about 21mph and couldn’t stop in time.  Both crashed terribly and cracked helmets.  And both will be absolutely fine.  No major damage, no hospitalization.  Thank goodness for helmets.  And thank goodness for the other cyclists who stopped after seeing it happen, including some who probably gave up podium spots to help someone else.  That’s what this sport is all about.

Had a Coeur teammate come up behind me while we were riding and introduce herself.  What a fun way to meet someone in person!  Super fun.

Bike: 1:37:59 (16.65 mph, 27.2 miles – which, since I was unprepared, I didn’t realize)

T2: 3:41.  Where I neglected to take my cleat covers out of my pockets.  Genius.

On to the run.  This is always a mental game because I am a slow runner and run/walk.  So I feel like I’m getting passed CONSTANTLY.  That’s okay though, I still get to do it.

It was hot.  There were parts of the run in the shade and part in full sun.  I commented that that’s what a pizza oven must feel like.  Blech.  My first few miles were definitely faster, thanks to the shade.  The volunteers had plentiful ice, and that was a huge help.  So much ice shoved into my kit.

I couldn’t keep my cooling wings wet enough to stay cool, so I stripped them off partway through.  I hoped my Zealios sunscreen would hold out, and I didn’t burn terribly (just a little bit of color) so I consider it a win.

This was an out and back, doubled for the half athletes, so there was a lot of opportunity to see other people.  So much fun to cheer on other racers.

Finally, finally, there was the finish line.  And in a moment of pure grace, I tripped over a bump in the timing mat (I saw it and hit it anyway) and went rolling into the grass.  I stood up and took a bow, because what else do you do?  I can’t wait to see the finish line photos.   A volunteer scolded me because apparently it looked intentional.  I scolded her back and told her to fix the timing mat, and we laughed.  Nothing hurt but my pride.

Run: 1:23:02 for a 13:24 pace.  I’d like faster, but I’ll take it.

And I ended up with the best finish time ever.  3:33:33.  Not only is it an awesome number, it’s also SUPER FAST for me.  Definitely doing this race next year to see if I can drop under 3:30!

A huge thanks to all the staff and volunteers.  They really made this race incredible.