Happy Friday my friends!! I know many of you are preparing for a massive snow storm to hit you this weekend. I hope you all stay safe and warm! Last weekend an icy cold blast of winter hit Calgary, just as I had a 19 – 20 mile long run to do for February’s Phoenix Marathon.
I try to do as much of my training outside as possible, but when it is really cold outside (and made even colder by the wind) I wasn’t sure I could be outside for that long. -19C (-2.2F) is outside my comfort zone for more than three hours!
The Calgary Olympic Oval is often a great resource for long runs in the winter with its 450 m track. Unfortunately their public running hours last weekend were very limited and late in the evening. I would have to suck it up and run on the treadmill.
How to run for hours on a treadmill
- A positive attitude. I knew this was my only option, so starting out with a positive mindset helped out so much. I had one low moment around 15 miles in, but I reminded myself that I was so close and this wasn’t the time to sink into a funk. I think this was good mental strength training!
- Watch a good video on the treadmill. If you are like me, I don’t really care for watching a TV show while I’m running. The treadmill I was on had virtual courses that you can run through. I was able to pretend I was running through the beautiful Bavarian countryside in Germany. Then I was running through New Zealand and then through stunning parks in Utah and Arizona. I didn’t have to really pay attention to it, but it was nice to zone out and imagine that I was really running in some of these beautiful places instead. If your treadmill doesn’t have an option like this perhaps throw on a travel documentary that you can find on Netflix instead.
- Timing in my walk breaks. I do my long runs with 9:30 run intervals and 0:30 walk breaks. I set my Garmin 920XT to beep and vibrate to alert me to my run/walk intervals. This meant I wasn’t continuously glancing at my watch or at the time, I could just zone out. Having those small walk intervals helped to break the run up into small pieces and not focus on my overall distance or time.
- Practice nutrition and fueling. On some of my outside runs lately I’ve been felled with fluid freezing in my Camelbak drinking tube or trying to choke down cold and thick gels. It was nice to have two bottles of Skratch Labs pineapple hydration mix within arms reach. My GUs were easy to slurp down. I was grateful that running indoors made it so simple to keep on top of my hydration and nutrition needs! It was also handy to be so close to a bathroom at all times too.
- Add some fresh tunes to your playlist. Music helps to keep me motivated on indoor runs, but it doesn’t take long for me to get tired of hearing some of those songs. Before I left for the gym I downloaded some new songs, and combed through my iTunes library to add in some long forgotten songs. Some of my favorites on this long run included:
- Shawn Mendes – Stitches
- The 1975 – The Sound
- Fort Minor – Remember the Name
- David Guetta – Play Hard (feat. Ne-Yo & Akon)
- Icona Pop – Emergency
- Benny Benassi – Satisfaction
- Martin Solveig – The Night Out (Madeon Remix)
- Simply Red – Home (Motive Hi-Lectro Radio Mix)
- Timomatic – Set It Off
- MKTO – Classic
With some great tunes and the right mindset I finished up my long run feeling happy, jazzed and strong!
If you are faced with a long run on the treadmill, remind yourself that you have set a goal and that it is important to you. Having the mindset of really wanting to reach your goal will help you get through tough times on your run, regardless of whether you are faced with running for hours on a treadmill, or whether you are hitting a rough patch on your run outside. I wound up running for somewhere between 19 and 20 miles (depending on how accurate the treadmill or my foot pod are). You know what, I didn’t hate it!
What gets you through a long run? What is the longest you have run on a treadmill for?