Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I am avoiding the winter temperatures and darkness by running on the treadmill. I don't like it at all, but will continue to use it until it gets warmer outside. It's a battle between two things I dislike and picking the one that's less awful and safer. Treadmills inside are much safer than running in the dark. It's also less hassle because I don't need a ton of winter clothing to protect myself. I can run in shorts and a singlet.

Most articles on running will tell you to put the incline at 1% grade to simulate running on flat terrain. Because the motor will carry you part of every step, you need the slight incline to overcome that assist. I have a run scheduled in February that will involve hills, something hard to find in Chicago, so I'm setting the treadmill on an incline of 2%. This is such a small number, but it was surprisingly tough. My first attempt at incline put it up to 15%, but that almost killed me. That made me do a bit of reasearch to understand what that number actually means. Each percentage point is 52.8 feet rise over 5,280 feet (mile) run. The Tour de France doesn't appear to have anything higher than 8%.

I ran a full 5K yesterday and it took me 34:30. I'm not sure if that's because of the grade, or because of it being a treadmill. Whenever I took the speed over 10 minute miles, I ended up too close to the front and hit it. I think that was because I was afraid of falling off the back. I know that fear kept me from getting as full of a stride as I would like. I was afraid that if I tried for a higher back kick, I wouldn't get my leg back in time and I would go shooting into the wall. I think I'd feel better if the treadmill were longer.

I think that more time spent on the treadmill will make me more comfortable, which should help me bring that time down to something closer to 30:00, if not lower. My goal for an outdoor 5K time at the end of April is 25:00. I know that running on an inclined treadmill is hard to translate to flat outdoor running, but any improvement in my time will be a good thing. I know I will get in a few outdoor runs during winter, but since the bulk will be on the treadmill, I will use that to gauge improvement.

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