March 15, 2016

A treadmill PR

It's been nice not having a strict running schedule, but yesterday I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do for my speed work. I ultimately decided to try to do 4 miles at race pace (I did 3.5 last week). It was super foggy outside in the morning, and we got a phone call from the kids' school saying that there was a two-hour fog delay.

Once I got them off to school, I really didn't want to run on the roads with it being so foggy out (good chance of getting hit by a car), so I decided to go to the Metropark. It's a 20-minute drive, but anything that I can do to make speed work more pleasant is worth it! When I got there, I drove to the back of the park and parked the car, and then headed out onto the bike path. Not even 40 seconds into my run, I saw that the bike path was flooded in several areas (we got a lot of rain over the weekend).

I did not want to run at race pace with wet shoes, so I just turned around, walked back to the car, and drove home. I was feeling kind of bummed, and I knew I wouldn't want to wake up in the morning and have to do speed work because I didn't get it done yesterday, so I started thinking of alternatives. Lately, I've been asking myself what I can do to give myself the confidence I need going into my goal 10K--and today, I decided to utilize the treadmill.

Since treadmill running feels easier to me than outdoor running, I figured I would give it my all and see if I couldn't run my goal 10K pace for an entire 10K distance on the treadmill! I set up some random movie on Netflix to watch while I ran, and I set the speed at 7.6 mph (a 7:53/mile pace). I've done what Garmin has said to calibrate the 620 to my foot pod, but it always shows me as going faster than the treadmill says--I don't know which is correct, so for today, I decided I'd be safe and use the treadmill pace of 7:53/mile. (It turns out that the Garmin reads that speed as 7:30/mile--kind of a big difference! But without having my treadmill calibrated, I'll never know which is correct.)

Running at 7.6 mph actually didn't feel too bad! I tried to focus on the movie, but it was terrible and I wished I'd picked something else. But, I didn't want to stop to change it, and I was running too fast to change it mid-run, so I just dealt with the boredom.

I knew without a doubt that I could do 4 miles, because I have done 3.5 outside; so I just kept focusing on getting to that point. I even bargained with myself that I could quit at the 4-mile mark if I wanted. Physically, I felt really good--I knew that if I quit at mile 4, it would only be because I couldn't handle the mental challenge. The book that I've been reading about running by feel explains how to make yourself tougher for workouts, and that we are capable of much more than we think.

Since I wasn't watching the movie anyway, I just closed my iPad and focused on a spot on the wall (super exciting, I know!). I had my phone in the cup holder on the treadmill, so I turned on some Eminem for motivation. I imagined my body as a machine, just doing the same motion over and over, legs and arms pumping. I minimized any extra movement in order to save my energy (I noticed that when I closed my iPad, my heart rate went up because I was doing more than just running; same when I turned on the music--just fiddling with my phone caused me to use up extra energy).

Once I hit mile five, I knew I was going to finish. My Garmin was reading a 7:30 pace, which meant I would hit the 10K mark on my Garmin before the treadmill got there, so it was a bummer that I'd have to keep running even after I stopped my Garmin; but I wanted to make sure I got in all 10K at a sub-7:55 pace.

My Garmin beeped to signal mile 6, and then that last 0.22 seemed to take forever! Finally, I hit the 10K mark, and I stopped my Garmin. I had to keep running until the treadmill read 6.22, though, so it took a couple extra minutes. As soon as it read 10K, I stopped the treadmill and spent the next few minutes catching my breath. I gulped down a bottle of water, and it hit me then that I did it--I actually ran a 10K PR (even though it was on the treadmill). I don't "count" my treadmill runs as PR's, so to make it official, I have to do it in a race; but still, running it on the treadmill was just what I needed to boost my confidence some more.

Check out that vein in my forehead! Yikes.
The calorie burn on my Garmin is completely depressing--389 calories for that amount of effort?! I plugged in numbers to several different calculators online, and got everything from 400-750 (the most common being around 500). The burn on the Garmin is the lowest, but I'm assuming it's accurate because it uses my heart rate, weight, time exercised, etc. My heart rate was very steady throughout the run, and didn't have any big dips or rises that could throw off the data. I don't know--I just feel like I burned way more than that! ;)

My big race is in less than four weeks now--so I have three weeks to get as fit and confident as possible, and then one week of tapering before the big day. No pressure or anything ;)


  1. My guess is there are two things contributing to your lower calorie count - the shorter duration and your lower body weight. These are both great things to be proud of! I learned that when I started cycling more - I'd go out and ride hard, but not as long and my calorie count would be much lower.

    1. Yes, I've noticed that when I do long slow runs, my calories burned per mile are more than when I run hard! It seems so unfair--but it makes sense ;)

  2. Look into VO2Max... not many people are familiar with this, but your VO2Max also plays a role in determining your personal calorie burn. If you have a high VO2Max - you actually burn more calories when you are working out at a higher intensity. My old Garmin didn't have the feature/ability to adjust V02Max but all of my Polar watches did. I found my calorie burn was way more accurate with my Polar HRM than with my Garmin - so I ended up switching back over to Polar.

    1. My VO2 Max has actually increased from 42 to 46 over the last several months. I don't pay much attention to it, but I was happy to see that!

  3. I love your determination.


    I thought you might like to try this to check the treadmill :)

  5. Wow, Katie!! I'm so impressed with how well your training is going! You're doing great!! I just love your determination. I, too, am curious about the book you're reading. I find that my brain can often derail my training and I'd love to learn how to be stronger than that. Keep up the great work!!

  6. It's called RUN: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel. It's geared toward advanced/experienced runners, though, so I wouldn't suggest it yet. Matt Fitzgerald (the author of the book I'm reading) just recently wrote another book called "How Bad Do You Want It?" and it's about strengthening your mental toughness. I plan to read it as well, but it may be just what you're looking for!

  7. WOO HOO!!! what an awesome run!!!


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