Well, kids, it can be done! I have a new personal distance record–16 miles pounded out on the treadmill of all places! And I’ve gotta tell ya, it really wasn’t all that bad!
The game plan was to turn on Food Network, crank up my iPod, and pound out the miles. I decided to take Megan‘s suggestion to divide up the run into segments, running 7 miles first, then 5, then 4 to round it out. To make it bearable, I did a few things:
1. Varied speeds
I looked up multiple speeds and this is what came up. No joke.
I wanted to keep my speed pretty consistent, but I knew I’d need to vary it a little bit to keep my knees from getting too sore. I started out at 7.0, then ran most of the way at 7.2, taking it down to 7.1 or 7.0 when my knees felt off or I got a little tired. Then, I did the last mile at 7.3. Just because I knew I could. It was hard, but I did it. What can I say? I like to push myself! 😉
I know. No one wants to see hills on a 16 mile run, especially not on the treadmill. But I knew if I left the incline at 0 the entire time, my knees, shins, hips, well, everything basically, would rebel. At first, my idea was to run at 0.5 for 5 minutes, then 1.0 for 5 minutes, then 1.5 and so on. Well, that wasn’t going to work. I felt winded right away and knew I’d have to pace myself. Instead, I decided to run a hill during every commercial break. So in between short ribs and upside down cakes and sweet potato bisque, I ran hills. Here’s how that looked:
Commercial #1 0.5 incline
Commercial #2 1.0 incline
Commercial #3 1.5 incline
Commercial #4 2.0 incline
Commercial #5 2.5 incline
Commercial #6 3.0 incline
Commercial #7 3.5 incline
Commercial #8 4.0 incline–I only did this once. The world’s longest Quicken Loans commercial tortured me, and it sucked.
Then right back down to the flat once the commercials were over. I let myself recover a bit in between, and I think it made a HUGE difference in how my knees felt. They didn’t get sore AT ALL. Miraculous.
3. Slowing down!
Does anyone else remember the “Slow down!” scene from Big Daddy? No? OK.
Whenever my knee started to feel the tiniest bit off, I backed off on my speed. The goal was to finish, not to be fast, and finish I did. No shame in slowing down!
I had some shot blocks before I ran, then had half a Gu at 7 miles and the other half at 12, which I liked. Spacing it out was definitely a good idea. I dropped the ball, however, when it came to water. For some reason, my water bottle was only half full when I started running, and I definitely needed more water. Stupid, but I got through it.
I just feel sorry for this chick. Seriously–what is up with this picture???
Despite the sub-zero temps outside, I was drenched within minutes inside the gym. I had a towel, but I probably could have used a fresh one halfway through. I’ll remember that next time.
6. Positive self-talk
I wasn’t hurting much at all through the run, but I still started to doubt myself around the 13th mile, which is odd, given that I’ve run 13 miles plenty of times before. I talked myself through it, remembering that I’ve run 15 before, and surely I could make it one extra mile. And sure enough, I did. I think a little self-doubt creeping in is normal, and that’s exactly what I told myself when it happened. It worked!
Thanks to everyone who gave me tips on what to do! I couldn’t have done it without you!!
What’s the furthest you’ve run on the treadmill? Do you love the treadmill (I kinda do!) or hate it?