Welcome! › Forums › Running Forum › Variety on the Treadmill: Any Work Out Suggestions? › Re: Re: Variety on the Treadmill: Any Work Out Suggestions?
I cannot imagine that there are many variables with a treadmill beyond changing pace or incline. Once those options are exhausted, what more can you do? I suppose that you could listen to music or watch a television program or movie, but if you're actually wanting to tune into your workout, those won't help. Is there any chance that you could give the outdoors another chance? If so, then I do have some suggestions for that.
- If the weather is truly awful, keep your workout short. I believe that I can handle nearly anything for around 30 minutes and I always feel a little better even if I only do a short workout.
- Wear appropriate clothing — as minimal as possible. The only exception is that I will sometimes overdress to keep my hands and ears warm. It is easy to remove gloves or a hat. If you spend time running outdoors, you will get a good feel for how to dress for comfort. Generally, I expect to feel a bit cold for the first 10 minutes or so.
- On bitterly cold days with strong winds, vary your direction. Ed Whitlock is known to run short laps in a Cemetery. One of the benefits is that he is never running into the wind for long. I don't have a place where I can do that, but I find that if I simply turn and run with the wind for a bit, then I can turn back into the wind. That allows me to run longer than I could otherwise. An 8 mile run might only cover 2 miles of road during extremely cold, windy conditions.
- When the weather is bad, I also like to think of others who have trained in conditions that are as bad or worse. I remember reading a post from Ryan about a cold index where one of the indicators was “hearing your spit freeze before it hits the ground”. (I hope I don't experience that.) I also remember reading about an Alaska girls high school cross country team continuing to train in the cold Alaskan winter after their cross country season had finished so that they could compete at the Nike cross country nationals. That always makes it easier to cope with my weather.
Cold, windy, rain is the worst. Generally, it will be above freezing when it is raining, but if it is in the 30's, windy, and raining, that can be very unpleasant. When conditions are like that, I generally keep my run short.
I run to and from work. Although I always have the option of calling for a ride home, I generally only exercise that option if I'm feeling sick or injured. Still, there are some days where I dread that first step. I dawdle in hopes that a co-worker might offer me a ride, but eventually, I decide to head home. Invariably, I find myself enjoying the run once I am about 10 minutes into it. During one cold, rainy run, a neighbor paused near me in her car to offer me a ride and though I had wanted nothing else only 10 minutes ago, by that time, I was enjoying my run and I declined. There are some days where the run never quite reaches the level of pleasant, but I still manage to find something positive. First, I am exercising my commitment to my sport and perhaps separating myself from my competition. To race well, one has to be able to handle discomfort. Races are rarely canceled or postponed. Second, after I'm home and warm, I always feel better for having exercised.