Yes, we’re hardcore, but sometimes even the most hardcore outdoors obsessed runner finds herself with no reasonable alternative but to run on the treadmill. This season, for me it’s a combination of the weather and a lack of childcare for my three-year-old that make me very thankful for the treadmill in my garage and I am running on it more than I ever have.
Not too long ago I would have never used the words “thankful” and “treadmill” in the same sentence. Although it’s a lifesaver now, it will always be the dreadmill to me (although if our goal is to get through treadmill season with our sanity intact, we’re not to call it that). I’ve avoided it at all costs, and managed to only torture myself on it for around 6 miles at a time. After the past month or so, however, the ‘mill is growing on me.
As I see no major change in the weather or my childcare situation through the long winter ahead and I know I’m not the only one, I am resurrecting the Treadmill Tip of the Week. Past topics included the 1% incline rule, translating your speedwork for the ‘mill, and tips for getting over your utter contempt for the thing so you can use the treadmill to its full advantage.
This week: my pre-treadmill run checklist to get you through your miles uninterrupted.
As I mentioned, I have my treadmill in the garage and my three-year-old home with me all day. Initially, I thought there would be very little pre-run prep required for a ‘mill workout. Not so true. After some trial-and-error and disasters ranging from the annoying to the super-crappy, I have developed a pre-run checklist that makes it more likely I’ll have a successful workout. Most of these things will help you whether you’re hitting your home treadmill or the gym.
1. Tinkle: First things first: go pee. Maybe it’s the repetitive pounding or my poor pelvic floor having PTSD, but if I don’t go right before my run, without a doubt I’ll have to pee within the first two miles. I hate having to pause my workout to use the bathroom, only to come back and find the thing reset itself and I lost my time, distance, or data. If you’re running on a home treadmill with kids (or dogs) give them a potty opportunity before you hit start too.
2. Technology: Have your music, show, audio book, or other anti-boredom crack loaded up and ready to go. Additionally, if you’re using some, put those earbuds securely in your ears before pressing start. Fumbling with them at any pace is a recipe for a fall or dropping them and launching them and your phone across the room.
3. Hydration: Make sure your water bottle is filled and secured in the cup holder. Even if I end up not needing it, which is most of the time, there’s something reassuring that it’s there if I do.
4. Sweat-towel: Have a clean hand towel in easy grabbing range; maybe it’s because there’s no wind, maybe it’s because I do my speed work on the ‘mill, but I sweat like crazy on the thing even in the dead of winter in a bra and shorts. I found that when I used my tech material shirt to wipe away sweat, I broke out in weird sandpapery hives all over my face. Ew. Using a clean, cotton towel solved that issue.
5. Kid-Proof: Have your house equipped for your kids to be semi-self-sufficient for a period of time: run at nap times if you have a napper (lucky), lock all exterior doors, have their favorite show on, snacks & a drink out, and books, crayons, or an easy art activity available. I pull the car out of the garage so Alora can ride her scooter, run in circles, or paint while I run. If you are planning on joining a gym, choose one with a child watch and when you go to use it, get there a few minutes early to ease the transition from your care to theirs so the child watch workers don’t have to hunt you down and drag you back to your hysterical kid.
6. Workout ready: If you plan on running a specific workout, have it easily visible on a post-it you stick on the monitor or, for those techy folks among us, programmed into your machine. I use the post-it method and check each rep off with a marker as I go to keep myself motivated and constantly aware of where I am in the workout.
7. Tinkle, take two: Really, give it another go just in case.
Any other pre-run tips for ensuring an interruption-free treadmill run?