Hi! It’s Salty here. Before we get to Cilantro’s post, I wanted to let you know about this awesome new winter feature. We know many of you turn to the treadmill when the roads get slick, the night comes early (and seemingly never leaves), you have rug rats napping during your run time or because you’re just as pressed for time as always. To make those ‘mill runs more tready and less dready, we’re going to bring you tips each week. We’ll bring you specific workouts to do, etiquette tips for gym treadmills, entertainment suggestions and more! If you have any questions or treadmill topic ideas, send them here!
You’re going to make it through this winter in shape, after all!
As the temperature drops… and drops… my motivation and ability to run outside follows suit. And when the snow started falling on Saturday and the high temperature hit 23 degrees, I realized that I was going to have to take my training inside for the next five months. I’m training for my first 50-miler in March and then what will hopefully turn into my first BQ marathon in May so this means that I’m going to be logging many miles inside my university fitness center.
Or am I?
You see, my gym has a 40 minute maximum for all cardio machines. They take this rule seriously, as each equipment is programmed so it won’t even run for longer than 40 minutes! I’ve been a member at gyms, albeit briefly, where the limit is even shorter! How am I supposed to get in a 20-miler with a 40 minute time limit? I know where the cardio time limit comes from, at least at my gym. On every wall is a poster that talks about the benefits of 150 minutes of exercise weekly – that’s 30 minutes, five days a week (or one long run, in my training program). There are also posts about how cardio’s benefits maximize with 30 minutes of use, five days a week (awkward). In addition, I know they are trying to ensure that there are enough machines open so that everyone who wants to come to the wellness center has access to a machine. If every single person in the gym was spending a couple of hours on it (e.g. me), then it’d be tough to get your cardio in.
But you see, everyone at my university isn’t at the gym at the same time. In fact, I’d argue that most people at my university haven’t stepped foot in the gym, let alone contemplated spending 40 minutes on a treadmill. I believe the locals probably call that “crazy”. They don’t understand my problems. You do, I hope.I have yet to be at the gym when every cardio machine or even every treadmill was in use – or close. Does a gym treadmill time limit apply when there are open treadmills?
NO! The time limit is not there to limit you to 40 minutes of running; it’s there to ensure your crazy long run doesn’t prevent someone else who wants to use a treadmill from using a treadmill. If there are people waiting, then sorry, sister, you have to de-treadmill and sulk on the elliptical.
Actually, if you really do need to get off the treadmill because there are people waiting, you have a few options (besides sulking on the elliptical):
1. Stay on the treadmill anyway. No, I don’t mean protest. I mean keep running and hope that someone else hops off first, to open up a treader for someone waiting. Note: my guilt is never severe enough to interrupt a workout. Selfish? Absolutely. I’m
not sorry. In all seriousness, most other people are there just to exercise rather than as part of their athletic training.
2. Do a circuit, instead of a continuous run. If the guilt does get to you, if no one else gets off, or the monitor kicks you off because you’ve been on the longest, you could transition your run into a circuit instead. That could look like 40 minutes running, 5 minutes weights (or however long it takes for another treadmill to open up), 40 minutes running, ~5 minutes weights – repeat this until your workout is completed. Although it is annoying to jump on and off the treadmills, this workout could actually increase your overall fitness too, in the way that circuit and interval training is designed to do.
3. Speed work! Cram in as many miles as you can within the time limit. Finally, turn your workout into a speed or tempo run. You can fit in a lot of miles if you are running faster – and you’ll be working so hard, you’ll be glad the workout can only last 40 minutes.
No matter how I do it, I’ll be fitting in many of my runs indoors until April at the earliest. I’ll have to work around these frustrating time maximums every day I don’t make it like frosty and run outside.
What do you think about gym-enforced cardio time limits? Do you stick to them? What have you done when you’ve been bumped off the ‘mill?