I ran 54 miles this week and 48 of them were on the treadmill. How’s that for a summary? I will confess that it wasn’t really bad. I downloaded the entire season of Sweat Inc. and just got on the treadmill and knocked it out. Each episode is 42 minutes — basically perfect.This week was an unfortunate collection of brutally cold temps and two rounds of snow. The only day school was in session was Tuesday (Monday holiday). 

  First, sidebar: It’s National Peanut Butter Day. Hammer Nutrition is celebrating by giving you a free peanut butter gel for each gel you purchase! Here’s the cool thing: you can eat them during a run, sure. But you can also put them in your oatmeal, dip your apples in them … All sorts of awesome ideas.

I was off work Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, so I slept in and went to the gym later in the morning for an easy recovery run. Then I went back later that night for Pilates while hubs got his workout in.

  Tuesday the temperatures were okday but the footing was iffy, so it was back to the treadmill for some speedwork. It was a session of 4×1 mile at threshold pace, around 85% of max heart rate. I averaged somewhere around 6:30 for these so they felt pretty easy. Recovery was about 2 minutes between each. I didn’t get to go to my normal yoga class that night because I had CPR training — had to get that certification to be able to teach Pilates.

Wednesday was back to the ‘mill for an easy 6 miler, followed by Pilates. Solid evening.

Thursday I almost went outside but ended up back on the ‘mill. I don’t remember why; it all ran together after a while. Actually might’ve been because it was dark and during rush hour. But I had 8 miles at a “moderate” pace. Before that I met up with Alex, one of my Pilates instructors, to talk about teaching Pilates and so she could take my demonstration photos to be submitted as part of my certification process.

Friday was an easy recovery day, just 4 miles, slow, and on the treadmill. I had woken up at 4:40 a.m. to send out the school cancelation so I just went to the gym and knocked it out. Snowpocolypse was supposed to arrive around 10 a.m. so running that evening was doubtful — some forecasts made it sound like even getting to the gym would be difficult.

Even though we only got a few more inches on top of what we already had — certainly not the two feet the east coast got — Louisville isn’t particularly well-known for it’s road clearing. On Friday night we saw entire neighborhoods that hadn’t been touched. 

I texted coach Friday to get his thoughts on Saturday’s long run. I saw three options: run outside slowly in bad footing and try not to get hurt; run inside; run Sunday when it was going to be really cold (and the road conditions still questionable). Even if I waited until Sunday, it was possible I’d be stuck inside anyway. Coach recommended just sucking it up and doing it on the treadmill so we would know I got in a quality run.

I did 14 on the treadmill a couple of weeks ago, so while I wasn’t terribly thrilled about this idea, I knew I could do it. I figured I could get through three episodes of Sweat Inc., too. Also, a treadmill long run gives me a chance to practice several race-specific things: drinking while running, not stopping (street crossings, water stops, etc.) and race-day clothing. Coach asked for a steady but relaxed pace, on which I mostly delivered except the last 4 miles were faster. 

  The treadmill times out at 90 minutes, so I ran the first 12 with no pauses, breaks or anything, then stopped it and let it reset while I refilled my water bottle. I was hot! Very sweaty. My first water bottle had Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes Fizz in it, which helps me combat the amount of sweating I do on the treadmill. It’s a great electrolyte product — not a carbohydrate/sugar sports drink, just a light flavor and effervescence. It’s just a tab you drop in (like Nuun or any of those other products). It comes in four flavors — lemon-lime, mango, grapefruit and grape — and you can actually buy a little sample pack of two of each flavor on Hammer’s website for just $3! (Look under fueling kits!) I also had a raspberry Hammer Gel halfway through and chocolate Recoverite after. That stuff is magic. 

Really, the 16 miles flew by. The last 4 after I got off the treadmill were a little boring but I don’t think mentally it was any tougher than doing the same thing outside solo. My approach was to forget the “dreadmill” stigma — what’s wrong with the treadmill? I can watch tv for two hours on my couch and I can run two hours … so basically I’ve just combined them and become more efficient! 

I foam rolled before and after but skipped Saturday Pilates. I didn’t have a third hour in me that morning!

  But, I did stop by the Pilates studio because I finished my certification on Friday! I’m so excited to start teaching. Stay tuned for posts about Pilates for endurance athletes. 

Sunday I finally got back outside. I had run on the treadmill every day since last Sunday, 54 consecutive treadmill miles. I think it made me appreciate being outside more. Although when I woke up and it was 10 degrees, I can’t say I was too excited. I almost drove to the gym! I didn’t have any time constraints, though, so I opted to wait since it was supposed to warm up quite a bit. When I left the house, it was 20 degrees with a windchill of 13. When I got back, it was already up to 27 degrees! Coach puts my recovery days in as “4-6 miles,” my choice, although today was also an optional off day. The last non-running day in my log is … December 28. Not that I’m trying to streak, because I think that is silly, but coach had a good point about how easy it is to not be questioning if you’re going to run that day or not. It’s not, “Am I going to run today,” it’s “What is my run today?” Which I think also makes it harder to wuss out of a day, too. 

So I knew I was going to run today — in part because I was at 48 miles and I wanted to hit 50 and because I could finally get outside — it was just a question of how far. With a decently long run yesterday and the cold today, I figured 4 would be all I felt like doing. And then I started running. 

  Sometimes you just have those days where you’re happy to be running and everything feels fine and you could run forever and you look down and you’re running 7:30s even though it’s a recovery day because you just feel good … yep. One of those days. Despite a couple of fast miles and all of them at a decent clip, my heart rate still stayed low. Probably a difference in temperature — higher heart rate in the hotter gym conditions. 

In total, 54 miles — just a mile shy of my peak mileage from last season — with 12 weeks till Carmel! Two Pilates sessions, too. Another cross-training/strength day would’ve been ideal but that’s alright. 

I’m looking forward to much better weather this week!