Friday, March 22, 2013

Half Marathon Training on a Treadmill (aka Winter Race Training)

I promise I will get to the race report and review, but since being back from NYC, I have been slammed at work and its been a very stressful week.

Today is the first day that I have had time to a) catch my breath and b) feel a bit less stressed.

Since I was traveling from NYC back to NE on Monday, and it being the day after the NYC Half, obviously I did not do anything physical.

After semi-calculating my distance on Sunday including the race, my best guessitmate was 19 miles and well...I think that should be good for 2 days :O)

And for 3.

Since I also took Tuesday off.

Wednesday I did an easy 3.5 miles on the treadmill followed by some weights, a bit of CrossFit moves, and some sprints around the track there at the gym. I could still feel the achiness in my quads a bit from all the downhills in Central Park, but it could have been a lot worse I suppose. Last night I went to a Step class and it felt wonderful. Today is another rest day.

It is Friday after all.

So in lieu of that race report/review, I figured I could take a few moments to write about how training went for this cycle.

Clearly living in Nebraska poses challenges for a runner training for anything that may occur in the Winter months. Snow, ice and cold arrived here in October and well as I said, its been challenging.

It wasn't up until I knew I was actually going to have to train for an actual event that I got a bit worried.

For the most part leading up to finding out that I was in through the lottery, I ran outside when I could and the rest of the time I ran on the treadmill.

I continued to do that, but it seemed that every weekend some storm would come through or late in the week, and then on Saturday, I would be destined to the treadmill for my long run.

I accepted it for what it was and just prayed that it would be OK come race day and I had to run longer than 4 miles outside. :O)

So when I had to run long on the treadmill which was every weekend except for 2 of them, one was a 6 miler (cut back week) and the other thank God was my longest run of the cycle, being 12 miles. So at least I knew that the treadmill training was doing OK by me.

The way I approached treadmill training is to put it on a slight incline while running. I tried to make it also uncomfortable sometimes by wearing something that would make me feel warmer than I should be since running in a climate controlled environment is never going to be fact on race day :)

Additionally to conteract that warm uncomfortable feeling, when I was able to run outside free of snow and ice, it was still VERY cold and usually VERY windy (the winds here are crazy and a normal everyday occurance, just worse on some days than others).

So I had to endure those types albeit for shorter distances, but it was still necessary to run outside as often as I could no matter what the temperature might be.

There is much debate on the internet about treadmill training vs traditional training either works or doesn't work.  I know I read a lot about it, and felt confident enough that I would at least survive the half and I think I did more than that.  I clearly could have finished in a shorter period of time if I had been running alone and for a different outcome but I wasn't.  This situation gave me the out that I needed so that I didn't truly need to test the theory out for myself.

Also whenever the weather allowed I did throw in a few days of hill workouts, but never any actual speed training.  Although sometimes on the treadmill, I would throw in Tabatas here and there but that was the extent of it other than sometimes up'ing the speed to an uncomfortable pace for as long as I could until I would bring it back down.

I will say that I believe that yes a person can train for a half marathon on the treadmill.  I would also say though that I think it would be harder for a runner who had never run before.  Since I have been running outside for 98% of my running life, while training for all sorts of distances, I think it was easier for me.

I would also say that regardless of that if one is going to train for a half marathon or what-not, that the more you run outside the better off you will be.  I don't believe a treadmill can ever ever replicate the challenges a runner will face while running outside on different terrains, and with weather challenges.

However I will say right here and now, at least for while I live in Nebraska I will forego any marathons that are considered Winter.  There is no way in hell that I could ever train for a marathon on a treadmill.  2 hours on one at one time is about all I could bear.  Maybe 2.5 hours, but over 3 and I would never make it.

Also, I think once you get past a certain point in mileage or time on a treadmill, its just never going to be like what it would be if you were outside for the same amount of mileage/time.  Just my opinion.

With Chicago at least I know my longest runs will be in September and the threat of snow and ice are almost non-existent.  After that it would only be half marathons.  Even now, almost into April, and we are about to get hit with yet another few days of rain, then ice, and lots of snow.

Wasn't the first day of Spring just a couple of days ago?  ;o)

1 comment:

Karen Seal said...

I hear you on the long treadmill runs! I couldn't train for a Full on a treadmill, either! I'd get way too bored! lol