Jolly

Tyranny of the Treadmill

The Long Jog to Comrades 4 Comments

The other evening I did a treadmill run.  I don’t like the treadmill.  I want to be out there being nosey, because that’s what makes running fun.  But I couldn’t, because of the weather.  Now, I’m a good English girl, so a sprinkle of rain is only going to add to the joy of a run.  No, it’s the heat that I struggle with.  And yes, I know, I know.  I’ve been here over a year, and I’ve been exposed to the crazy Australian seasons, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.  But I was lulled into a false sense of security by a cold snap and I let down my Aussie-weather guard.  Then bam, I got caught.

I’ll be honest with you.  I’m not a morning person.  And I don’t know whether it was daylight saving just kicking in, time of the month, a full moon, or what, but I was not waking up.  And that date with some intervals I had planned could go get stuffed.  I wanted to enjoy a bit more cosy with Mr Douvet.  Intervals could wait till after work.

Except after work saw me pulling out of the car park to read 32 degrees on the dashboard.  At 5.30pm.  And the way the weather works in our little corner of Australia, the temperatures don’t drop as the day progresses. So whilst I am many things, I am not entirely insane.  (Although, on second thoughts, we might need to debate that some more)!  But this particular night, I really didn’t fancy sprinting along the Foreshore in that kind of heat.

Now, I had it in my head that I really needed to get my run in. Maybe I was trying to impress my coach, Zoey, over at Operation Move, or could see the others in my training group had managed to work their runs into their much more hectic schedules, so had a bit of a guilt trip going on. I’m not entirely sure.  But I was going to do this run and the only thing for it was to run indoors on the dreadmill. Urgh.

The planned session was such a nice one – not at all intimidating, so how bad could it be?  800m of running with 400m of recovery, 3 times.  Zoey has made me do far worse in the past.  And I reminded myself, the bonus of the treadmill is that you’re always in control.  It gives you encouraging feedback: 50m completed. And your mind tells you that’s not so bad: you’re coping pretty well with this speed.  Cool. Oh look. Another 100m completed.  Starting to feel it a bit now, but yeah, still feeling good. But as your lungs protest and legs demur, the tyranny of the treadie takes over.  Still 400m left, it taunts: my rolling road ain’t slowing – let’s see what you’ve got.  And you see the numbers on the screen, and you’re determined not to let it get the better of you.  But puff, puff, oh bugger, look: still another 200m to go.  And your mind starts to shout that it’s not possible.  There’s no way this body of yours can hold on at this speed for THAT MUCH LONGER.

And that’s what makes treadmill running so damn hard.  The treachery of being in control.  It’s just you and it, doing what you came there to do.  Or not, because you can just press stop and the whole thing shuts down, then hop off and drive home.  Treadmill running is all about the mind games and that just freaks me out.  No thanks.  Give me the element of surprise, a corner to turn or a different loop to take, the fun of making it up as I go along.  At least the fact that I’m nowhere near home when my head is clamouring to stop means I either run or walk to get back, the only difference is the time it will take me.  Give me the open road any time.  Just remind me to get my arse out of bed, will you?

What about you?  Treadmill junkie, or wild about the great outdoors?

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4 Comments

  • Kat on 6th November 2014

    Exactly!
    I can handle 8km on the road like it’s hardly anything. But put me inside on a treadmill and 5km is absolute agony.
    I’m looking at the display, at the TV, back at the display and that little voice in my head screams “What?! Only 200m since the last time I looked? What fresh hell is this?”.
    Dreadmills are terrible things.

  • Jolly on 6th November 2014

    Ha ha. SOOOO TRUE. And why is it that you can watch a whole chunky item on the TV and yet still only have run about 25m?????

  • Colin on 7th November 2014

    Me and my two daughters (15 and 7) have just started a couch to 5k programme, (affectionately referred to as “The Couch Potato Challenge” by my youngest) with an aim of a timed 5km “parkrun” in the spring. I love the idea of treadmill running, not getting rained on, or cold but as there are 3 of us doing this treadmilling is out of the question. So for now it is wrap up warm and hit the streets 🙂

    • Jolly on 7th November 2014

      That probably just won you Dad of the Year. How fab is that – anti-Couch Potatoing with your girls! (Hope you have a costume for this running malarkey. Or at least a small superhero cape, Colin). One of my girls is my (sometimes) running buddy and I think we get some of our best quality chats in during that space. I’ve found that low heart rate (LHR) training is a real winner as it gets us to run at the same pace – I’m the only one with the heart rate , which means I still set the pace, and she likes a slower pace than my normal jog – so it “sets us up for success” [just scored on the Bullshit Bingo]!

      Stay warm, and keep me posted on how you’re going with your challenge. All the cheering from Down Under!!! x

      And I love running in the cold. But do you think that’s just nostalgia kicking in? Am I talking out of my arse?

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