Thursday, September 19, 2013

how to survive a treadmill speed workout

I had my first track workout in roughly 5.6 months this week, and you know what? It didn't suck, which was unexpected. Speed workouts not only exist to make you extremely uncomfortable, but also to build your endurance and to help you run faster. You use muscle tissue that is typically inactive when you go on slower runs, which ignites it to become one with your body to enable you to become more efficient. (cited from this Runner's World article.)

As I was panting along on the treadmill, I started pinpointing exactly what was making it so do-able for me that day. There have definitely been speedwork days that didn't "flow" as nicely, so there were items to compare and change up the next time I hit the treadmill for some Yassos. Keep in mind that these tricks for me, so try a few of them out and figure what works for you.

The sweaty girl that has been banned to the basement treadmill to run.

1. Eat a small, balanced meal 2 hours before you start your sprints.
This gives your stomach some time to digest whatever you ate so that it's not having the party of 1999 while your struggling to get those laps in. This also gives your food time to be utilized for your run to provide energy, which is something you'll be begging for. I have learned that the standard peanut-butter and jelly sandwich or a granola bar & banana combo typically do the trick.

These babies are off Joy the Baker's cookbook, that I love and cherish.

2.  Drink water! All day!
Yeah, I know you've never heard that one, but really it makes such a positive difference in your run. See that shiny face up there? That's all water loss from reserves that needs to be replenished. Water helps your muscles charge up for the workout that lies ahead, so make sure you're sipping constantly all day. I know the bathroom trips are less than ideal (unless you've bought stock in Pampers), but it's worth it. Just make sure there is a restroom nearby or else you'll be wearing out your legs before you even begin your workout!

I've discussed before my love/hate relationship with water, so if you are looking for H20 alternatives check out this article.My favorite non-water beverage of choice is this chocolate coconut water by Zico - I get mine at Trader Joe's.

 3. Get some good tunes going
I can't stress enough how much music enables me to run. When I first started running, that was essentially what got me out on the road - I had some new music I wanted to listen to, but felt like I had to get moving in order to do that. My recent favorites are Wake Me Up by Avicii, Neo Violence by The Tough Alliance, and Not The Same by Tanlines.

4. Wear comfortable clothing
I sweat a lot. I run on the treadmill at my parent's house in the cool basement and I still glisten my fave off after only 5 minutes. I've learned that in order to stay as comfortable as possible I can only wear my sports bra and light, breezy shorts. My hair is tied up and I typically pin my bangs back (I lost all my bobby pins this week), because hair can get hot. It might take some trial and error to get the feel for what wears are most conducive for a good run in your treadmill environment, so start out by wearing a t-shirt and shorts and working your way from there.

5. Keep your mind busy
I have a busy brain regardless if I'm running like a hamster, but I've found that treadmill workouts are the best times for me to plan and come up with ideas.By keeping my mind actively occupied, the sprints fly by a lot quicker than if I'm constantly staring at the screen willing the machine to magically break. I once planned a friend's baby shower in my head, and routinely think of fun weekend plans this way. Then when the workout's over, you can go back to watching Breaking Bad and take a nice mental break. Hallelujah.

 So there you have it! I would love to hear what helps your speedwork runs fly by while you fly fast.

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