I didn't get to running today until 1 pm. By then the winds had started to get nasty and the temperature was dropping. We are expecting rain here for the next five days so I figure I will be using my treadmill more frequently! I decided to make my treadmill debut for the year today. We have moved our treadmill to the computer room so that it is farther from the boys rooms and we can watch DVDs while we run. We have a ceiling fan in that room and I moved in a standing fan, turned on a Dave Matthews Band DVD, and started running.
If I had learned anything about treadmill running is to not worry about mileage so much as time spent at certain efforts. There is no air resistance when running on a treadmill and the ground moves underneath you, so you already have to set the incline up to at least 1.0 to mimic level road running (I have read as much as 2.0). What I have learned is, if you have to do workouts on the treadmill, don't worry about your speed, instead play with the level of incline. If you know the pace you want to run at then you have to find a level of incline and speed that will equal that same effort.
I didn't know how I would feel today after my trail run yesterday but I had been walking around fine, and running after Micah with no problem, so I got on and set the incline to 5.0. I started the speed at 7.0 mph (8:30 pace) to see how it would feel. I did that for a few minutes and seemed to be running up on the front of the belt so I increased the speed to 7.3mph. This felt like a good hard effort that I would be able to maintain for some time (I should have worn my heart rate monitor). I continued at this pace for another 50 minutes or so while I watched my Dave Matthews Band concert. It started to get a little tough after 40 minutes or so. Not terribly hard but I was watching the clock more often. Once I hit 7 miles I slowed to 7.0mph for the last mile. The entire time the incline was set to 5.0, I only had to worry about the speed during the workout.
There are a few good treadmill pace conversion charts out there. Coach Jack Daniels PhD. has one in his book that was the first one I had ever seen. He also posts sample workouts in his book but if you know that pace you want to run, whether it be easy/recovery pace, marathon pace, threshold pace, vVO2max pace, or mile race pace, you just find that pace on the chart and then run at that speed an incline for how ever long you needed for your workout.
The only problem with Daniels' chart is that it is not detailed enough for every tenth of a mph, the nice thing is that it goes higher than 10% incline if your treadmill goes up that high. When I was done with my workout I wondered, "How hard was I working, and what was my equivalent effort. It felt hard but not that hard." I used this table/chart that I found on hillrunner.com which gives you an equivalent effort on every % incline for every tenth of a mph. My 7.3 mph on a 5.0 incline was equivalent to a 7:04 mile. No wonder that felt pretty hard, not marathon pace hard, but a good hard effort.
So if you want to run a 7:00/mile pace effort you could run 8.3 mph at 2% incline, or 7.7 mph at 4% incline, or 6.1 mph at a 10% incline. What I am saying is that you can run 10 min/mile pace on a 10% incline and that would be equivalent to a 7:00/mile effort. You won't cover the same distance, so you have to run at that combined pace and incline for a pre-determined amount of time. It took me 66:40 to cover 8 miles today, which is well over 8:00/mi pace, but on a 5% incline, 50 minutes of the run was nearly a 7:00/mi pace effort.
Say I wanted to do a marathon pace run for an hour. After a warm up I could run 6.9 mph at a 8% incline (equivalent to 6:46 pace effort) for an hour and get an equal benefit. Say I wanted to do cruise intervals. After a warm up I could run for 5 minutes at 8.2 mph at a 6% incline (equivalent to 6:13 pace effort) then drop the speed to 5.2pmh (9:00/mi pace effort) for a 1 minute recovery, and then increase the speed back to 8.2mph for another 5 minutes. I could repeat this for as long as I had planned to run at my threshold pace.
You can do this for any type of workout that you want to just find your workout pace on the chart here and use the corresponding speed and incline on your treadmill. You will get a great workout. The other nice thing is you can set a certain incline and only vary the speed or vice versa. Try it on your next treadmill workout and it will make it much more interesting.
The other thing I learned today was that Dave Matthews Band concerts are NOT good workout music, especially during those long slow flute or violin solos.
The race results from this week are in and the Houston half marathon was won by Minnesotan Antonio Vega in 1:01:54 and Shalane Flanagan in 1:09:41. Deena Kastor also won the Phoenix Rock n Roll half marathon today in almost exactly the same time. I wish they had been racing each other. There were no impressive times, it was kind of disappointing. Even Ryan Hall got beat and only ran 1:04:08. The most impressive time of the day was Brett Gotcher of McMillan Elite. He ran his debut marathon in Houston and finished 7th in 2:10:36. Look out Ryan, Dathan, Meb, and Abdi there will be another sub 2:10 American marathoner soon!