Flat out on the treadmill

Today’s run (treadmill): 2.6 miles

It’s frustrating when thunderstorms move in after days of perfect running weather. I anticipated wet conditions this morning and planned a treadmill run for the morning. We are still having issues with our Sole F63, but the company has responded well. They sent us a replacement console that I installed and that fixed the problem with the speed control. However, the incline function is popping an error that requires recalibrating the treadmill. I can easily do this but the process to go into programming mode isn’t working.

Sole is sending some additional boards and cables that will hopefully allow me to get past this issue. In the meantime the unit works great as long you you only want to run level. That was good enough for me this morning, I started at an easy pace and worked up to the mid-8:00 range by the end of my run. It was a good workout, and though I don’t really like running on the treadmill, I’m glad I had that option today.

A zap to the Sole

 Today’s run (street): 2.5 miles

The recent change in seasons has reduced the humidity in the air and this is considered good news for runners. However, the consequence of dry air comes from running indoors, when static buildup plays havoc on your treadmill. That was the case this morning for my wife. She is a dedicated treadmill runner and rarely misses a workout. This morning, while adjusting the speed control, my wife felt a burst of static electricity that blew out some of the controls of the unit.

Our treadmill still works, but you can only select speeds of 2, 4, 6, 8, etc. MPH. My wife likes to do tempo runs on the machine and this involves multiple changes to speed and elevation during her workout. Today, she smartly adjusted to a higher incline to make up for slower belt speeds, but it’s a compromise to her regular routine. We’re hoping the Sole repairman can get to us quickly and restore the F63’s controls to full functionality.

I rarely use the treadmill, preferring instead to run outside in the morning. When it rains I am forced to run indoors so I’m hoping that the weather stays dry until the machine is fixed. I had a great run this morning, the temperature was 57 and the humidity was low. I worked on my form and posture as I ran and tried to push my cadence to gain more speed. It’s fall racing season so I’m also thinking about incorporating more core work in the days leading up to my next race.

I feel bad for my wife who will need to adapt her routine until the treadmill issues are resolved. She’s dedicated to her 5:00 AM workouts but I’m not sure she’d be too keen on joining me on my 4:00 AM runs.

Saving time via the treadmill

Today’s run (treadmill): 2.41 miles

I have a tight schedule this morning so I decided to run on the treadmill to save some prep time. Instead of putting on multiple layers, a headlamp, reflective vest, hat and other items  I geared up with just a shirt, shorts and shoes. I’ve been a little tired since coming back to work this week and I think it’s mainly due to rising again before 4:00 AM. This has been hard after “sleeping in” until 5:30 while I was on vacation. I needed to get finished with my run before 4:30 AM today so I got up to speed quickly on the F63 and kept a moderate pace that felt challengingly brisk.

Treadmill workouts are far different than outdoor runs for me. Treadmill runs are endured while outside runs are enjoyed. I usually spend my first four or five minutes on the treadmill telling myself  “I can’t do this” before I settle into the grim task of completing my planned time. It was hot and I was sweating but miraculously the timer passed 20 minutes and a ran a few more before finishing on schedule. If nothing else, today’s treadmill run will make me appreciate tomorrow morning’s street run all the more.

Sole F63 – a slippery situation, once again

Sole F63, equipped with special belt slipping feature

Today’s run (treadmill): 2.3 miles at 9:08

You’d think it would be easy to figure out whether it’s raining without actually stepping outside to check. At 4:00 AM it’s really too dark to see rain out of a window and the audial clues from the skylight were indeterminate this morning. I had already resigned myself to running on the treadmill so I started it up without further investigation of the weather. As much as I love running there are different levels of enjoyment. At the top would be a beautiful, scenic trail with groomed paths and cool weather. Below that, but still desirable, are many other scenarios involving running on trails or roads. After that is the track which has its positives but, for longer distance, can be mind numbingly boring. At the bottom (for me) is the treadmill. I can’t fully explain why, but I find treadmill running very tough. Perhaps it’s the tedium of an unchanging view but it’s also being locked into certain pace and having the road moving under you instead of the other way around.

An added dimension to my treadmill woes is a recurring problem with the belt slipping on on my Sole 63 unit. This is a new machine that we’ve already had serviced to fix this problem but I noticed it again today. Like last time, I could avoid slipping on the belt if I kept to the left side. However, the tread isn’t so wide that I don’t occasionally cross over to the “slip zone.” I did my 2+ miles just to get them done and really started wishing for drier days going forward. I’m hoping to avoid this experience until the machine is fixed…yet again.

Jerked around by my treadmill

Today’s run (treadmill): 2.3 miles at 9:12/mile

The hill work I did over the weekend caused great tightness in my leg muscles on Monday. This morning that tightness was even more pronounced so I decided that the “hair of the dog” approach with more hill climbs would be the best way to deal with it. I had played briefly with the inclines on the new treadmill on Saturday and thought about running one of the built-in programs that included variable elevations. I had not read the treadmill’s instructions to learn how to start a speed or elevation program so after a few tries I gave up and used the manual method to set my inclines. A few minutes into my run I began noticing that the tread belt slipped every twenty seconds or so. These slips felt as though the belt was jerking and suddenly pulling forward for a second. It wasn’t so pronounced that it threw me off balance but it was concerning. The worst part was waiting for the next slip – nothing like feeling stress while running!

I decided to finish my run despite this annoying problem. I found the incline feature useful and varied the incline between 2% and 4% but backed off on that when the belt slippage became pronounced. The slipping and jerking may be related to inclines because it had not happened before I had used that feature. Unfortunately the slipping happens without an incline so there’s no safe condition although it seems to stabilize when the speed is lessened. I sent a note to Sole and I’ll report on what happens. It’s really too bad, prior to this problem I thought the F63 exceeded expectations.

Sole F63 – A great first impression

Today’s workout: 2.4 mile run at ??:??/mi.

The new treadmill arrived yesterday and the old treadmill is now sitting at the end of the driveway, awaiting Monday’s trash pickup. My wife and kids were very excited to see my reaction  as I made my way upstairs to look at the new arrival. They had waited for me to get home so I’d be the first to use it, which was incredibly sweet of them. In truth, my wife should have had the privilege of doing the maiden run because she put far more mileage on the old unit. I expect this will also be the case with the new F63.

I ran a couple of minutes last night to get a feel for the treadmill. First impressions were that it was more elevated, sturdier, smoother and quieter than the ProForm it replaced. This morning I did a real workout, starting slow (just push one button to set a pace!) for a minute before locking in on 6.4 MPH. This translated to a 9:23 pace but it felt faster than that. My Garmin agreed with me, displaying 8:59/mi. The margin of error on the Garmin makes me believe my true pace was closer to 9:05. I’ll recalibrate the Garmin tomorrow and compare that to the treadmill to get a better understanding of its accuracy. Aside from this discrepancy the running experience was very good. I appreciated the quiet ride, the fan, the metrics and the solid feel of the unit beneath my feet. After my shower I listened for the whine of the treadmill from my wife, who normally starts her run around 5:15 AM. Nothing. A walk down the hall confirmed she was running on it and I heard her steps louder than the treadmill’s motor. My wife liked it as much as I did and she couldn’t believe how quiet it was compared to the old treadmill. I think we made a great purchase and, with all the programs and elevations, there’s still much more to experience. I really like the new treadmill but with the beautiful weather on the first day of spring, I’m still aiming to hit the roads or trails tomorrow.