Great treadmill run. This is not a typo.

Oh, we can be heroes, just for one day

Today’s run (treadmill): 3.5 miles
Yesterday’s run (treadmill): 3. 2 miles
Tuesday’s run (treadmill): 1.25 miles
Last Sunday’s run (street): 4.1 miles

It snowed this week and the streets have been very unfriendly for runners. The treadmill likes to use these times to prove its worthiness to me. Over the years I have learned to appreciate the indoor option but that doesn’t mean I particularly like it. Our FreeMotion machine has been a big improvement over the tortured Sole F63 it replaced and I am grateful for that. Today it was my hero.

I worked from home on Tuesday. Although I had an early video call, I managed to squeeze in a short treadmill run. Very short. But every mile counts and I’m counting that one. I worked from home on Thursday, but limited my exercise to multiple shoveling sessions in order to get through 13″ of snow. It turned out to be a good leg and upper body workout, especially when digging out the huge snowbanks at the end of our driveway that were left by the town plows.

I stayed home yesterday because the Long Island roads were still a big mess. I dutifully hopped on the treadmill and cranked out a three miler, the same distance I would have done had I been able to run on the road. I approached yesterday’s run like a 5K, starting easy and increasing speed as I went. The last half mile was run about two minutes per mile faster than I’ve been averaging this year.

This morning I noticed that the streets were relatively free of ice and snow. Unfortunately, the sidewalks were buried under three feet of snow, leaving no place to escape from cars on the road. I elected to run inside.

For those of you who are expecting me to write about how today’s treadmill run was just terrible because treadmills are soooo boring I’m afraid I must disappoint. I put on the cable music channel and was rewarded with some great songs. I only wore my Kinvaras and compression shorts and set the treadmill’s fan to “stun”, so I felt cool and dry most of the way through. I didn’t attempt the same challenging pace as yesterday, so the run felt much easier. Dare I say, enjoyable?

Even though I could have gone longer, I elected to cap it at 3.5 miles. Rather than duplicate Friday’s progressively faster pacing that left me worn out by the end, I finished feeling energized. I liked that feeling and the treadmill is my friend. At least for today. Tomorrow may be a different story.

The paradox of high humidity and faster running

Part of today’s route. Pretty. Humid.

Today’s run (street): 4.5 miles

Happy 7th of July. For some reason, the company I work for has made both the 4th of July and today company holidays. That, plus working from home last Thursday, allowed me to run for five consecutive days. Counting this morning, I’ve covered 21 miles in that period. I wish I could do that every week.

Even though I was up before 6:00 AM today, I managed to squander the early hours and didn’t start my run until a little after 8:00 AM. When I stepped outside it didn’t seem all that humid. There was a slight breeze from the north that combined with the mid-70’s temperature, creating what seemed to be comfortable conditions. That was an illusion.
The neighborhood looked very nice under sunny skies and the first mile of my route was fairly shady. From then on, the temperature seemed to rise by the minute, along with the humidity. I mixed up my route in an attempt to break the boredom of my local streets and found myself running up what passes for a long hill in my neighborhood. Between the treeless road and the thickening air, I moved into direct drive mode. That’s when I put all resources toward getting through the distance.
I often forget that when I put a little more power into my stride, my running efficiency (speed benefit as a function of expended energy) increases. This is the trick I occasionally use when a faster runner begins to overtake me in the neighborhood or on the Bethpage trail. By lengthening my stride and increasing cadence a little, I can lower my pace by a mile per minute for short periods without feeling like I’m working that much harder. 
About half the time I can hold back speedy challengers until one of us turns off to another road. Running harder, despite the humidity, helped get me to the 4 mile mark faster than I expected. The only issue is that I usually reach a point where I can no longer sustain the greater speed. Fortunately, I was able to maintain the pace and I even took it up a gear for the final 200 meters.
When I went inside to cool off before my shower, I realized that my level of sweat was equivalent to having jumped into the pool. In fact my running clothes looked like I had just done that. I have a different schedule this week that will involve some travel, so I don’t know when I’ll get a chance to run again before the weekend. If the timing works out favorably, I may be able to fit in a couple of mid week runs.