I had a bad run. And now I’m in a bad mood.

Also I hate treadmills. It’s been about a week since I ranted about treadmills, so I guess I’m due.

I’m now fully convinced that treadmills and me do not get along. They’re evil. The weather tonight was cold and rainy – aka the worst possible weather imaginable. I’d take snow over this any day. So I decided to do my run indoors on the treadmill. Expecting the worst. Got worse than I expected.

lousy-smarch-weather

Damn it was bad. This time the treadmill and my Garmin disagreed by over 500m. Closer than it has been, but still amounted to a pace differential of about 12 seconds per km over 13.2. Or 13.8. According to the treadmill I averaged 5:26/km. Garmin said 5:38.

Distance aside, my knees were not fans of this workout either. Something about my form changes when I’m on the treadmill vs. outside. I’m not sure what it is though – I can’t figure it out. I’ve looked at video of me running on the treadmill, but haven’t managed to find anything. Nothing obvious anyway. But there’s a huge difference in how it feels. I’m now wondering if it has to do with the way my muscles engage on the foot strike. Because the belt is moving forwards, I wonder if I’m not pushing my leg through the stride as you would have to outside, and instead just letting the belt carry my foot backwards until my calf muscles engage. This would obviously be a massive difference from outside, and may cause instability in the knee. No idea if this is what is happening, but I know that whatever is happening is not good.

When I finished the run today my knees were swollen. I could feel them swollen as I sat on the couch trying to not rage. Swelling has gone down now and they feel mostly back to normal, but that wasn’t a good feeling. I really don’t think I can run on the treadmill anymore. I just don’t get it. It’s frustrating.

Does anyone else have these kinds of problems? Other than running outside or indoor track are there any solutions? Any advice? Anything?

OUTSIDE!!!

58573104The sun was shining when I got home from work. I was looking forward to it all day long. The first chance this year (for me) to run outside!

I’m a notorious cold weather wuss when it comes to working out. In honesty, its less the cold and more the ice and snow. So today, at 5 degrees C, the sidewalks were clear and mostly dry and with daylight savings time now in full swing – the sun still up when I get home from work – I ventured forth into the sunshine for an OUTDOOR RUN!

And what a run. I love Garmin, but seriously, screw you Garmin! I’ve been complaining on here and on Twitter for some time now about how inaccurate the watch is at pacing treadmill runs. Well today I proved Garmin wrong definitively by punching out 11 km averaging 5:19/km!

I know, I know, for “real” runners, that’s not fast at all. But I’ll remind you – I’m not a real runner. I’m a normal guy. Last year at this time.. actually let me check… Yep, my first run recorded in TrainingPeaks for 2016 was on May 17. 8.5 km on a 6:44/km pace.

18 may 2016 2
18 May 2016
18 may 2016 1
18 May 2016

Today’s 11 km on 5:19 feels pretty special. I’d say its safe to say I’m starting off this season a bit farther along than I was last time around. Not to mention that I’m now sitting just two pounds heavier than an all time (since I was… 18) low body weight – about 17 pounds less than I was on 18 May 2016, and 23 pounds less than I was a year ago today, and 58 pounds less than I was at my peak weight!

17 march 2017 2
17 March 2017
17 march 2017 1
17 March 2017

Haha. Really looking forward to seeing what the rest of this spring has in store for me. I need more than a few more degrees warmer to get my bike out of the basement, and I’m sure I’ll be back on the treadmill in a few days while winter sorts itself out, but for now I’m going to pretend like those things aren’t true and just smile away.

If it’s nice wherever you are, get out there and RUN!

I hate Treadmills

They’re the worst. Treadmills are awful. I’m very angry with mine right now.

I’m skeptical at the best of times that I’m getting “as good” a workout from treadmills as I do from outside. There are obvious benefits – pacing being out of my control is one of them. I find it much easier to sustain a difficult pace on a treadmill than out in the real world. But that also has me thinking that I should be better at sustaining a pace in the real world, and that I need practice doing this – in the real world. Not on a treadmill.

I’m also skeptical that bio-mechanically, everything is sound while running on a treadmill. It’s a belt. It can slip. It does slip. That’s one of the things I hate about it. Even after tightening it so it doesn’t slip perceptibly I’m still very skeptical that it isn’t slipping imperceptibly and causing hellish problems within my knees. It wouldn’t take much to irritate the soft tissue beneath the patella. That’s a road that leads straight back to my winter injury. And I really think like my ground contact time is way longer on a treadmill than it is when I’m outside. I don’t have any way of measuring that with my current tools, and it doesn’t really matter, but if my stride is different on the treadmill vs. outside, that’d bad. I don’t fully understand the pure bio-mechanics of it, but seriously, how could it be good?

But what really grinds my gears is that I can’t get accurate distance/pace from the treadmill. Or rather, TrainingPeaks won’t accept an adjusted distance/pace and recalculate my IF to generate an accurate TSS score for the workout. My Garmin Fenix 3HR, which I adore – except on the treadmill – tries to estimate pace using accelerometers. If it worked properly that’d be great. Last night, however, it missed my pace by ~20-35 seconds per km, and missed my distance by over 800m. And it was on the slow side, so I looked even more like a weenie when the workout got posted to Strava!Strava - Fenix lies

800m is completely unacceptable. And from what I’ve read online the foot pod that Garmin makes is not a suitable solution – might be accurate at the pace it is calibrated but as pace changes the accuracy goes out the window. These new running power meters may also be a solution some day but for now it looks like they’re completely useless on the treadmill – more so than just a plain old foot pod.

But given the issues I have with treadmills I think my days using them are up. Later this week the temperatures are supposed to be above freezing, so I may actually have a clean sidewalk to run on. I have the gear for it. But I’m not a fan of slipping and sliding all over the place.

But enough is enough. As nice as it is to watch Jack Bauer beat up terrorists while sweating in my warm house, when the sidewalks are clear the treadmill is turning into a “last resort” tool.

Sorry, Neighbours.

I was up a bit earlier than usual today to spend some time on the treadmill. The next few days are pretty busy in my personal life, so needing to carve out some time to spend running is necessary. That happens.

I’d forgotten how difficult it is to run on sleeping muscles though. Strangely, you wouldn’t know it from looking at my pace and hr graphs from today compared to two days ago (I did basically the same workout – 50 mins slow pace build).

8 March 2017 Run
8 March (PM) (71.9 TSS @ 136 avg HR)
10 March 2017 Run
10 March (AM) (66.8 TSS @ 131 avg HR)

After a few minutes of jogging, seems like my body warmed up nicely. I was actually expecting this run to be a minor sufferfest since I swam & biked yesterday evening. Relatively speaking, lots of volume in the last 14 hours. Lots more to come though. Nice to see some minor gains too. Running is coming back. Should be back to normal pace in a few weeks, and then building on that soon after.

Still, even with the workout going reasonably well, which is obviously a great thing, I find it tough to mentally get up for the workout. When I schedule evening workouts I spend the day looking forward to them, excited to get home & crank some watts or see what I can do. But the morning workouts require me to go from zero (literally, asleep) to 100 in minutes.

Today, that change meant a bit of a mental mistake. I have two siberian husky dogs. They’re great, usually. We have a bit of a morning routine, but the morning workouts do not factor into that routine at all.

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Scout likes her bed and pizza.

In brief, they go out when I get up, come back in a few minutes later, and then usually go back outside shortly after that. On a normal day, I am sitting with my cereal and able to let them in when they’re ready. Today not so much.

Started normal. Out, in, back out.. but then treadmill. And then shower. It wasn’t until after I got out of the shower that I realized I’d left one of them outside. And I could tell she wasn’t happy by the barking and jumping at the door. So apologies to my neighbours. My bad. I’ll do better next time. They’re cute – that counts for something, right?