Visit the mill

A lot of people like to run on treadmills. I am not one of them.

But faced with the challenge of a marathon specific run aimed at hitting target paces, the chances of successfully completing the workout in the cold and wind were pretty slim. So, instead, I opted to visit the treadmill, allowing me to control the pace.

Under the plan devised by running coach Greg McMillan, the goal today was to run a 90-minute progression run: 30 minutes at my normal pace, 30 minutes at marathon pace and 30 minutes at half marathon pace. The goal behind the workout is to run faster as the run progresses, training your body to increase speed even as get further into the run. It’s a workout that is supposed to leave you tired from its duration.

Mission accomplished.

As the run started, I eased into the warmup by gradually picking up the pace. At the 30-minute mark, I bumped up the speed to marathon pace. My legs were beginning to feel a bit of a burn near the end of that phase, so I draped a towel over the monitor.

At the hour mark, again I bumped the speed up to my half marathon pace. Just 8 minutes into the last phase, my legs really began to burn and I wondered if I’d be able to push through it. Wiping away the sweat, I made sure to keep that towel draped over the monitor so I didn’t think about the time remaining in the workout. Then, with about 10 minutes to go, I realized how good I felt cardiovascularly and even contemplated pushing beyond the 90-minute mark.

With 12 miles down, though, I chose to shut it down. A tough, but rewarding, workout – one that should help pay dividends for the upcoming Surf City Marathon. In the past, I’ve struggled with this workout on the roads, so the decision to crank it out on the treadmill turned out to be a good one.

Here are some other thoughts for today:

  • While on Twitter this morning, I came across this article on strength training for runners. It’s written by Matt Fitzgerald, who I regard as one of the best writers on running in the business. He’s published several books about the sport, and using his journalism background, really boils down complicated subjects in a very readable fashion.
  • On a sad note, a great American runner died earlier this week. Wes Santee, a world-class runner from Kansas in the 1950s, was one of 3 athletes with a legitimate shot at running a sub 4-minute mile, coming within .51 hundredths of being the first man to do it. His story, along with those of Roger Bannister and John Landy, is chronicled in The Perfect Mile, the first running book I recall reading. It’s a great read, and I highly recommend it. Here’s a nice tribute to Santee on Run Blog Run.
  • Best of luck to Kathleen Wrigley, a Fargo runner I featured in a column in The Forum before the marathon here last spring. On Sunday, she’ll be running the Philadelphia Marathon – the 7th time she’ll be running the 26.2-mile distance.
  • And for those looking for results from the Oct. 30 Red River Run in Fargo, the results have finally made their way online. Click here to search the race results.

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