Cheater Treadmill 5K Equals Hanging On

Today, I did a Cheater 5K and am still proud of how well I ran.

The breeze was coming out of the Northwest, well I guess it was a bit more than a breeze since the weather app said it was pretty steady at 20 mph and gusting higher. When you add that to temps in the mid 20’s, that is well below my personal safety threshold for running outside.

Which meant another treadmill session.

Last night I had a sneaking suspicion looking at the forecast that I would be indoors today and had thought about what I wanted to do for my “faster” session today. In the end I figured that if I had to do a treadmill today that I was going to see how long I could last at race pace (well at least what I would love my race pace to be).

At this point I would love to be able to maintain a sub 7:00 minute pace for a 5K, something I have not done for a while.

However, I am not in that kind of shape physically or mentally at this point in my training. So I will be honest that going in, I didn’t have a lot of confidence that I could do the whole run at that pace, which meant that I wouldn’t do it even if I could do it.

As Henry Ford once said and something that I had posted in my classrooms when I was a teacher.

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.

Guess what – he was right.

I did a mile warm-up at 7.0 mph, stopped, reset my playlist – for speedwork on the treadmill I like to listen to Heilung (a German group that I don’t understand anything they say, but the beat is perfect for me and running faster), composed myself and set the speed to 8.7 mph and ran.

The first mile wasn’t bad, actually I felt quite strong and thought that I would be able to get at least 2.0 miles in at that pace.

Err no. I got to 1.10 and I lost my focus. My fault and I know exactly what happened. One of my neighbors got on the treadmill next to me and while I didn’t acknowledge him or anything, I lost it. I got to thinking about a few other things unrelated to running fast on that damn treadmill.

Where is that mental toughness Harold…something as minor as someone you know getting on a treadmill beside you shouldn’t cause you to loose focus that easily. Well it did. I made it to 1.30 and had a choice to make.

  1. Either slow down and change the workout or
  2. Reach out with my right hand and hang on to the treadmill and not change the speed.

I chose number 2.

Yeah, I know that this treadmill cheating, screws with your form, is not exactly running the same speed and all that other nonsense. However, at the same time it forces my legs to keep turning over at a faster than usual speed and while it might be a quick rest mentally, it is a faster recovery period than I would do otherwise.

The rest of the 5K was still done at 8.7 mph, but every 0.1, I would alternate holding on to the treadmill with my right hand and then running hands-free. With that idea in my head I completed the next 1.8 miles.

That is why I call this run a Cheater 5K, since I didn’t do it without holding onto the treadmill, but at the same time judging by how wet my t-shirt was, it was still a quality workout.

I even got a compliment from my neighbor once I got done. I walked for a quarter mile to get the body back to normal.

Then I did a mile cool-down at 7.0 mph.

The Reebok RunFasts did a great job. No issues with the shoes, so I can’t blame them at all for anything – they did exactly what they were supposed to do.

The reality is that

While I did hang-on to the treadmill way too much for the last 1.8, my legs held up quite nicely at race pace for the 5K distance. Which was a huge confidence builder!!! It means that my body CAN DO IT, now I just have to get the brain to figure out that I will not die if I attempt to run a sub 21:20 (it would be a new post-55 PR).

Now I “know” it is possible for me to run that fast, I almost did it today. Every so often I will repeat this workout to see where I am in regards to my readiness to chase after that fast 5K.

The other thing is that I am following another Shaw on Strava and his running has motivated me to believe that I can take my running up a notch or two, even though I am past that 60 age group marker. While I am not in John Shaw’s class by any stretch of the imagination, since I started following him on Strava, his runs do give me permission to believe that I can run faster than I thought that I could. He is older than I am and running much faster times. I have to live up to that Shaw surname and the example he has given me.

Now to loose that 15 pounds, train smahter (control the things I can) and not be stoopid about things that I can’t control. I want to do it, now to actually get out there and do it, without injuring or breaking the old fart’s body. 😉

I will get there, but now to do the process to get there and yes, it is a process.