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January 10, 2014

On The Run: The habits of highly effective treadmill runners

$ID/[None]0000LightBlueAfter a mild fall, local runners have had to deal with serious weather conditions this winter: At times there has been heavy snow, pounding rain and, in recent days, bitter cold and ice.

Some hardy souls are continuing to run outside, but many others opt for the safer, if less interesting, choice of the treadmill.

Personally, I can’t stand treadmills. They’re deadly dull and can be mind-numbing, but they’re absolutely invaluable when you want to get a run in without having to worry about slipping or getting hit by a car. Most of us don’t have our own treadmills at home, so it’s off to the gym, where in the New Year’s crush it’s often difficult to find an empty machine.

But eventually, you find one. Here are some tips to help you maximize the experience:

Choose the right machine. Nowadays, most treadmills are situated in front of televisions, which can be good or bad. It’s good because TV can distract you from the fact you’re running on a treadmill. I once ran 18 miles on a treadmill armed with only a Walkman (if you don’t know what that is, ask your parents) and one cassette (again, ask your parents … Hey, it was a long time ago). I honestly don’t know how I did it; I was supposed to do an 18-mile long run as part of my Boston Marathon training and I didn’t feel like running three hours in a torrential rainstorm. Having a TV to watch would have been a godsend.

But if you get stuck in front of a set that’s tuned to programming you don’t particularly care for, it can make the run fairly difficult. One Saturday morning, I was stuck watching the psychedelic nightmare of a children’s show “The Doodlebops” for several miles before a gym staff member rescued me (if you’ve never seen it, consider yourself lucky).

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