Surviving 15K on the treadmill

A good part of last night was spent hogging one of treadmills in the gym. And, sadly the person running beside me was not the guy in the clipart. 

But I had a great running partner last night, I recruited Vicky to run the 15K with me. Misery is truly best shared with a friend.

It was not the most exciting way to spend a Friday night but definitely better than getting a drenching with the possibility of catching a cold. I needed to log 15K yesterday, if not, I’d be so far off my target weekly mileage.

If you run at my pace, 15K is a mind-boggling distance. Running in place, staring ahead or watching TV helps but it is still boooooooring!

Here are some of the tricks I used to survive my 15K treadmill run. 

1. Divide and conquer. Just like in long runs, it gets easier if you have a mini-stop or goal distance in mind rather than one big intimidating chunk. Last night, I decided to divide my run into 3 5K segments. My strategy is to do a 5K segment, rest, stretch and continue. Mentally, this made it the distance manageable for me .

2. Speedplay. Unless you have an uberdeveloped inner Garmin, chances are you don’t run a consistent speed over  X distance. When I run outdoors, my pace varies and fluctuates. I do wish I run a more even pace but I’m not yet there. Knowing this in advance, I made sure that I also varied the speed of the treadmill. I would speed up for 200m then slow down for 500m and other combos. 

3. More on speedplay. Since I was stuck on the treadmill, I decided to incorporate speedplays. This also helps in fighting off boredom. I tried 200m speed repeats at 14kph. Boredom was the farthest thing on my mind. I was more concerned about …. form? Err no, more like survival and not flying off the treadmill. But this is a good way to do interval workouts. Even pace or fly! 

4. Count. When I run, I always count my steps. My kindergarten teacher would be so proud of me now. I can count up to a hundred! I count to keep me focused. I count to keep my mind occupied. I count to distract myself from the distance. I count to survive hard intervals. I count.

Along the way, I learned that counting can help me improve my running cadence.

Running cadence / Stride rate = The number of steps you take on averageper minute. Elite runners run at a stride rate of 180-190 steps per minute.  This improves our running economy. A better running economy results in lower energy use. So it makes it possible for you to go longer, further and faster. Click here to read the article on running cadence.

If I’m doing it right, my cadence should be 3 steps per minute *erase erase* i mean per second (side effect of running 15K on the treadmill. sorry!). 3 x 60 = 180. This is easy to do when on the treadmill. Start counting.

Before you watch the running shrimp I just want to remind you folks that  running on the treadmill is a great alternative but if you plan on hitting the road races I would not recommend doing most of your training on the treadmill. According to, “One of the “laws” of training, is the law of specificity.This simply means that your training should be as specific as possible to your training goal. In other words, your training should match your goal as closely as possible. You are training to run outside on the road, trail or track and run races, not to run on a treadmill. There are physical differences, which include lack of wind resistance, lack of changing terrain, running on a moving belt, bio-mechanical differences and psychological differences.”

Time for the shrimp, enjoy!

7 thoughts on “Surviving 15K on the treadmill

  1. your article reads 3 steps per minute hmmm … would be about 180 steps per hour (probably if shrimps had legs … maybe, and i said that with a straight face =)

    however still a cool article bards, reminds me to borrow a foot pod to time my cadence rate per minute

  2. wilson – ang bitin sa mileage, kahit sa treadmill tatakbo. 😛 wait, ikaw yung nakita ko sa Heritage kanina right?

    mari – sorry po. side effect of my 15K treadmill run hehehe. did you race today? didn’t see you but then again, you might have been just a blur. loved the weather earlier! made to order for a long run.

  3. 15K on a treadmill??? Grabe, that’s mind boggling for me. I haven’t tried that yet. I doubt if I could ever do it.

    i know! unthinkable … until last Friday. 🙂

  4. Dear Bards – With all the Road Running you do how do you still find time to do 15K on a treadmill? Siguro naman in your dreams di ka na tumatakbo!!! Very good recommendations though on what to do on the treadmill.

    wait. im trying to recall… no ive never had a dream about running or being in a race.

    hay! come 2010, maybe i should scale down to 5K races. imagine, i only need to do 10K long run. 😀

  5. Hey Bards, congrats on surviving the treadmill. I am a treadmill survivor many times over so I have learned to love it na rin. Last Wed night, I did 18K on the mill for Cory!

    I used the treadmill to commit to muscle memory a particular pace, say my target marathon pace. But I also use the mill to do speedplays and intervals.

    haha 18?!? mas astig. good luck sa training!

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