I didn't know what to expect, but I knew I needed to take it to the next level because I've been on a very frustrating plateau for a very long time. And although I've been slowly and steadily improving, it's at a rate that rivals tree sloths, turtles, and growing grass. Which is to say, too slow for all the hard work that I put in.
When I first contacted Lisa about coaching me, I was running anywhere from 60-80 miles per week, and was keeping a steady marathon pace of a little under 8 min/ mile. I wasn't doing much cross training. At all. In fact, I didn't even consider cross-training exercise. If it wasn't running hard, it didn't count.
When Lisa drafted my first schedule, and I saw that half the workouts involved cross training and I would only do half the running that I'm accustomed to, I was slightly alarmed. But since I had already decided to surrender to the advice and guidance of someone much more experienced and knowledgeable than myself, I decided to run with it.
First of all, the most obvious obstacle to completing Lisa's training schedule is that I hate the gym. But when half my weekly workouts involve some combination of elliptical training, cycling, yoga, and swimming, joining a gym seems like the only logical thing to do.
On my first day at the gym, I thought I would give the old treadmill a go. Sure, it wasn't cross training. But it was something different. And I realized the endless possibilities. For example, I could run at a constant pace, which is something that I'm not very good at. I'll slow down towards the ends of songs, and then speed up when they get faster. Not the most effective, but definitely the most fun. It's kind of like dancing, except you're doing the same move over and over again.
Apparently, when I run on a treadmill, this doesn't change.
Several times on my inaugural treadmill run, I got sucked down the conveyor belt and almost flew off the back. Then to catch up, I overcompensated and ran too fast, crashing into the front of the treadmill. And apparently I was loud enough while doing all of this that I caused several people on the treadmills adjacent to mine to go up to the front desk and complain about the racket I was making.
Not the noise I made running into the front of the treadmill, but the noise that I made while actually running on the treadmill. Apparently I sound like a 400 pound gorilla barreling down a mountainside. I know this because a little old French lady approached me after I'd been running for 90 minutes to inform me that I was upsetting everyone on the bottom level of the gym. She said "The people at the front say you are allowed to wear whatever shoes you want, so they wouldn't stop you, and I'm not stopping you, but everyone is very upset. Do do what you like." At least she gave me an out by blaming it on my shoes. I wear barefoot running shoes, and always have. They have very little to them, and at this point (they are about 2,000 miles into their life) they basically act as a rubber glove for my feet. I might sound really loud on a treadmill because there is no buffer between the foot and the conveyor belt.
That, or there is the spirit of a very large, dense woman living inside me that is stomping in protestation every time I place one foot in front of the other.
Regardless, the treadmill is out. I'll stick to running on asphalt, and dirt, and things that are less raucous and humiliating.
The biggest disappointment from all this came when I dejectedly went home and google searched "I'm loud when I run on a treadmill". Unlike every other ailment known to man, there is a very small demographic of the population that deals with this problem. After searching for about 20 minutes, I found three or four people in total who admitted on-line that they were unfortunate enough to cause a scene at their gym when running on a treadmill.
Which, of course, leads me wonder if everyone feels the amount of stigma and shame that I do about this flaw.
And that's why I'm posting this blog. Breathe a sigh of relief, fellow stompers, you don't have to be ashamed anymore. You are not alone. I will get to the bottom of this and find a solution for all of us. Since I'm planning on trying out some regular running shoes just to see what will happen, I'll test them out on the treadmill to see if the Loud Barefooter theory holds any water. But if the regular shoes don't make a difference, I'm probably running funny, and you probably are too.