My n=1 Treadmill Experiment

Thar be dee debil.

Thar be dee debil.

I have been having a bit of an issue with my left Achilles tendon lately and while it is annoying, it is only a grade one and is more an annoyance in the morning than anything else. All the same, it is important to me to figure out the issue at hand before it devolves into a grade two or an eventual grade four.

One of my main thoughts around this issue is that I have been running minimally with my SKORAs for sometime, and I would imagine that the ‘growing pain’ stage is through. I do not have perfect form, but I do not really suspect my form as the major issue at hand – if it was, I would have felt these issues earlier on in the past few years. The pain began to get noticeable shortly after winter started. What came with winter? Snow, slippery roads, and the use of the treadmill. As I have mentioned before, the treadmill is awful for form. It is a 100% unnatural way of running, but as has been alluded to here and elsewhere, there are times the treadmill is a necessary evil.

Since the week of September 14, I have been running around 55 and 60 miles with an average weekly pace between 6:50-7:10. I have been doing one long run (~6:55-7:10) and one tempo (~6:10-6:15) paced workout with durations of about 1.5-2 hours and 45-60 minutes, respectively. My typical training week consists of three days outside, a day on the treadmill, two outside, and another on the treadmill. I am going to change this to four days outside, one on the treadmill, one outside, and one more on the treadmill. (3/1/2/1 to 4/1/1/1). Ideally I would go to 5/2, but schedules do not allow for it.

I will be running 40+ miles on the first four days, 5.5 on the treadmill days and another 9-10 on the standalone outside day for just over 60 miles.

What I am hoping to find is that my AT soreness is less severe on day four of my weekly cycle and that after running on the treadmill, it will be sore in the morning. My mileage will be around the same, and I will not change the type of workouts I have been doing. Next week is the first week of the ‘new’ schedule so we’ll see what happens.

I know this is utterly and completely biased. I hate my treadmill and want every excuse to hate it, but none-the-less it should be interesting to see how things feel and if there is any noticeable difference.  Come on spring…

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10 thoughts on “My n=1 Treadmill Experiment

  1. Interesting read. I developed extensor tendonitis in my one foot and I swear it’s because I was running on the treadmill more (2 x 75 minute runs a week). Then I would run on ice and snow and uneven surfaces outside. My one foot has biomechanical issues as I don’t have 100% mobility in my big toe joint thanks to a previous surgery so I think that also contributed. I’m convinced the treadmill started it all though. Treadmills are a great option in certain circumstances, but for me, I have to limit how much I run on them.

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    • I think that’s kind of where I am, too. On roads and trails I’m good, but something about the ‘mill just throws me all wonky. My ‘mill workouts are usually just 5.5-6.5 miles and don’t go over 50 minutes. I wonder if I had the patience to crank out a 10 miler how I’d feel.

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      • I say don’t attempt a 10 miler on it! I’m going to keep any future treadmill work to under an hour from now on myself (likely 45 minutes tops).

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  2. I did a lot of my streak last year on the treadmill. It was a necessary evil during the week since I work, have kids — all that. I had an Achilles issue that also grew into a shin problem post run. I had switched to minimal shoes, but after 2/2.5 months, I switched back to my Asics, did a lot of ice and wore compression socks post run (post run is key; not during a run). It felt much better after I dropped my minimal shoes, I hate to say. I do wonder if it was a combo of the shoes and treadmill – b/c I always felt better on the roads/trails. Don’t we all!

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      • I was running in Inno8s. I’ve heard great things about Skoras. I think my problem was (is) that I wear heels during the week to work (I like to look you men directly in the eyes 🙂 ), then would go to zero drop to run. Talk about buggered up — that definitely confused my body! I hope you work out your problem. Some focused stretching would do you well, too.

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      • I’ve often wondered about that heel-to-zero thing for women. Can’t imagine it helps anything… I’ve been doing loaded calf raises and eccentric heel drops. Any other suggestions?

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      • Oh, it doesn’t help a thing. But the style points are pretty awesome. 😉 I did those stretches where you “write” the alphabet with each foot. They help the calf and shin. Also ice & compression, if you can sit still that long! Always a challenge for me. A blog friend also sent some other good stretches. Let me see if I can dig them up. Oh, and I did drop back my mileage a bit. Your weekly mileage & pace are impressive, by the way!

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