Ever since I major strained my Posterior Tib Calf muscle a few weeks ago and STILL went out on a long run that resulted in me falling and spraining my ankle, I've been afraid to do my long runs outdoors. It's no secret that Chicago weather has been pretty cold lately. And there's nothing worse than wanting to give up on a run and realizing you are still at least 5 miles from home. And then you can't even walk those 5 miles back home because it's so cold that your hands and feet etc. go numb. So then you you have to choose the freezing cold option or the hobbling on not happy legs back home.
Also since it's winter the Chicago Lakefront path which normally is a glorious stretch of bathrooms and water fountains during the spring/summer/fall becomes a closed barren somewhat intimidating path. You have to carry your water bottle and hope it doesn't freeze AND really really not have to go to the bathroom or you're stuck going off path and hoping you stumble onto a Starbucks. Basically it kind of sucks. At least for the long runs for me, I'm just not used to this style of running. I've done plenty of short runs on the path and am so so grateful to live so close to it. But yeah those runs that are 3 plus hours, not so fun.
So I decided to do the seemingly unthinkable and start doing my super long runs indoors at the gym. Most of my runner friends think I am CRAY CRAY for doing this. But honestly I sort of love it! First of all Saturdays ABC Family has back to back to back romantic comedies! All of which I love and basically have already seen before. Start in the middle of "Confessions of a Shopaholic?" No Prob! Need to see the grand finale of "A Lot Like Love"? Makes those last miles 14-18 not quite so bad! Ashton Kutcher declaring his love to Amanda Peet can get me through ANY tough run.
I hope that if you are going to do a long run indoors then you have access to a TV! That's my number one pro of running indoors!
Here is what I packed to do my long run.
Banana - another PRO I can never run with bananas they get all mushy!
Water Bottle to refill
Towel for all that SWEAT!!
ProCompression Socks (wouldn't normally wear these indoors but I figured why not?)
I basically set the treadmill to end after 5 miles. Ran to the bathroom real quick and ate my banana, refilled the water bottle and hopped back on for another 5 miles. Repeated again for 15 miles total. When I did the 18 miler I just added one more interval of 3 miles. Since I had to refill my water bottle after each interval I even switched treadmills to get a lil variety!
Now am I going to run any of my Chicago long runs indoors this summer? Heck no! (Well maybe if it's pouring rain!) But when I start training for New Orleans Rock N Roll Marathon this winter, if it's too cold out, then you better believe I'll be indoors.
Running outdoors in the somewhat terrible conditions can actually cause you to put TOO much effort into your long runs. So sometimes you don't have to stick to the strict mileage for the day. But I also think sometimes it's OK to take your run indoors. After all the key is to play it safe and NOT get injured.
Our minds and our bodies don't always communicate properly. I think that in running A LOT of it has to do with our minds. Yeah our bodies will carry us so far and we do have limitations, but our minds are what is gonna push us even further.
So what about you? Run indoors or outdoors? What's your style?