Learning curves

I’ve recently discovered that I have a learning curve – as in a “learning to love something I previously hated.”

(hat tip to my sis for helping me come up with the idea for this blog post today)

Case in point #1: The dreadmill

You all know that I cannot stand the dreadmill. The time goes by so s-l-o-w-l-y. It’s painfully boring. It’s not at all exciting like running outside, the wind rushing through your hair, the birds chirping (well not in the winter, but you get the idea), the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the run. Nope. The dreadmill is surely some form of torture chamber for us fitness and running nuts.

BUT, I learned something this weekend. I’d rather run on the treadmill than not at all. In other words – there will be times this winter where it’s either “put up and shut up” and get that run done on the treadmill or face no running at all. And you know how I feel about not running. I miss it WAY too much to avoid it this winter on days when running outdoors is just not an option (like this weekend, hello 18″ of snow!).

So yes, I’m learning to suck it up on the treadmill. But only when I HAVE to. This weekend I managed a 5.5 mile run at a 6.7 mph pace or faster (topping out at 10 mph at the very end of the run for about a minute) and it felt awesome! I won’t lie – the first THREE miles were torture. The only thing getting me through it was the Hawaii Five-O episode I watched On Demand.  I’ve figured out that the magic number for me is getting past the 3 mile mark on the treadmill and I’m golden vs. the usual 1-mile mark it usually takes me to get my groove when running outside.

Case in point #2: I tend to get really bored when lifting super heavy and taking long rests between sets.

Enter STS mesocycle #3 this morning. Normally I dread the leg workouts in this mesocycle because there is a full 2.5 minute rest between each set. That is a LONG time in my book. But today was different. I made sure I was lifting as heavy as I could safely lift for 8 reps. And I felt it. Like whoa. My legs were deader than dead by the end of the four rounds of each leg exercise (squats, deadlifts, front squats and lunges). And it felt awesome! Normally I’d be sitting there with antsy pants the entire time, so tempted to fast forward through the rests. But today, I NEEDED that rest and it made all the difference in the world. Totally worth the 68 minutes it took to get that leg workout done.

Silly me tried to “stretch my legs out” by doing a short jaunt on the treadmill (see? look at me go on that treadmill, ha!) but ended up having to walk most of that 25 minutes because my legs were so tight that I was giving myself a nasty case of shin splints. Not good – especially since the temps are supposed to get to a “balmy” 45 degrees later this week. Hello outdoor run, you’re calling my name! 🙂

But I digress…what have YOU learned recently about your workout style that surprised you? Any interesting learning curves you’ve experienced lately?