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Programming the Perfect Run Routine

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For those of us who are fortunate/unfortunate to live in parts of the world with four seasons, running in winter is a challenge.

I love the winter: the snow, skiing, mulled wine and the Jagerbombs. I also love the adrenaline rush running gives me, the feeling of freedom and the after-training chocolate bar. What I despise is wearing five layers of clothing, the salty-dirty-mushy roads, dark streets at 4PM and the high-vis jackets.

A couple of years ago I decided to ditch the nonsense and retreat to the gym. It’s not my favorite place on Earth and the treadmill is probably the most hated piece of equipment invented by man, but at least it’s indoors where it’s warm, bright and dry.

It took me some time to come up with a routine that helps fight the monotony and gets me through the winter, without going crazy. It’s not a wonder-solution that works for everybody, just some training aids and hacks I’m using. Consider it a work in progress.

So, here we go! My “Super-duper Winter Indoor Running Routine”:

Crank it up!

The treadmill is boring. I wouldn’t be surprised if the real reason for its invention was to torture spies back in the Cold War. To fight boredom, I switched from the long, slower runs to shorter, high intensity sessions. My goal is to get as much training as I can in the shortest time possible. The constant speed of the treadmill helps me get faster and the belt’s soft shock absorption prevents injuries.

Use training videos

Monotonous running is a mood killer, so I needed some multimedia to get my mind occupied. TV shows and movies don’t cut it. They lack the dynamics and rhythm to keep me in the zone and I constantly found myself slowing down. While looking for ways to boost my indoor bike spins, I came across The Sufferfest. They offer training videos mainly for cyclists, but there are a few for runners too. However, I find that the cycling videos do the job just as good, sometimes even better.

Listen to the right music

I never was a big fan of listening to music during runs. The constant style and tempo changes were annoying and they threw me out of the zone. Spotify changed that completely, introducing a service for runners that mixes music based on cadence. Songs are glued together seamlessly into a continuous, endless piece. Tempo can only be changed manually, which most people would consider a caveat, but for me it’s a motivator. It helps me keep the cadence, no matter what. There are quite a few playlists to choose from, some are better than others and there’s one that’s mixed together based on your taste.

That’s it. Next time you’re stuck in the gym, make your treadmill runs interesting and the training useful. Keep it positive; it’s only two more months until we can see the sun again.

Have any routines of your own down to a science? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!