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Treadmills. Always hated them. I went to the rec center in college and ran on the treadmill because that is what you do in a rec center. I would run but I would get so bored that I (if there were no good looking women to stare at) would quit and go find something more interesting to do like picking lint off the carpet .
I have started training in ernest for the marathon/ultra/triathlon and the treadmill is integral to this program. Why? Training needs to increase in miles per week and running out of the house is not always feasible. Training in days per week needs to increase and I find that there are days/weeks when I am not able to go running. But I think the treadmill itself is integral to training for long races because one needs to get used to being bored but still performing. Even running with a friend, we would not be talking much during a race and we would be left to our own mental gymnastics. I am firmly good at dealing with long times of being left to myself for entertainment but in recent years, I have gotten used to having something to do constantly like online games and blogging. Heck, I will probably still be blogging, tweeting, or facebooking during those long races. I will still bring an iPod with music and audiobooks but I still think that keeping my mind on the race is the best course. In the past, I have focused on the numbers and monitoring my body during those long miles. I will still do this in these future races but those really long ones will tax my attention and I will need to get used to not doing anything for long periods.
Anyone out there run long races? What do you do to cope with the long down time?