This morning my companion Sue completed eight miles on the treadmill as part of her preparation for an upcoming half-marathon in April. No matter how you look at it, those are not easy miles on a treadmill. A long time, and lots of news to watch. Or whatever.
I’m heading out for a five-miler in raw conditions. The wind is harsh and low. Rain is spitting. Yet five minutes into the run, all will be good. Been there. Done that.
No matter the choice you make, inside or out, there are challenges to be faced. Steps to take. Paces to match. Goals to consider.
There are thousands of track athletes across the country about to go inside out. Track season starts indoors with meets from January through March. It used to be quite the thrill to race hard on the indoor track. When reasonably fit, racing indoors is like a circular basketball game. Without the ball of course. Jostling and charging for lanes. March Madness is just as real for runners as for hoopsters.
But then the indoor season would end, and outdoor track would begin. Frequently this meant a week of spring break between seasons. Then you’d venture out into the open air for a set of runs.
Invariably the first outdoor track workout was disappointing. How could you be so fit indoors and run so slow on intervals outdoors? Well, the wind often had something to do with that. But so did spatial relationships. Going from the spinning vortex of an indoor track to the vacuous expanse of a 400-meter outdoor track was an adjustment.
Perhaps you’d just run 4:30 for an indoor mile. Outdoors would produce a 4:35 if you were lucky.
It’s true for the conversion from riding the computrainer to riding outdoors. Your Ideal World FTP score doesn’t mean jack shit when you’re going up a long, long hill against the wind.
The parallel in swimming is going from the indoor pool and lap swimming to an open water environment. That’s going to be new for me this year. A challenge that may well turn me inside out at first.
Can’t say that I know what to expect. But I know what not to expect: the same results as the indoor pool. And that’s half the battle sometimes.
TRAIN HARD. COMPETE WELL.