My running journey took a turn earlier this year when my family and I joined the local YMCA. There are a lot of reasons we chose to join there over competing gyms. Ultimately, our decision was made to join the YMCA due to these factors:
Large Class List
The running track! I use an App on my Pebble Watch to help count how many laps I complete. I get around the track in under a minute, so it can be hard to do all that counting in your head.
I don’t have a problem running on the treadmill. In fact, I ran on one December-March of last year without complaint. Ok, I mean there was some complaint. Treadmills are physically and mentally challenging. I consider myself an outdoor distance runner, but I can still achieve awesome running goals by running on a treadmill. While I choose to run outdoors, running on the treadmill provides an entirely different set of challenges. I change the pace, I change the elevation, it’s hot, and it can be boring. Those are the biggies.
The first few runs at the YMCA were on the treadmill as I got used to the whole process of getting to the gym, checking the kids in, checking myself in, changing, and going upstairs to work out. The whole thing is a lot of work. It’s a lot easier to just step out the front door and go for a run. However, with Winter and the littles, I just can’t step out the door.
The first time I ran around the track I did 3 miles or 30 laps. 10 laps equals 1 mile at my YMCA. These laps went SO FAST. I couldn’t believe it. There was so much to see. There was a lot of maneuvering. I could listen to my music louder. I could take a drink if I chose to. Oh my gosh, you guys – I could go to the bathroom if I wanted to.
There is a certain security and ease to running laps. Especially, coming from a runner who put on 10 pounds of gear to go run in the cold, snow, ice and dark the last 3 months. I seem to be running slower on the track but I am still deciding how accurate the track is when I am running on the outside of it in the “fast lane”.
Oh, yeah. Another reason I like the track at the YMCA – I run in the fast lane.
So, two weekends ago my training instructed me to run a 10 mile long run. Unfortunately, in Minnesota that weekend we got ice and snow on a Friday night. This was followed by a near sub-zero degree Saturday. There was no way I was going to suit up for 10 miles in the cold and wear YakTrax to keep from slipping on the ice. That is me asking for not only an unpleasant run, but also risk getting injured doing something like that.
I decided to take my 10 mile run to the YMCA track. I actually ran 100 laps! It still went by pretty fast. I definitely think the change mentally for me is what keeps running laps interesting. I got pretty tired by mile 8, and was getting a little sick of feeling like a hamster on it’s wheel.
Like any run, anywhere you chose to run, when you get to those last few miles or minutes – think of how far you have come! I try to trick my brain to feel at ease when I get to the end of a long run. I can often feel a little panicked and jittery upon completing a long run. Like, I just want to get home or I start worrying about what the kids have been doing. I remain calm as much as I can.
This day I ran 100 laps, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. In the scheme of things, it may not be the farthest I ever have to run on the track, but I will always remember it as the first time I ran 100 laps of awesome!
Do you ever run on a track at the gym? Do you enjoy it?