A Long Treadmill Run

Yesterday (Sunday), I did the longest treadmill session I’ve done so far – 20K and barefoot. This was my day for the weekly long run, so I did it at an LSD (Long Slow Distance) pace, which meant it took me about 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete the session.

Oddly enough, it was a very pleasant experience. I was fueled by chia fresca, as I always am now on my long runs. On the wall in front of me I have course maps of some of the races I plan to do later this year – the Around the Bay 30K, the Mississauga Marathon, the Iroquois 32K Trail Test, and the Port Credit 52K Pickup Ultra – plus an elevation profile of the Comrades 90K Ultra. Right beside the course maps, I’ve got a small whiteboard with the upcoming week’s sessions and their content listed. Between the course maps and the session notes, there’s lots there to focus on.

I’ve always used visualizations quite a lot in my training runs, and my treadmill sessons are no different. Often, those visualizations help me resolve issues that I haven’t been able to work out otherwise. As an example, yesterday, I worked on my tendency to flag at the latter stages of a run or race. (The constant speed of the treadmill helps, but that’s really only a physical help.) Towards the end yesterday’s 20K session, I used a visualization of finishing the Around the Bay 30K to get the deed done.

I come up that long, nasty climb on Spring Garden Road, turn the corner onto York Street, and head off on a much-welcome flat stretch. Cross the big bridge, and look to Hamilton Harbour on the left and Cootes Paradise Bird Sanctuary on the right. Here comes the old, big cemetery – and there, as I knew he’d be, is the Grim Reaper, complete with hood, scythe, and full-on makeup, intoning “Keep going, keep going. The end is nigh.” Then it’s past Dundurn Castle, a brief turn to the left and start heading for Hamilton’s downtown area. A couple more kilometers, and I can see Copps Coliseum. Push, push, past the runners who are just drifting to the finish. One last push, and I’m entering the downramp to the Coliseum. Watch that nasty steel grate, turn a hard right, and… Yes! I’m in the Coliseum buidling itself. I’m heading into the finish chute, and here’s that nice big timing clock. Arms up high in celebration, and I’m done!

Treadmill trance indeed! That visualization helped me hold my form, helped me feel comfortable with my speed, so I could finish that long 20K session feeling upbeat and happy.

Heck, I’ll do whatever works!


  1. I am doing around the bay this year and want to visualize the route before. What do you use for visualization? Thanks

    1. John, on the wall in front of my treadmill are route maps of the next two or three races I’m doing. That’s the start – it gives me a chance to imagine the general lay of the land. It helps a lot if I’ve done the race before. Then, I can actually “see” various parts of the race. If I haven’t done the race before, I look for YouTube videos of past editions of the event, so I have some sense of what it’s like. Sometimes, I just let my mind wander at bit at the beginning of a treadmill run, until it “lands on” something about a particular race – the start line, the finish, as section of the course I really enjoyed – and let the picture grow in my mind. Hope that helps.

  2. I just purchased the Nordic Track A2550 Pro treadmill after months of researching..I’m having it delivered , can’t wait to start runnning again..hard to get out everyday in this cold -5F weather. I have never run barefoot..really intrigued by your barefoot running!

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