Advent of the Treadmill

or Trying to Run and Making Mistakes

Thoughts before

I've been getting increasingly into riding my bike over the past year. From not being a very active person at all I'm now able to cover some moderate distances on my bike relatively fast. Fun!

It's getting cold and dark. It's way below 0 degrees outside and it will remain so for the next months. It also gets dark long before I am done with work. Cycling around town and exploring is fun. However I've found it hard to be motivated for regular exercise sessions on my bike.

I need to try something different to stay active. Earlier this week I impulsively signed up for a gym membership for the month of December.

I intend to give jogging on treadmills a serious go and to create a log of my experience here. Treadmills are tedious and the other people at the gym make me a bit nervous. So why do this?

First of all, getting out of my comfort zone is only good for me. Second of all, it's a project and I enjoy having projects :)

Daily log

Day one

I was starting to get bored. Can't let that happen! So I impulsively signed up for a gym and thought I'd try jogging.

Arrived at 19:00. The gym was larger than I expected. Many people and loud music. On the second floor I found a room with no music and mostly treadmills. Should work.

Turned on a podcast and did on-and-off jogging for 45-60 minutes. I'm feeling surprisingly OK, if a little bit bored with the static view.

My feet got irritated and red, and quite painful. They're obviously not used to running.

Day two

Arrived at 21:15, 45 minutes before closing. Very few people! That's great! I could pick exactly the treadmill I wanted to, in a safe corner.

Jogged on-and-off until they closed. I felt alright, but I found it a bit harder to keep up today compared to yesterday.

Jogging is clearly different from cycling! It's much heavier in every way. Thus far I'm finding it harder to get into a flow. Hopefully this gets easier over time.

Both of my feet developed some serious blisters. I bought some gel plasters on the way home, drained the blisters and applied the plasters before going to bed.

Day three

Unfortunately one of the blisters got really painful, woke me up and kept me awake several times during the night. No fun. I (naively?) did not expect that.

I was set on heading to the gym, but my better half advised me to take one rest day and recover before I make things worse. She was right.

Walking is hard after sitting still and I'm feeling very sore. I'm not too worried about that, I think my body just has to adjust to this new way of moving.

Day four

I went to the gym at 20:00 and spent most of the upcoming hour on the treadmill. I was able to run for noticeably longer than earlier before turning to walking speeds.

My blisters have started to heal, but are still very present. They're not as painful anymore though. The soreness I felt afterwards moved more to the sides of my legs compared to earlier days.

Later in the evening my nose started bleeding. This is fairly common for me, so I'm not sure if it's connected to the running or not.

Interestingly this was the first night where running on the treadmill no longer felt completely novel. Rather, it is approaching a feeling I would associate with the norm. Quicker than I expected!

Day five

I'm finally starting to get somewhere close to achieving "the zone" I can get into when riding my bike. I'm still far away, but noticeably less so.

I arrived at 19:00 and did 2x10 minutes of jogging and then 2x5 minutes, all with relatively fast walking in between. This is roughly what I have been doing the other days as well, but it's starting to feel more solid and it comes a bit easier.

My foot started to hit the ground a bit differently today. I'm wondering if this is an automated response to the blisters. Those haven't quite healed yet. The soreness is no longer painful in the same way as before. Just present. It's also moved further to the sides of my legs.

Day six

After arriving around 15:00, I noticed instant pain in my foot when I started to run. Walking had been strange all day, but somehow I thought it would disappear when I started to run.

Because of this I sat on an exercise bikes instead. This was still good exercise and my foot didn't hurt at all. Great! Riding on a still-standing bike was boring. I missed the road. Following the World Chess Championship helped a bunch :)

Day seven

In order to make some pre-arranged plans I arrived much earlier than I usually do. And my foot was fine again! No pain. So I went back to running :)

This day went similar to day five. That's good! Day seven also feels a bit like a milestone. I'm not celebrating anything until the end though.

Day eight

Arrived around 20:00 in the evening. I'd had too much to eat for dinner and clearly payed for that when running.

I had slightly longer breaks of walking than I usually do and ran for 2x10 minutes and 1x5, which is 5 minutes less than the other days. I'm not feeling too bad about it, but I can return stronger next time!

Day nine

This evening was spent working on my bike. That is fixing it, not riding. Being a hopeless amateur bike mechanic is fun sometimes, but usually takes a lot of time.

I also ate a lot of liquorice and drank a liter of chocolate milk while making dinner. I probably shouldn't mention this since I'm sort of documenting exercise, but it feels a bit disingenuous to leave it out.

Day ten

I arrived at 18:00 today. I did 3x10 minutes. That has become the "mark of success" at this point, so I am happy :)

I took off the plasters earlier because everything looked and felt fine again. Unfortunately one of the blisters flared up again today, and I applied new ones as a result.

Things felt tough when I was running, but when I look back at it, I feel like the time passed relatively quickly!

Day eleven

Another day of 3x10 minutes! Running felt easier today, and time flew by with some fun podcasts.

Day twelve

I had plans today and I did not have time to run after work. The plans involved playing padel, so at least some activity was involved :)

Day thirteen

Played padel today as well, but since this was a saturday I had time to run as well :-) I did 20 minutes of continuos running and then ten more after a break! That is the longest yet and it feels like a step up from the usual 3x10.

There were few people at the gym; I had the place almost to myself. I addition, getting to and from the padel court involved some uphill cycling on snowy roads. What a day!

Day fourteen

Another day of 3x10 minutes. This was fun. Running starts to feel very normal. I actually like it, more than I expected to at the very least.

This time I was listening ot music instead of podcasts. This was an interesting change. I thought it would bore me, but my head had enough going on on its own. Coming to think of it, that is why I listen to podcasts in the first place; it makes my brain shut up, at least partially.

Day fifteen

My legs are hurting a lot. And for some reason they are painfully stinging when I try to get up from a squatting position or otherwise putting a lot of weight on my right knee. Not good. My foot also feels like it is lightly sprained.

I think a rest day is much needed. Luckily I am practically drowning in work to keep me occupied today.

Day sixteen

I am afraid that the pain is similar to yesterday. I will continue staying away from running. I am still cycling to work though. Cycling does not seem to trigger the pain. Furhthermore, it is not long to the office. I do not thing it will have a negative impact on my recovery.

I have started doing stretching exercises. I now realize that I should have done this from the beginning. Obvious in hindsight. Oh well, at least I am learning.

Hopefully this will get better soon.

Day seventeen

The pain is slowly but surely getting better :) I am still doing stretching exercises during the day and staying away from running.

In addition to not stretching properly, I now see that I have not been good enough at starting slowly and getting properly warmed up. I have usually done around 2-5 minutes of walking before attempting to run. In hindsight that does not seem like enough. Another learning point I guess.

I will keep at this resting and healing for as long as needed. I feel a bit sheepish for putting myself in this position. Again: learning the hard way :)

Day eighteen

My knee is getting better and so is my foot. There is still some pain, but nothing compared to just two days ago. That is great!

I am a bit sorry this whole running thing did not go as expected. I really learned a lot in a short amount of time, however! The importance of stretching and starting slow, for one thing. I also learned that running is very hard on the body; I have not had anything close to these kinds of issues when cycling.

I played padel again today and really enjoyed it. My legs and general soreness is holding me back a bit, but not enough to remove the fun from it.

Thoughts after

This has been some interesting weeks. For one thing, I discovered that running can be alright. I also learned a lot about some of the mistakes one can make when starting out. All things I kind of thought I knew. And all things I was warned about by people close to me. This shows that I can be a bit stubborn and sometimes need to learn something for myself to actually understand and take i seriously. Although often advantageous, this mindset definitely has some drawbacks as well :)

I am happy that I exposed myself to something new, made some mistakes and learned from it :)