In Which Jenn Runs 20 Miles Thanks To Jeopardy


I didn’t have to do it.

There were a million reasons not to. I had the remains of a splinter in my heel. I suspected I might be fighting off a very very low level cold. I’d already run a 17 miler, and that’s been enough marathon prep in the past, right?

But it was on the schedule, so I did it: my 20 mile training run.

Normally I knock out my good-marathon-prep-mandatory 20 miler during the National Capital 20 Miler. This is a race put on by a local running club in bare bones fashion; no medals, few spectators, just a bib and an out and back course. BUT. There is course support! Snacks and drinks I don’t have to carry FTW!

Unfortunately, this year’s race was the same morning I would just be leaving the Outer Banks, so I had to skip. That left me to tackle the dreaded distance alone. And sure, I could’ve done it outside, but then I would’ve had to worry about on course supplies and bathroom breaks and water and weather and… forget it. I’d done 20 on a treadmill before and I could do it again.

I can feel 99% of you clenching your pork butts at the mere thought. I hear you! Long distances on the treadmill can blow in a lot of ways. But sometimes they’re necessary, and to that end, I figured I’d walk you through mine to see how I cope (for more tips on long runs on the treadmill, click here).

First, supplies. I picked up Swedish Fish and a peanut butter packet for fuel, plus I have a big 32 oz water bottle that I refilled at one point (yet one advantage of the gym setting).

Next, physical prep. I slapped some KT Tape on the hip and knee that have been known to give me trouble. I also hit my chafe points with some Vaseline to prevent discomfort on that front.

Most importantly, entertainment. I think that’s where a lot of treadmill-haters get tripped up. Something about the lack of scenery changing makes you all antsy. That’s where audio comes in! Fire up your playlist, by all means – but it’s important to have a plan. The same old tracks may not cut it when the boring chips are down, so make sure you have a stash you know will excite you.

I highly recommend something with a long through line, such as a full album you love or is new to you, a movie or musical soundtrack, etc. For this occasion I decided to re-listen to the entire Hamilton soundtrack, which I have only done once before (normally I pick and choose favorites). This slammed me through almost 2.5 hours of running time! I have also successfully used Disney park show soundtracks, like Festival of the Lion King.

When the going gets rough, though, music alone may not be enough. I know some people like to watch TV on the treadmill, and that can be a good distraction – but this time around I stumbled upon a surprising distraction solution. Please try this: watch Jeopardy.

I didn’t plan this. I just glanced up at one of the gym’s many, many TV monitors and there it was. So I started to watch, and get involved with answering (questioning?), and when I next glanced down I realized 5 solid minutes of treadmill time had passed without me noticing it despite being on, I don’t know, mile 14 at the time. And so for the next half hour I focused on Jeopardy questions as hard as I could and wouldn’t you know, it worked.

So my advice to you is now this: consider intellectual game shows for your long run treadmill needs! Jeopardy! Cash Cab! Reruns of Where in the World is Carmen San Diego!

Carmen San Diego
No, but like, seriously. WHERE?

I know the treadmill is not for everyone, but I hope these tips will help make your next indoor long run more bearable. Next stop: The Baltimore Marathon!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!


  1. I love it when Jeopardy is on at my gym! I think being mentally distracted is great for running. My biggest treadmill pet peeve for long runs is that my gym's treadmills shut off after 60 minutes. So I have to restart it and then I feel like I lose some momentum.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>