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Another record holder speaks
RE: Women runs 520 miles on treadmill in 7 days but doesn't get WR as Guinness says her witness doesn't count
Mikhaylove: The longest I ran on the treadmill before was about 35 miles, so I was able to notice that it is quite different from running on the roads. First of all, I’m not a road runner. I’m not a treadmill runner. I’m a mountain runner. I only did this record because it seemed like it was doable. I’ve done a couple road races and they definitely aren’t my specialty. I’m not fast; I’m not fast on the road at all. I’m in [the] Hardrock 100 this year—that’s my kind of thing.

From my limited time on the treadmill I understood that it’s different from regular running outside because first of all, there seems to be a little bit different muscles involved and, second of all, mentally, after a couple hours your brain gets confused because your legs are moving but your scenery doesn’t change. It’s a very different kind of situation—you have to keep your mind sharp the whole time, to know what’s going on. Many times in road racing, or any kind of ultra racing, it’s a very good thing mentally to just zone out and run on autopilot. The problem here is that you cannot do that. Once you turn autopilot on, automatically something will happen: you will stop and slide off the treadmill or you will grab the handles accidentally or something will happen. Considering that, my pacing strategy was very conservative. I didn’t want to—I know I have a tendency of going fast in the beginning so I had a friend Elena Makovskaya who knows me pretty well—she was pacing me at several ultra events.

So, I let her handle my pacing completely—she knows my weakness of going out too fast and she didn’t let me do that. I’m happy for that: the first 30 or 40 miles were pretty effortless. Then I just started to suffer but was able to pull it off. My pace was still a little faster in the first half but not dramatically. I was able to have a smooth pace, which is probably how it should be on the treadmill.

iRunFar: Was she pushing the dials?

Mikhaylove: Exactly. The rules were a little unclear. They say you are allowed to change the speed, obviously, but they also say that you aren’t allowed to make a lot (?) of contact with the treadmill. Just to play it safe, I had someone else pushing all the buttons for me. I was just asking someone to bump it up or take it down a little. Mentally it was absolutely destroying: having to watch the numbers doesn’t let you relax. You have to call out every mile. All these papers have comprehensive logbooks where you write every mile and the time, so I had to call out every mile I did. I had to pay attention to all the numbers.

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