Do you treadmill?

I’m one of those people that regardless of the weather — be it extremely hot or extremely cold — I choose running outdoors every time instead of the treadmill.

We all know the treadmill can be a great resource for runners though, and it’s a great tool when you’re trying to get some speedwork in.  But I have a huge aversion to it.  (The stationary bike also makes me cringe — there’s nothing like biking outside!  And don’t even get me started on the elliptical.  I guess I’m just an outdoorsy kind of person.)

The last time I was on a treadmill was this winter, when we had over 2 feet of snow covering our running trails, and the National Park Service has a policy where they don’t plow snow off the trails (even though it is used by many bike commuters!  Traffic was a mess everywhere during those days, since it forced a lot of people to drive instead of using alternative transportation).  I was able to find places to get my long runs in, since Hains Point in DC everyone just takes the streets, but for my weekday short runs, I was stuck to the treadmills (I should mention that the sidewalks around my area were also neglected, and we only got sidewalks back again when the snow melted weeks later.  No joke).

My problem with the treadmill?  I bore myself to death.  I can even get all into it for about 15 minutes, then it’s like “is it over yet?  Can I stop now?”  Running outside keeps me distracted.  Running on the treadmill?  3 miles is my limit, regardless of what my training plan calls for.

Before my forced treadmill runs during the winter, I hadn’t used a treadmill in well over a year, and I was fine with that.  Sometimes I think I should reconsider, since I suck at speedwork outside.  But then I remember how when I’m on the treadmill, an hour passes by but when I look at the elapsed time it is still stuck at 5 minutes.  ACK!

A friend of mine trained for the Flying Pigs Marathon exclusively on the treadmill.  While the rest of us were scrambling for places to get our runs in, she would hit the gym’s treadmill and do her 20-miler there.  Personally, I would lose my will to live if I were ever in that situation, but she was completely ok with it, and I think she’s using the treadmill for her Chicago training too.

Do you mix some treadmill runs with your training?  Or do you too despise running indoors?

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Do you treadmill?

  1. I use the treadmill WAY too much…even for my own liking. I trained for my first 2 half marathons exclusively on the ‘mill and dreaded the long runs more than anything else. (Longest run to date on a treadmill: 12 miles) I did this b/c it was too dark in the winter after work…my neighborhood is older and does not have street lights (so, pitch black and hilly/curvy roads) and downtown Birmingham is NOT safe alone after dark.

    I’ve been incorporating more outdoor runs this summer but still using the ‘mill to escape oppressive heat and humidity. However, having done my last 2 long runs outdoors, I am in LOVE and amazed at how much more quickly time seems to pass. I love fall but not looking forward to the time change b/c of the reasons above.

    My best friend trained for her 1st marathon on a treadmill too and LOVED it.

    • Time does go by faster outdoors — you can people-watch, do sightseeing, and just enjoy the outside a bit more.

      People that train for marathons on the treadmill are crazy in my book. Even if I am friends with them!

      Running in the dark sucks. I’m pretty lucky we have trails here, and I run with a group, so even if the trails are a bit isolated you’re still safe…

  2. I only treadmill when I absolutely have to, like you. It does happen more in the winter, because it sometimes is not safe to run in the dark. I still try to make it work though.

    Can’t remember the last time I ran on a treadmill. Must have been some time in January.

  3. If I didn’t have kids, I’d be outdoors for every run. But I do, and thus I have to make accomodations (did I mention that I also have a husband who works ridiculous hours most of the time)… so I do at least 50% of my runs on the treadmill. I rarely do a long run on a treadmill though, I reserve those for an outdoor loop of the lake.

    • I have totally considered the whole kids vs treadmill thing. Once we have kids, it won’t be as easy to take off for a run! And as much as you can run with a stroller, that won’t make the run any easier (specially a long run dragging a stroller around!).

      • Well, until 2 weeks ago, the stroller wasn’t really an option. I had all 3 kids for the summer! This year, finally, my 5 year old started kindergarten and I only have 1 at home. I plan to take her on some runs, but it’s not the same kind of training, so I definitely plan to leave the stroller to maybe one weekly run, but not on my long run.

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