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?