I used to be an ‘exlusive’ treadmill runner before I really picked up running as a sport. I used to go to the gym for classes or use the cross trainer and sometimes used the treadmill. When I finally got serious with running and tried to transition to outdoor running, it felt so hard. Now, I do a mix of both and I love both for different reasons.
I know many, many runners loathe the treadmill, but I feel like it really has its benefits. Unfortunately, I don’t have a treadmill at home (that would make things even easier!), but I do run on the treadmill at the gym 2-3 times per week. My gym doesn’t have an indoor track, but I doubt that I would choose it over the treadmill anyway.
Love is a strong word, but I feel like I do a little bit more than just tolerate the treadmill, so here are 5 things that I appreciate about treadmill running:
It forces me to hold my pace.
When I run outdoors, my pace can be all over the place. If I hop on the treadmill, it forces me to run steady (which is good when I should stick to an easy pace and also good when I should stick to a tempo pace). Win-win.
I can zone out.
I can watch TV (I get a fair amount of my news when I am on the treadmill) or listen to a podcast and just let my legs do the work. I can have a sip to drink and don’t even have to carry the bottle.
It makes hill repeats easy.
We don’t have a lot of hills where I run (except for the occasional overpass), so hill repeats only happen on the treadmill (if at all).
It makes progression runs easy.
I tend to run a lot by ‘effort’ when I run outside, rather than a specific pace, mainly because my level of comfort varies from day to day and it’s hard for me to ‘hold myself’ back for an easy run or push myself for a tempo run and hit goal paces without constantly checking my watch. The treadmill makes it really easy to increase pace without having to try and increase incrementally by constantly checking your watch. It automizes the training quite a bit.
I am not relying on the weather or time of day.
I currently run on the treadmill at the gym twice a week before work, because I refuse to run in the dark outside by myself. It’s just the perfect solution, especially during the winter month when it’s hard to work around the daylight hours (I usually leave before sunrise and come home after dark during the winter month). The treadmill prevents me from making up excuses.
What’s your relationship with the treadmill?