Treadmills, if you ask me, are an amazing piece of technology. They have made possible research on not just runners, but all sorts of interesting and important things like the use of prosthetic limbs, functions and adaptations of the cardio-vascular system, studies on learning, memory, and psychology. And let’s not forget that the first experience of enjoying running, or of successfully running a full mile occur, for many adults is on a treadmill! And yet, starting around the holiday season, and enduring through the spring, every single year, are article after article, blog entries, status updates, training logs, and email blasts about how much the “dreadmill” sucks. These libelous proclamations often take a tone of offering advice on how to “make the treadmill work for you”, or how to pass the time, and on and on. I appreciate the effort, but:
If you hate it, don’t use it.
You don’t have to run or walk, there are many other wonderful forms of exercise, and many other neato machines you can spend your time on.
But please, leave the treadmill alone.
The most common complaints are that it’s too boring to run on a treadmill. In my spin classes, when we are working through a sustained effort, I often tell people if they are getting bored, distracted, or frustrated to work harder. Sometimes just a short burst of hard effort will snap you back into focus and things won’t be so bad.
Same thing applies here I think.
But if you’re not convinced yet to give up your hater ways, here’s another 30 reasons (in no particular order):
- You can get your mileage in when the weather is not conducive to a safe run.
- You can test out a new pace.
- You can start running even if your starting point is only 1/10th of a mile. The treadmill doesn’t mind how far you go, and it will be there for you every day.
- You can figure out what the hell a tempo-run is.
- You can run perfect intervals (which might really build your confidence).
- Wonderful training partners can be made of people with wildly different paces!
- Your neurotic-endlessly-energetic-and-eating-everything-in-sight dog can get walked, Jetson’s style, while you foam roll to your heart’s (and IT band’s) content.
- You can ease in post-injury.
- You can use a mirror to work on form.
- There are reliable bathrooms nearby!
- You can wear shorts and a tank in March, in the Great White North.
- You can still run when the air quality outside doesn’t support human life (euw, smog).
- You can run after 7am, in the summer, in the southern-furnace states.
- You can stop and change your shorts if they are riding up (What? You’ve never wanted to do this 6 miles in?)
- You don’t need to remember to bring cab fare if you have to bail far from home.
- You don’t have to hand the unsuspecting cabbie sweat-soaked money if the above happens.
- A treadmill at home might save a new mom, who is also a runner. (Put on some Barney and fire up the ‘mill!)
- They are an excellent mechanism for hang-drying your running gear that goes through the washer (but never the drier!) 3 times a week.
- You can refill your water bottle.
- You can have a series of water bottles, not sloshing around on your belt, and still not need to stop.
- You can experiment with your mid-run nutrition, and (possibly) make it to the bathroom before you hurl.
- You can blow your nose, in a tissue.
- You (maybe) can finish a winter-time run without getting snot on you.
- You can watch television, or movies while your clocking your miles.
- If you have a ‘mill at home you can catch up your DVR queue and still get the laundry done this weekend.
- You can do mile (or 800’s, or 200’s, or timed) repeats with resistance training in between.
- Ladies: You can race super-cocky gym dudes and watch them crash and burn and slink away as if they weren’t watching your pace.
- Fellas: You can puff your feathers (and sticks) for the pretty ladies on the elliptical trainers.
- You can live in Chicago, and still practice running hills.
- You can run while travelling/visiting a place where you don’t know your way around.