If you have read my blog before you probably know by now that I am not a fan of the treadmill. I run outdoors whenever possible and the 2-3 times a year when I do run on a treadmill I am miserable throughout the run and complain about it afterward. Over the past week I not only declared that I wanted to buy a treadmill (on the day of a blizzard) and then started a free one week trial at a nearby gym so that I could run on one while we are still dealing with less-than-ideal running conditions.
It’s good to have running-blog friends who talk about their own running because a few days ago Meredith wrote this post about the Benefits of Treadmill Running for Outdoor Runners. I definitely agree there is a place for treadmill running and it can serve it’s purpose and even be beneficial. While I was running my 5
torturous slow miles on the treadmill on Wednesday I came up with 5 reasons why treadmill running is actually a GOOD thing for me to be doing right now. Here’s why.
1. I run much slower on the treadmill for some reason. I usually start is at a 5.5 which is well below a 10 minute mile pace, and my first mile usually clocks in around 10:10 or so. Typically my easy runs outdoors are 9:30, sometimes faster. I have no idea why it takes me so much longer to warm up on a treadmill but I think part of it is getting comfortable with my stride and not feeling like I am going to fall off. However, despite my irrational fears I think this is a good thing because it forces me to truly slow down, especially right now while I am not training for anything specific. I know some people think treadmill running is easier and they naturally run faster but this is not me. Sometimes by the end of my run I get closer to an 8:00 minute pace but my overall pace is always much slower than outdoors.
2. I found that while running on a treadmill I am forced to really focus on my form. This is one of the things I am working on after visiting the UVA Speed Clinic, and I only got to run outdoors twice after my visit there before the blizzard hit. While I am on the treadmill I am not only running slower but I am really thinking about how my body feels, where my feet are landing, running tall, etc. I am also 100% willing to stop and reset if needed. In fact I usually stop and walk for 30 seconds about every mile or so when I run on a treadmill. I drink some water, change up my music, and then I start back up running again and feel like I am able to hold a better posture because I am not tired from running the whole time.
3. Safety. Of course I want to be running outside but I know it’s not safe between the possible ice and piles of snow everywhere and lack of sidewalks. It’s tempting when I see on Instagram that other runners are out there but I know that in my neighborhood right now it’s just not a good choice.
4. Being on a treadmill is a change of terrain which can definitely be a good thing. I run on the same surface every day because trails are not easily accessible. This will give my body a little break while I am also running slower and less miles.
5. There will be less sweaty running clothes! The laundry situation can get really ridiculous when I wear so many layers to run in the cold, so it will be nice to just wear shorts and a tank top again.
I haven’t decided if I am going to do a monthly membership after my week trial is up but I am kind of waiting to see what the outdoor running situation is like after this weekend. It is supposed to warm up a bit but we really have a lot of snow and it may not melt for several weeks. I don’t like the idea of driving to and from a gym just to run but it may be worth it just to get through the next month.
How do you feel about running on the treadmill?
Are there any other runners who sometimes feel like treadmill running is a necessary evil?