The dreadmill a love/hate relationship

Treadmills aka “dreadmills” hate them or love them they are a fixture of the gym and many fitness plans,  especially for the runners out there like me.  We tend to have a love hate relationship with them.  We love that they allow us to run on a day that is nasty outside, but hate them for several reasons.

This weekend as I attempted succeeded in getting some miles in at the gym I was reminded of my love/hate relationship.  I really wondered how the heck  I got to the point of doing 10 miles on the treadmill when I first started adding distance.  I am most definitely a fan of running outside, the more I do it the more I love it.  There are so many benefits to it:

  • The fresh air ( in the gym some people really stink it up).
  • Scenery/built in distractions of nature.
  • Natural hills that just work your muscles differently.
  • Given the right temperature and a beautiful day you just don’t want to stop running making long distances easy.
  • The outdoors don’t stop at 60 minutes, enough said.
  • Easier on the knees (depending on the setting).
  • Fellow runners that give the nod/wave/thumbs up to encourage you because we are a family.

But on the other hand the treadmill offers a few benefits:

  • It’s near a bathroom, if you move a lot like running you need a place to have an easy pit stop.
  • The temperature control is built in thanks to the indoor environment.  When you live in the desert during the summer it’s sometimes difficult to find a temperature that allows for a nice and safe run.  Also when you live in a desert you become a wimp when it comes to cold, yes I am officially a cold temperature wimp now.  My Missouri up bringing and South Dakota roots have faded.
  • If I want to run, but am feeling a bit lazy it is easier.
  • Built in cup holders and a place for a towel.

All that being said the most important part to any exercise program is just doing it.  So whether you run outdoors or indoors, you have to do the action part.  I do have a few tips that I had to develop to help me back when I started increasing my mileage in the heat of the Vegas summer. 

  • Cover up the numbers on the treadmill.  If you are like me and have a hard time not looking at the time or distance and saying “OMG I’ve only gone how far???” then this helps.
  • Find your favorite songs to listen to while running. Inspiring music helps a lot not just with the beat, but to keep you in a good mood.  (Yes I am a treadmill dancer, not as fancy as on videos but I do bop around.)
  • If music doesn’t get you then if you can keep good posture watch a TV show or movie.  You don’t want to get a crick in your neck looking down the whole time.
  • Find a friend who wants to run and get them on the treadmill too.
  • People watch in the gym.  I love people watching and making up scenarios in my mind about the people I see.  It’s silly, but it passes the time and helps with boredom.
  • Race the person next to you.  They don’t have to know you are doing it, but it can be a fun little challenge.
  • Race yourself and see if you can increase your speed and get a PR.

Running outside will always be my preference, but in a pinch I will do whatever I can to get some miles in.  Tomorrow I am running inside again, just 5 miles so it shouldn’t feel like total torture.  As soon as I get some cold weather gear I am heading back out.  Since I have my Rock and Roll Half in less than two weeks and it is at night I will be getting some running tights soon!  Do you have any tips for indoor workouts or runs?  How do you feel about the “dreadmill”?


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Suzanne @WorkoutNirvana
    Nov 05, 2013 @ 23:19:01

    Haha, love your positive spin, Jenn. I've never thought of racing the person next to me, that's so funny! Love people watching too 😉


  2. Shira
    Nov 06, 2013 @ 14:12:16

    Great post! While I prefer walking outside, I don't dread the treadmill. In fact, it can be a great tool for interval fitness when I add weights to the experiences. The key for me is only using it once a week or so, otherwise I get bored!


  3. Running, Loving, Living
    Nov 07, 2013 @ 02:42:56

    I have a love/hate relationship with the treadmill too! You hit all the reasons right on! When i was training for the LI Half a couple years back the treadmill was a necessary evil because we had such a snowy winter, running on the streets was dangerous. I did an eleven mile training run on the treadmill, not knowing that it stops at 60 minutes automatically which killed my mojo, and I will NEVER do it again. The benefits of the treadmill do not outweigh the benefits of running outdoors and since then I pretty much stick to the outdoors. My tips are to cover the time and do interval training to keep it interesting. I also read blogs on my iPad.


  4. Kyle Kranz
    Nov 08, 2013 @ 13:55:49

    I've done up to 10 hours/52.4 miles on a TM at once time, so kind of developed a tolerance for being on it ;)Last winter I ran through without going indoors once. I fell a few times due to ice, but I think this year I'd rather just by snow shoes than go indoors! Another thing to consider with the treadmill is it really changes your biomechanics and how your muscles are recruited, so it does not fully transfer to outdoor running!


  5. Jenn Speer
    Nov 09, 2013 @ 03:54:53

    The other day I was the only one not walking, I won. 🙂


  6. Jenn Speer
    Nov 09, 2013 @ 03:55:40

    The boredom is one of the hardest parts for me as well. It does make the time go by faster when you do intervals.


  7. Jenn Speer
    Nov 09, 2013 @ 03:57:19

    Since I am here in Vegas I have no snow excuse, so I just have to figure out how to bundle up for safety and comfort. I think if a runner had invented the treadmill it would not stop after only 60 minutes.


  8. Jenn Speer
    Nov 09, 2013 @ 03:58:49

    Holy crap that is a long time! Yeah I could tell that I used different muscles when I made the switch, I like it as an option if I have to, but this weekend before my half I am doing it outside for sure.


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