If you have been reading posts on Facebook or Twitter lately, you don’t even need to look outside your window to know winter is still here. Yes, it’s officially spring, but Mother Nature isn’t the kind of lady who follows any rules. The weather is unseasonably miserable, and it doesn’t appear that there will be any changes anytime soon. So, with that being said, instead of whining about the blustery weather conditions we have absolutely no control over, let’s focus on the positive. No matter how crappy it is outside, with a gym membership, or perhaps in the comfort of your own home, the treadmill is always a reliable alternative to keep us fit until Mother Nature gets her act together.
Some runners despise the treadmill, deeming it to be a lesser version of the experience of the road or trails, and refer to it as the “dreadmill.” Although it sure isn’t exactly the real thing, I have grown to appreciate the treadmill for what it is. The treadmill is like that guy you have tons of fun with, but you know isn’t “the one.” He’s cool for the moment and keeps you on your toes until the right one comes around. And, when the right one (REAL spring) comes around, you will be that much more appreciative!
SO, in an effort to focus on the positive, I’ve decided to list the reasons I appreciate the treadmill. For every pro, there is certainly a con, but I’ll keep the cons out of this one. My glass is perpetually half FULL!
(1) No Garmin needed- Leave the watch at home! No need to worry about finding a signal or constantly staring down at your wrist. The treadmill will display your time, pace, incline level, and calories burned!
(2) Hydrate with ease- No need for those weird looking hydration belts (I could never pull that off, nor could I handle a liter of water dangling from my hips!) or slugging along a water bottle throughout your run. The treadmill has a nice holder for you to place your water, Ipod, phone…anything you need! AND, some treadmills have TVs on them so you can catch up on all of the shows you don’t have time to watch because you’re so busy running!
(3) Easy pacing- It’s SO nice to truly be able to check out while running. Especially for the really challenging speed work outs, I’ll crank up the speed dial and just stare straight ahead thinking of everything else possible but the pain I’m currently enduring. The treadmill is like the coach I’ve never had, telling me it’s possible when my body is SCREAMING that it’s not. I’ve pushed the pace in ways I don’t think I could outside. I’m getting stronger, in great shape, and building the confidence to push paces I’ve never imagined possible.
(4) It’s safe- There are SERIOUS creeps in this world. I tend to be foolishly fearless when I run outdoors. I run pretty much all of my workouts solo, and sometimes in fairly remote locations. Despite being speedier and having more endurance than most creepy dudes, as a female distance runner I recognize that I am vulnerable. Anything could happen at any time when I’m miles away from home, and in some cases, physically drained. On the treadmill, however, many of those concerns go away. It’s a safe location with many people around. And, with some health scares I’ve had in the past, it’s good to know that if I ever needed any type of medical attention I would be in good hands.
(5) SHORTS- I love my running clothes! If I had my way, I would wear running clothes all of the time. It’s nice to put the gloves, headband, and Under Armour away and hop into a singlet and running shorts for my workouts.
(6) Support- A few years ago, an old man at the gym asked me to sign a piece of paper for him. He told me that someday I was going to be in the Olympics, and he wanted to tell people he knew me! Watch out Kara and Shalane! HA! In every gym that I’ve trained in, I’ve always obtained little, what I call, “fan clubs.” I hope that doesn’t sound narcissistic! It's kind of funny how it happens as I pretty much just jump on to the 'mill and do my usual thing. Most distance runners just consider their intense workouts as routine, and don’t recognize that most people can’t run 10.0 on the treadmill without flying off. And, most people don’t run consecutive miles for hours without stopping. What us distance runners do is AMAZING, and it’s nice to have people see it and remind us of that. Plus, I can’t count how many people have told me that I’ve inspired them to start running. It’s a great feeling knowing I have been able to do that.
(7) Eye candy- I can’t lie. When I’m clicking through miles and miles on the treadmill, it’s nice to have something to keep my adrenaline flowing. As running has become more popular over the past few years, the number of attractive males participating in the sport has increased. However, those guys are usually in the back of the pack….or waaaaaay in the front. At the gym, no matter how fast you are…we’re all staying in the same place!
(8) Sweat- If I’m not drenched in sweat by the end of what was intended to be an intense workout, I didn’t run hard enough. Being in the gym always helps me measure my sweat in my “sweat test.”
(9) Easy pit stops- As we all know, $hithappens. There is nothing worse than being miles away from a port-a-potty and having to go. It can completely ruin a good workout. However, at the gym, a quick run off the ‘mill and then you’re back into the groove of your workout with no problem! It can make all of the difference.
(10)It’s fun- I have fun on the treadmill and ALWAYS have a great workout! Considering I run just about all of my runs solo, it’s nice to have people around! I love crankin’ good music on my Ipod, hanging out with my sister, and having good stories to share about the crazy old ladies in the locker room.
I recognize that it’s not the real thing. However, the treadmill WILL prepare you for the real thing when Mother Nature decides she’s ready. But, in the meantime, have fun and appreciate the treadmill for what it is. Just like that perfect guy, good weather is out there. We just have to stay on our toes and be patient until it gets here! J