I’ll be the first to ask — a treadmill, but why? After all, there is so much beauty and possibilities out there in the real world, ya know, OUTSIDE! The world is treadmill and I’m ready to run all over it. Give me a street, give me a city, give me a trail, and I’m all about it.
But let’s not knock something until we have at least given it a fair shot. I’m sure, like me, you’ve jumped on a treadmill ready to knock out 10-miles, and 20 minutes into it you are like “this is for the birds” and jumped off swearing you will never do it again. What would you tell a first-time runner if they stopped 20 minutes into a run outside. Exactly. It can get better, you just have to give it a chance.
I’m not saying I’m a treadmill expert — let’s face it, I’m no @RunEMZ (there can only be ONE). Most days I walk away thinking an hour is an EPIC win of mass proportions. But the treadmill has its perks and can be a nice addition to your regular training program just like a track workout.
Treadmills now-a-days are state-of-the-art pieces of equipment. In most cases, it will tell you what your splits will be rather than you having to try to figure out what speed a 4.6 equates to in pace per mile. It’s removed the difficulty in finding that consistent pace outside and trying to hold it. Imagine your next 5-mile run like this: Mile 1 (9:30), Mile 2 (9:20), Mile 3 (9:20), Mile 4 (9:10) Mile 5 (9:00). You can replace those numbers with a pace faster or slower, but if you could determine that each mile was going to be faster and faster and workout to negative splits, wouldn’t you take it? Now factor in not having to worry about stop lights, dogs on leashes, getting lost, stopping for water, etc., and now you can focus solely only holding that pace.
THE UPS AND DOWNS
We all want that flat route — and we want it for as long as we can take it. The beauty about a treadmill is that it’s as flat as a pancake, if that’s what you want. If you don’t want your pace altered by an incline/decline, the treadmill can help you with that. Conversely, if you like in a relatively flat area and you want to work in some hills, just tap a button and you’ve got yourself an incline. Certain models are equipped with declines if you are looking for some downhill training, and almost all models have built-in INTERVAL training so that you can get the best of both worlds. Just like when you are outside and you think “just to the top of that hill,” you can do the same on a treadmill “just 30 seconds.” The treadmill is a completely customizable terrain.
YOU’RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE
It’s funny, but it’s true — and it can be to your advantage. The challenge with an out-and-back route is that you are pretty much stuck to it. If you go out 5-miles, you’ve got to make the return trip of another 5-miles, even if you don’t want to. The convenience of running in place is that if something comes up, an emergency, an injury flare up, anything, you can simply slow down and stop. No need to worry about how you are going to cover the remaining miles to your car/home. Some days we just don’t have it and if you need to cut your run short, you are not left having to walk miles back to where you started. This also has its perks for hydration/fuel needs, and of course, bathroom breaks. It’s relatively pretty easy to pause a workout and resume as needed. Often times when you are out on the roads/trails you have to make the decision: now or later.
So what now?
As I said above, I’m not a treadmill aficionado. I recently asked the question on Instagram “how many miles” could people run on a treadmill and was amazed by the answers. I’ve never gone more than 90 minutes on a treadmill, but I know that Personally, the majority of my runs are going to happen outside — heck, there is reason this blog is called what it is — but I also know that being able to control certain factors has it’s place in a well-thought out training plan. Mixing up your workout is always a good thing, and when it can strengthen your mental ability to keep moving forward (even when you are running in place) it can be even better. Just give it a try.
Share your BEST or WORST experience on a treadmill: