I must admit I am extremely thankful that I have only once or twice in the past year needed to battle the treadmill for a long run on a Saturday. It is actually unbelievable that the weather was sufficient enough each and every Saturday I needed to run so that I could maintain my favorite little routine of long run Saturday outdoors. Today wasn’t happening no matter how much I wanted to be outside. It snowed a few inches late last night and even though my path was cleared by the maintenance crew of my community, risking falling on ice at 7 am and battling 15 degree temperatures was less than ideal.
So the treadmill it was. The treadmill and I have a love-hate relationship. It is there for me whenever I want it to be. Rain, sleet, snow, anytime of day. It is there waiting for me. But oh how I hate running in one spot mile after mile. Yes, I could have skipped today’s long run and done it another day when the temperature warmed up. But I chose to battle that treadmill and keep with my routine instead.
As I ran I weighed the pros and cons of treadmill running in my head. It went something like this:
1. You can look constantly at your distance:
Pro: Seeing where you are at almost forces you to speed up to get done quicker. I kept increasing my pace every tenth of a mile until I was running 7:30 min miles to complete each mile. Quite the workout.
Con: Seeing where you are at almost forces you to speed up to get done quicker. Since I kept increasing my pace, I certainly wasn’t running a leisurely long run which is what long runs usually are. While I normally try to keep track of my pace on Saturdays to some extent, I save pushing myself for runs during the week where I work on speed.
2. Bathroom easily accessible:
Pro: Should you need to use the bathroom, it is much easier to hop off of the treadmill. Most of the time I need to make a quick pit stop which means I need to hold it until I am close enough to my house to run inside. Sometimes that creates a real issue of bladder control, if you know what I mean…
Con: Knowing the bathroom is so close to the treadmill makes me want to stop more often. I only stopped once (at 4 miles) but I thought I was going to stop more. I had to talk myself out of stopping.
3. You can watch TV while running:
Pro: Watching TV can certainly distract you and it is something different vs. listening to the same songs you normally do.
Con: The TV is plastered in your face since it is attached to the treadmill. Not to mention I need my glasses for watching TV therefore I listened to Pandora on my phone like I normally do.
4. Running inside on the treadmill can be done at any time of day and is not affected by weather:
Pro: I can get up and run whenever I want, regardless of if it is light enough, too early to be up and out and don’t need to dress for the weather outside.
Con: Running on the boring treadmill and seeing the sun shine today was a cruel joke. I kept wanting to hop off and run outside based upon the sunshine. But that sun shine was misleading. 15 degrees outside and the bright sun was reflecting off of the ice and snow that was fresh on the ground.
5. Running on the treadmill in the gym allows you to be near other people for a set period of time:
Pro: People watching may give you some form of distraction.
Con: I like to be left alone so if people want to interact and chat with me, I am not interested. Call me rude, I call it my alone time.
Con #2: You better make sure your deodorant is on because if you are around other people while running at least 10 miles, you are probably going to sweat and then smell.
Based upon my list above, it seems that the treadmill is a double edge sword doesn’t it?
I won today’s battle against the treadmill – but it wasn’t easy. While I stopped at 4 miles for a quick bathroom break (always too much coffee before, can’t help it), I kept wanting to stop which doesn’t normally happen when I run outside. I told myself I could stop again when I ran another 4 miles if I wanted. I ended up not stopping and completed 10.70 miles. Why didn’t I finished out the last mile and end at 11 you ask? Because the treadmill always shuts off automatically at 60 minutes (add this to the cons!)
It was fine though, I hopped onto the elliptical as a cool down and caught up on some phone calls.
I was actually sore right away which never really happens. I guess I can thank my speed work for that.
How do you feel about treadmill running for long runs? Do you enjoy it or view it as the “dreadmill”?