When the Last Resort is the Treadmill…

First, I don’t hate the treadmill. I think it’s an incredible tool to get workouts in you “couldn’t normally get.”

Maybe you live in upstate New York when it’s -30.

Maybe you live in Florida during Hurricane season…

Maybe you live in the midwest during the tornado season.

Maybe you live out west where going outside is like smoking a pack of cigarettes.

When the Treadmill is a Last Resort

Before anything running related you should prioritize safety. It’s always been my philosophy. Running is lifelong and missing a week of running (or even month) due to dangerous conditions is not the end of the world.

It isn’t easy to have the control to say: “ok it’s not safe to run outdoors” but it takes 1 bad decision that could change your life.

There have been days, even weeks, where the safest spot for me to run was on the treadmill. Truthfully, I thought when I moved to California; the treadmill would be the last thing I would “need.”

Yet, most of my runs last week were on the treadmill because it was dangerous to run outside. Many people have said: “I would never use the treadmill,” or there is no such thing as a bad weather day, but I believe that is untrue. Running outdoors right now can cause permanent damage to the body, and is a run really worth lung damage?

Even if we take safety out of the equation, sometimes running inside is just better for your life. Whether you are taking care of family, or whether you just enjoy catching up on TV…whatever the case, running is running.

Now that we got that out of the way: How do you run on the treadmill if you actually hate it?

Change your mindset:
If you call it the “dreadmill,” of course you aren’t going to enjoy it. I should take this mentality with shopping and call it dreading…maybe I wouldn’t like that and stop spending money.

Do a Workout You Couldn’t Normally Do:
Is your area hilly? Use the treadmill to get a flat run. Or use the treadmill to run a more hilly run. You can get a run that you aren’t ordinarily able too.

Right now, instead of going for speed records, I’m trying to climb things. I’ve logged a 1000 feet climb on the treadmill. It challenges me in a way I haven’t before.

When I was training for the Big Cottonwood Marathon (which I got injured beforehand due to something else), I ran downhill runs on the treadmill. It allowed me to work on my quad strength in preparation for the marathon.

Pace Control:
Last winter, I did several shorter workouts on the treadmill. Having a treadmill forces you to run workouts at a certain pace. I don’t necessarily love that, but it is a lot easier to get a good feeling of what a pace feels like than running it outdoors. I remember doing 12X400s on a treadmill at 6:00-minute pace to see how it felt.

Similarly, many people use the treadmill to run easy runs on. If you struggle with doing your easy runs “too fast”, the treadmill can assist you by forcing you to go a certain speed.

Find a Friend:
Most runners aren’t the same pace. With a treadmill, you can both run at your respected speed but still run together. It’s a great tool to catch up with friends, and both get a good run in. While this is much more difficult during the pandemic, if your gym is safely open, it can be a good way to catch up. 

Netflix and Run:
I won’t tell you how many TV shows or series I’ve binge-watched while running. You can catch up on TV, the news, or whatever and still get a run. It’s a lot harder to watch TV and run outside. These days, podcasts are all of the rage. I find it much easier to listen to a podcast inside versus outside.

The treadmill isn’t a bad training device. It can help you get workouts or runs in. You might not be able too. If it weren’t for treadmills, much of the West Coast wouldn’t be running safely right now.

Finally, You Don’t Have to Run:
An unpopular opinion but you don’t have to run. If you prefer running outdoors and it’s not safe, take time off, cross train or do something else. It’s ok! Running is always there if you let it.

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Questions for you:

Do you run on the treadmill?

What is your favorite treadmill workout?