5 Reasons Why the Treadmill is NOT the Worst

I’ve been doing a lot of treadmill running lately.  Where Ben and I are living right now is not the most runner friendly area, and I literally have to drive right by the gym on the way home from work, so that’s just kind of the way it is.  Initially, I was worried that this would be a bad thing.  I’d be bored, or I wouldn’t be challenged enough.  But I’m here to tell you that I’ve changed my tune.  I know, I know, you’re thinking I’m crazy.  Who likes the dreadmill?  Who wouldn’t rather be outside?  Now, I’m not saying I prefer the treadmill–treadmill running will never give me the same satisfaction as the sights, sounds, and variety of outdoor running.  However, for where I am at in life right now and what I’m trying to achieve in my running, it’s totally working for me, and here’s why.

treadmill

You’re (relatively) safe on the treadmill.  You won’t get hit by a car, chased by dogs, mugged, assaulted, or kidnapped.  You won’t slip on ice.  You won’t get a sunburn.  The temperature is moderate, so you don’t have to worry about heat stroke.  Yeah, you could still fall off the damn machine or roll an ankle or something, but overall, you’re safer on the treadmill.

You can watch Netflix.  Or read a book or a magazine.  I know if I put on a marathon of The Walking Dead, I could run on the treadmill for hours.  As long as I’m entertained, I’m less likely to get bored and quit, or start focusing on all the little niggles that discourage me and make me want to stop running.  This may come back and bite me in the ass when it’s actually time to run a half marathon outside with no distractions, but for right now, it’s working for me.  My gym has wi-fi, so I can just load up my Netflix queue and the minutes whiz by.

Speed work is simpler because you can nail your paces.  I find it nearly impossible to do speed work without the treadmill because I don’t have a Garmin, ergo I have no idea how fast I’m going in the moment.  And even with a Garmin, you have to be constantly looking at your wrist, or adjusting your speed up and down every time your watch beeps.  With the treadmill, you can just set your pace and go, and know exactly how fast you’re going.

It trains you to keep a consistent pace.  I don’t know about you, but when I run on the road or trail, my paces are all over the place.  Uphills make me slow down, downhills make me speed up.  If I see another runner, I might speed up to try to look good in front of him/her (you know you do too!).  But the treadmill maintains the same pace for the duration of my run, forcing me to run at the same pace.  This will hopefully help me gain the muscle memory to run at a consistent pace when I get back out on the road.

You can adjust elevation.  This is great for many reasons.  If you live in a flat area, the treadmill can help you simulate at least uphills, and if you’ve got a nice one with negative elevation, downhills too.  Conversely, if you live in a really hilly area, the treadmill can allow you to get some easy, flat, recovery miles in.

These are just a few of the reasons why I’m totally digging the treadmill right now.  I’m sure I’ll think of others as I bang out my training miles.  And I’m also sure I’ll also come up with a list of reasons why the treadmill IS the worst before this is all over…

Do you like or hate running on the treadmill?  Why?

What’s the longest treadmill run you’ve ever done?

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27 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why the Treadmill is NOT the Worst

  1. veryrach says:

    you are totally right! I’m about to re-start my morning gym routine, so it’s good to get on that “treadmill mindset” again. I first ran 3+ miles on the treadmill before I could even come close to it out on the road! pacing pacing pacing..and Netflix! woo hoo

  2. greenmountainlife says:

    I’m totally a treadmill user. I don’t know if it’s just me but it almost seems a bit harder on the treadmill so when I get outside I’m like oh man look at me, I’m going so fast! I think the longest I’ve ever run was 6 miles one winter.

  3. SuzLyfe says:

    I’m a treadmill user during the winter, an outside runner during the summer. My longest run (that I can think of) is 8 (just over an hour), and by then, I’m toast. I love using it for speed work (and the lack of tmill running over the past few months tells you how much speed work I’ve done!) and hill intervals (we have no hills here). But weird thing about me–I hate watching TV/Netflix etc on the Tmill. I read. If I am watching something, I think about how much time has passed, but if I am reading, I lose concept of time, and just go.

  4. Brittany says:

    Envy! I just can’t get behind the treadmill- for some reason my usual pace (approx 9:45-10 mins/mile) outside just does not translate to the treadmill and I end up going super slow on it. Also, the mill wreaks havok on my ankles for some reason… :0(
    But, for what it’s worth, I truly wish I liked it more so on days of cruddy weather *looks out window at rain* I could get my miles in.
    Furthest I’ve gone on a treadmill is 3 miles, and that went by quickly because I was listening to an audiobook on Hoopla!

  5. txa1265 says:

    What is this ‘treadmill’ thing you speak of… ? haha

    I remember the early cell phone cameras, and someone saying ‘the best camera .. is the one you have with you and use’. Same thing here – if this is keeping you running, then YAY! 🙂

  6. dgobs says:

    Those are all great reasons to embrace the dreadmill! I’ve only run on treadmills twice – once for like 2 minutes during college when I was trying out the school’s gym, and once a few months back at the gym at work. Both times were awful, but both were in stuffy, hot gyms that were really crowded and people were waiting impatiently for me so it wasn’t ideal conditions. I do struggle with the consistency of the pace on the treadmill, but it would probably be good for me to learn how to pace myself, like you said. Maybe I’ll try the gym near home this winter and give the dreadmill another go! 🙂

  7. Darlene says:

    I hate it. I only run on it when I absolutely have to – pouring rain, ice & show. I think 4 miles has been the most. I watch TV on my ipad so I get through one show.

  8. stayhealthynfit4you says:

    I only use the dreadmill when I have to because it’s so boring. I just can’t wait for the run to be over with when I’m on it. I don’t have a tv or anything in the room and my treadmill is old. I usually just listen to music but I think the longest I’ve ran on it is four miles.

  9. kebe51 says:

    I actually like doing the treadmill for my weekday runs (I try and do my long runs outside so my body isn’t in complete shock come race day) but I like the treadmill. I watch tv, get distracted. Not to mention, like you said, it helps pace me. I find that when I run on the treadmill, I run faster because it kind of “forces” me to whereas if I try and run fast on my own, I run TOO fast, get burned out and then move like a snail the remainder of the run. Go treadmills!

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