5 Reasons to Love the Treadmill

Friday 5I’ll admit it. I’m a treadmill runner year round, but I especially like running on a treadmill inside when the weather is going crazy outside.  When I woke up Saturday morning to a blanket of snow and a downpour of wet, sloppy sleet that didn’t look like it was stopping any time soon. I’m not into ice running or the associated broken bones, and with no snowshoes in sight what’s a running gal to do?  We bundle up and walk (or drive) to the nearest treadmill!

Now I know there are mill-haters out there, but don’t be too quick to poo-poo it!  Heck, I even *gasp* prefer the treadmill!  I’ve trained for two marathons on a treadmill, and I firmly believe treadmill workouts DO count as running, contrary to what some runners claim. And for today’s Friday 5 I want to share my reasoning with you with the hope that you too will become a treadmill lover like me!

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When I woke up on Saturday morning, Utah looked like this:

1) Weather-Proof RunningThis is the obvious reason to pass on an outdoor run in favor of a treadmill. Too cold or too hot? Too rainy, snowy, slippery? Your treadmill is located conveniently in a temperature controlled room. It’s never too (fill in the blank) to run, so there’s less room for excuses!

2) Television Time! – With all the stuff we women juggle; work, kids, school, our partners, social commitments, parents, etc. we sometimes don’t give ourselves time to zone out.  One of my greatest guilty pleasures in life is reality TV – I’m a notorious addict! I don’t have a ton of time between my work and school schedule to watch, but on the treadmill I can catch up on all of my trashy tv during my long run on Saturdays!

3) Take the Math Outta Speed Work – When I do speed work outside, I find it hard to push to my goal pace.  Some of us are really good at feeling our pace and some of us aren’t as a blessed. If you, like me, are pace-challenged, maximize the benefits of weekly speed workouts by doing them on the treadmill, which allows you to set the pace and match it rather than relying on guessing your pace by feel.

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I only have to bundle up to get to my treadmill, not for my entire run!

4) Convenience Factor – If you’re relying on a commercial gym for treadmill access the convenience factor may not be there quite as much as it is for those of us who have a treadmill in our homes.  But even if you have to drive to your ‘mill, it’s never too dark, early or late for a run. This buddy is safely located in a secured, adequately-lit location for running. Your only excuse for not running is if it’s past gym hours… But if you know you like to run late, you can always shop around for a gym or trainer’s office that’s open for business when you are!

5) Treadmills Are Social Too! – Of course you can meet other runners in a running group, but what if you want to meet the guy doing daily weight training or chat with the girl on the elliptical next to you?  Some gyms even offer running classes or treadmill teams.  And if yours doesn’t, you could always ask them if you can start one; who knows, you could even end up with free treadmill access!

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m behind on Project Runway and it’s time for a run!

What do you like (or dislike) about the treadmill?

Ultrarunner, yoga teacher, academic, and feminist. I write about ultrarunning, feminism, and the intersection of running and life.

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17 comments

  1. Our weather has suddenly become more like something you’d see in the arctic, so my treadmill is my new best friend. I’ve been on it daily for two weeks now, and we’ve made peace with each other. I still worry about whether or not running on it changes my gait enough to cause injury, but so far I haven’t noticed any unusual aches and pains. I loved reading that you’ve trained for two marathons on a treadmill!

    1. I’m glad you haven’t experienced any unusual aches and pains – sounds like you are being smart about your transition to the treadmill. “Experts” recommend that you transition slowly to treadmill running, so if you are running 13 on your long runs outside, don’t do any more than 5-6 on your first one on the treadmill and build up like you would when training for a race!

  2. I love the treadmill. I get outside when the weather is nice but like you said when it’s snowy and rainy why risk slipping and falling and getting injured. I think some people just think they are a bad ass if they can get their run done in a foot of snow. Makes no sense to me. Plus the safety factor that I can run anytime of day on the treadmill. Don’t have to worry about it being dark out.

    1. I’m a totaly wimp when it comes to outdoor running too. I hate the cold! Ruining my running shoes because I want to be tough and run in the snow and slush is not on my list of things to do!

      In all fairness though, I don’t like to camp, hike, or do other outdoor things either… I’m completely content to do everything but race indoors!

  3. I love the treadmill too! I do love running outside in the rain and snow too, but sometimes, even when it’s relatively nice outside, I enjoy banging out an easy run or even a workout on the tready. For me, it’s just so convenient. I can roll out of bed before the kids are up and get my run done in the comfort of my own basement or drop them off to play at the Y while I run there.

    The winter I trained for Boston, before I had kids even, I did the majority of my training on a mill, mostly because it was so dark before and after work. I can do snow, even ice, but combine that with the dark, especially in downtown CLE where the environment isn’t the most conducive to quality running as it is and the treadmill was a better option.

    As for gait, I wouldn’t worry about it. It’s just like running on any different surface. You should try to mix it up a bit, especially if you haven’t run on a tm in a while or when you’re transitioning back to outside running, but otherwise it’s probably fine. Although, my coach always yells at me when I do my strides on the tm, so maybe save your super fast running – the stuff where good form is part of the point – for outside.

  4. I can’t do the treadmill…it’s too easy for me to wimp out of a workout. On the treadmill if I get tired I can just stop, whereas if I’m running outside I at least have to get back to the start. I can’t tell you what kinds of whether I’ve run in to avoid the treadmill.

  5. Because of this article I’m finally going out and buying a treadmill! I almost always run outside (unless it’s dark out), but I think treadmill running will solve a lot of my running dilemmas. I’ve been running on the treadmill at my gym more frequently lately because of the weather. I live in Wyoming where winters are not only cold, but brutally windy. Running in that wind makes your joints feel horrible and I think it makes you more prone to injury when it’s so cold out. Also, it stays dark for so long in the mornings and gets dark so early at night in the winter here. If you want to get a good run in, you don’t have a lot of time to get out there, especially if you have a busy life! Although I’ve been opposed to treadmill running for a long time, training on a treadmill sometimes just makes sense. This was a great submission!

    1. Lacy, I live in Wyoming too – in Cheyenne. Where do you live? I totally agree about the brutal winters, and highly recommend getting a treadmill. There are so many days I wouldn’t get a run in without one.

      1. Hi Jan,

        I’m here in Casper! It’s always great to hear from another Wyoming runner :). Anyway, I’m starting to think that buying a treadmill will solve a lot of my cold (and hot) weather issues!

        1. Lacy, I think it will solve many of your Wyoming weather-related running issues. We’re planning on doing the Casper half marathon in June – I’ve heard it’s a good one. Good luck on the treadmill shopping. 🙂

  6. Totally agree with all of your reasons! Those who can run outdoors in the winter definitely have my respect, but I simply can not do it! Whenever I try to run when it’s cold outside I end up with a horrible hack of a cough, and my ears burn so bad (even with ear warmers) that I usually can’t even finish my workout. My treadmill is the only thing that keeps me going during the winter!