We all love the freedom of running outside — being in nature, covering entire cities on foot — but sometimes our outside runs don’t quite look like freedom. While I suspect none of us would choose running inside over a glorious park on a 50º day, sometimes the treadmill makes more sense. Maybe you have to run during rush hour and your route is jammed by distracted drivers and traffic lights. Maybe you’re too crunched for time to drive to a favorite park or path.
Or maybe you’re just sick of dew points above 70º. Yes, it’s spring now, but summer is coming. Professional runner and South Carolina resident Esther Atkins calls it the “dreammill,” because in southern summers it can be the best option for those workouts crucial to fall racing season.
That philosophy helped me learn to appreciate the treadmill as another training tool, and not only for avoiding winter weather. It’s a great place to practice pacing, nutrition, or race day outfits that might be impractical outdoors (like running in racing buns through my neighborhood, as if people don’t already think I’m crazy), while also eliminating stoppage time.
When we moved into our house, we knew eventually we’d get a treadmill. It wasn’t an urgent need, but we spent about a year researching and testing. Here’s what I learned from choosing a treadmill for our home and setting up our workout room.