“Um. What?” I replied.
I’m a runner, and I have been for more than half my life. I’ve run on teams, I’ve run on trails, on tracks, with training groups. I’ve gone to spin class and Zumba and cardio kickboxing, so I’m also no rookie to fitness classes. But “treadmill” and “class” together? That was new.
I don’t hate on treadmills as much as some runners do. I’m thankful for it as a tool to have when it’s too hot, too windy, too icy, or too freaking cold to make the effort to get outside.
Yet I was still skeptical of what could possibly be the point of going to a treadmill class. What could the instructor possibly say? “Run faster!“? I have that on repeat in my head on my own, thanks.
But I decided to try it because me friend was SO excited. And, much to my surprise, I was hooked after my first try.
A treadmill class feels like a quasi-combination of an up tempo spin class and a kick ass interval workout. If that’s not enough to convince you, here are some other reasons you might want to check out a treadmill studio if you have one near you.
You hate the treadmill.
If you are one of those runners who whines and moans every time you have to step on the treadmill, a treadmill class might help you change your mind. First, the treadmills in most studios are amazing. They’re super springy and fancy, so you don’t feel like you’re grinding your knees to dust with every step. Second, most people hate the treadmill because it’s boring. The instructor of a good treadmill studio add much excitement. There’s great music, just like in a spin class, and you switch up your pace and incline so much that you can’t even keep track of how long you’ve been trucking along. It’s a great option for those days when running outside is too dangerous, but you don’t want to quit after five minutes on your gym treadmill because you just can’t.
You want to run with faster or slower paced friends.
I have so many friends at work who also love to run, but so few of us can actually go on an outside run together without the self-conscious am-I-running-too-fast? or the am-I-slowing-her-down? paranoia. A treadmill studio gives you that chance to cruise along with runners of all abilities in the same room. You have the social aspect of showing up to class together, getting a great sweat going, and then complaining about how sore you are after. Not exactly the same as a cathartic long run with a perfectly-paced buddy, but it’s much better than the solo treadmill alternative.
You can’t motivate yourself to get that speed work on the schedule.
Even the most motivated runners can sometimes dread hitting the track or squeezing in that tempo run. Sometimes (all the time?) it’s not fun to run until you feel like you’re going to die. And, let’s be real; if no one is there telling you what paces to hit, if no one is there to witness you skip out on those last two or three or eight repeats, then why bother? (Just me?) If you’re in a rut with speed work, a treadmill class can remind you how awesome that endorphin high is. The instructor can see if you’re skimping, so you get that outside motivation to push a little harder, and then you get that intrinsic reminder that working your hardest is actually kind of awesome. Queue track workout for later in the week.
Outdoor running groups intimidate you just a little bit.
Anyone else love the idea of meeting new running friends while simultaneously hating the act of meeting new people? For introverted me, the idea of showing up to a running group makes me want to die a little bit. It’s just a lot of talking time right away, you know? For me, treadmill classes have been such a good way to take baby steps into the world of being a less anti-social runner. I don’t have to talk to anyone when I walk into class. I can just hop on my treadmill, do the workout, and then leave. But I’ve found myself lingering a little bit longer the more classes I go to. I’ve talked to the instructors a little bit, recognized a few faces, and started to consider asking someone on a “new friend run date” (except I’m blushing just typing that, so maybe not). BUT the point is, I’m getting closer to using this studio as a way to widen my runner circle. If that sounds the teensiest bit like you, a treadmill class might be worth a shot.
Where to Find One
Right now, the only treadmill studio in Boston is MyStryde. There are a few studios in New York, including Mile High Run Club. In the same way that spin studios took cities by storm in the last few years, though, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if treadmill studios start to make more of an impression across the country.
If nothing else, you’ll get in a good workout and maybe hate the treadmill a little less. And we can all use a little less hate in our lives.
Have you ever tried a treadmill studio class? Do you want to?