I F’in Love the Treadmill

Cilantro once ran 40 miles on a treadmill. #GOAT

Look. I get it. You’re tough. You run uphill both ways at 4 a.m. in the freezing rain. You have to get outside, no matter how many layers it takes to avoid losing a limb to frostbite. You just can’t do the treadmill.

That’s fine. You do you. Because I f’in love the treadmill.

You know what doesn’t happen to me while I’m running on a treadmill? I don’t get catcalled. That’s right. Not once has anyone driven his car into my f’in gym to honk at me, rolled down his window and yelled something rude. Nobody has thrown garbage at me. That’s pretty cool. And the one time a fellow gym attendee told me that I was prettier when I smiled, I shut that shit down by telling him to never speak to me again. It’s hard to say that to a moving target. (Side note: He never even looked at me again.)

Other things that don’t happen to me while I’m running on a treadmill: for one thing, I can’t trip over the sidewalk that hasn’t been repaired in over a decade. Last week on my run outdoors, I took a nasty fall and scraped up my hand and my knee. Downward dog is still painful. That is doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes lose balance or perhaps step a bit off the treadmill as I am engaged in the latest Bachelor episode. But that’s a hazard caused by me, not by the city. I suppose there is a possibility that I could become the latest YouTube sensation for tripping and falling on my face mid-run. YouTube fame has worked out pretty well for a lot of folks; I wouldn’t complain.

Oh, remember how I mentioned being engaged in the latest Bachelor episode? That’s right, that’s what I can do on the treadmill. It’s sublime. While there is another category of folks who may side-eye you and say “I don’t even watch TV anymore” when you mention a TV show that you’re watching, do you know what I don’t feel guilty about whilst running on a treadmill? Watching my trashy reality TV.

Sure, you can tell me that I’ll be in better shape if I just run outside, no matter the weather. But frankly, I still have all my fingers, toes, and my ears and my nose. I’m just not going to risk them when it’s subzero outside. Nothing you can tell me to wear is going to make me want to risk life and limb. If I am up for an easy run, the treadmill is where I can knock those miles out.

What it comes down to is that I enjoy running on the treadmill. I think it’s fun. I can set it and let my mind wander without worrying about who might be hiding in the bushes or what ice I might slip on, and all while catching up on my favorite shows. I like that I don’t have to worry about humidity or precipitation ruining my blowout. That alone saves an hour in my morning routine.

So here is my proposal: If you promise not to make snarky comments about my next treadmill long run, I’ll promise to commiserate with you about whatever weather you’ve chosen to run outside in.*


*I do actually love you, I’m only partly serious here, and I still run outside too.

Ultrarunner, adventurer, academic, and feminist. Running Across the USA in 2021. I write about ultrarunning, adventuring, and the intersection of endurance athletics and life.

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  1. So with you on this.

    “Sure, you can tell me that I’ll be in better shape if I just run outside, no matter the weather.” ==> I think this is only true for people who are part mountain goat or have spiderman feet. I have had so many unproductive shuffle jogs outside in icy/slushy winter conditions — it’s often impossible to get a “real” run in under those conditions. Treadmill is a way better option for getting in an anxiety-free run where you don’t have to fuss around with wearing traction, then taking the traction off if you happen to find a mile patch of sidewalk where there’s no ice, then putting it back on again when you come to the next mile of pure crunchy ice. F that! Power to anyone who wants to run in those conditions; that leaves more treadmills open for me at the gym. 🙂

  2. Ohmigosh, I miss my treadmill. Y’know what else it’s great for? Evening runs when your spouse is out of town and the kids are asleep…

  3. Wait – you once ran 40 miles on a treadmill? That’s mind blowing! I hope you were bingeing on a good show. Wow!