Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why I Hate (and Love) My Treadmill

Now you can have access to cruel and unusual punishment -
<<<<UPDATE>>>> The Truth About Treadmills

Tuesday night. Rough day at work. Get home completely exhausted. As I walk in the door from the garage, it hits me. Tempo workout Tuesday. Add in a few inches of snow during the course of the day (and no access from my neighborhood to any other running routes because of it), and that tempo workout will be done...duh duh duuuuuuuhhhh! ON THE TREADMILL! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, so it isn't that bad. I don't really tread, um, dread my dreadmill, er, treadmill, but it is, at best, a love/hate relationship. In fact, it actually makes it easier on my morning run to get out of bed and know that I can run in shorts and a t-shirt INSIDE when there are sub-zero wind chills or a foot of snow on the ground. But after a few days in a row on the treadmill, it can get mighty hard to keep the motivation up.

During past winters, I used to get up in time to hit the treadmill at the local gym before work, which meant driving twenty minutes there, getting in my run, and twenty minutes back. So instead of getting up at 5:30, I was getting up forty minutes earlier. That is 4:50 my friend. And if you've ever done your long run on a treadmill, at a gym, you know where I am going. The only treadmills that are open on Saturday mornings are the ones in front of the Saturday morning kids programming. There is only so much "That's So Raven" a man can yake. And yes, I found myself complaining, "I've already seen this episode of Hannah Montana!"

To that end, here is my "loath", I mean, "ode", to running on a treadmill


1) Running in Place - even with all of the distractions available, there is no escaping the fact you are running in place. If you are are watching a sporting event and it gets boring (like about 75% of most games end up), it can be a struggle

2) Get out of bed - You have no excuse to get out of bed. So when you don't, you beat yourself up all day

3) "I've already seen this episode!" - When I run in the evenings, I will throw on the syndicated episodes of Family Guy or The Simpsons or Big Bang Theory. Syndicated shows usually play, and replay, the highest rated episodes of each series. So the chances of seeing everything you have already seen are very high.

4) Being able to stop at any time and not have to walk home - The reason why I run outside every possible chance I get. Your mind isn't stuck on how you can be done at any time without having to walk two or three miles home.

5) Moving air - Don't have a fan on your treadmill or at your gym? There are few things that make a treadmill session worse than not having any moving air around you. You just pound away and sweat off about four lbs of water weight per mile

6) "I never noticed that mark on the wall before." - Staring at the same scenery gets old fast.

I am betting I could probably go on and on and on.

Now, for something that is ACTUALLY MOTIVATING!


1) Tempo runs - I can pretty much dial in my pace and turn my brain off, or better yet, just focus on my running form. No checking my watch for interval speed or current pace or how far I have left to go from home. Add in a decent movie or TV show on DVD, and I can cruise all day

2) Interval work during the winter - Similar to doing a tempo workout, I can control my pace for whatever interval distance I am doing. In fact, one of my favorite treadmill workouts is a mile repeat. If I am really not in the mood to run in place for an hour, I can dial up the pace and shave a few minutes off my workout and still get the same cardio work.

3) Treadmill during sporting event - I'll admit it. I am that guy who gets fired up for English Premier League soccer at 6 am on Saturday mornings. I even have a favorite team (Go Gunners!). During the winter, ESPN and ESPN2 (and the online ESPN service) regularly have EPL soccer available, although early in the morning. I simple through the game on, and barely even notice I am on the treadmill. I've done this during college basketball games, NFL playoff, games, you get the idea. Instead of laying around drinking beer and eating Doritos, I get my heart rate up for a good reason!

4) Get out of bed - If you are a morning runner, you know the feeling. It is cold/rainy/icy/snowing/1,000 F out. Your bed is everything that outside is not. Why get out of bed? Because you can run on a treadmill and stay warm/dry/cool and not have any excuses to miss a run.

5) Your mental strength is super-fortified after a winter of treadmill running - If you were able to grind it out on the treadmill, you are the bomb. Your mind can tackle about anything now. I still attribute my most successful marathon to an extremely hot summer. I had to run a few 20+ milers on a treadmill, and my mind could handle anything after that.

I'll be back at it, on the treadmill tomorrow for the third day in a row. Hopefully I can sneak a run on Saturday morning outside. But only if Arsenal isn't playing on ESPN online.

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