Friday, February 18, 2011

That Treadmill is a Temptress...

I was dealt a large dose of running reality this morning.  My husband provided me with the generous opportunity of a morning run before he had to head off to work.  I took it without hesitation and laced up my shoes, still basking in the glow of my last run...on the treadmill. 
The Treadmill. 
 I have, apparently, become quite comfortable with The Treadmill...that naughty temptress.  I have been lulled into believing that running on The Treadmill is like running on the road.  Not so.  I have gotten used to a flat, uniform, homogenized run.  And, this is where I have to admit that while I do employ variations in speed in my treadmill runs, I do not often vary the grade (and by "not often", I mean pretty much never).  So, while I am still proud of the 8 minute miles, this morning's run--outside, on a real road, with real hills, real wind, real potholes, real mud puddles--taught me a lesson:
Running on The Treadmill
the same as running outside, on the road. 
 And, that I'd definitely benefit from adding some more variety/difficulty to my treadmill runs.

Not only have I gotten overly accustomed to the feel of a treadmill run, but I've also grown very dependent upon the treadmill screen and all it's bewitching numbers.  Since I am probably the last runner on earth who does NOT own a Garmin, when I head out the door for a run I do so not knowing how fast I'm going or how far I've gone.  I'll admit, there's something beautiful about that, but once you get used to knowing those things while you're running, it's hard to go without.

So, without my steady treadmill overlooking the placid pool in the bubble of my gym, and without my informative treadmill screen, I ran around our neighborhood for a quick 30 minutes.  My legs felt a bit like lead, my feet like blocks of cement, my lungs and throat like they were slightly on fire, and my fingers stung a bit from the early morning chill.  And, for goodness sakes, my nose ran like crazy (at least something was!).  But, I was out there moving, the sun on my face.  And, I had 5 new songs to listen to on my ipod.  This was the first one...

It was a good start to my day, and a good reminder not to get too dependent on that temptress, The Treadmill.  The joy of running, for me, has always had so much to do with being out there in, and connecting with, creation.  You definitely don't get that on a treadmill...

Do you enjoy running on a treadmill?  Do you prefer it to running outside?
There are definitely things that I like about running on a treadmill.  But, I'm a control-freak, so that's no surprise...I do prefer running outside, as long as the run provides some visual interest.  I particularly love running outside early in the morning.

What do you think are the benefits, if any, of running on a treadmill vs. running outside?
For me, since I don't own a Garmin, running on a treadmill is the only way I can monitor my speed and distance.  Unless I go run with my neighbor, who has a Garmin!

What's your favorite song to run to?
Well, that Kings of Leon song I posted above is pretty awesome right now.  But, I also love anything by Phoenix, The Kooks...I'm really into "All These Things That I Have Done" by The Killers.  Generally speaking, I LOVE music and find it to be one of the great joys of the running experience.


  1. Funny, my PT and I have been discussing this exact thing. As she tries to analyze my running form, she puts me on a treadmill. I am NOT a treadmill runner! It's awkward, and I don't feel like my form is the same. So obviously, my answer is, I prefer running outside. In the winter I run the track (which is 15 times around - YUCK!). But I just can't do the treadmill thing.

    I do have a Garmin and I LOVE the data! I couldn't do it without getting the data; honestly it's what drives me to do more/be better.

    One thing the PT and I have discussed in terms of treadmill vs. not, is that the treadmill doesn't quite require your glutes to fire. The treadmill pulls your leg back for you, rather than having to push your leg through from the front to the back.

    I need to have music to run. I'm a bit different in that I prefer calmer, more relaxing music to run to. Especially when running outdoors. And while I require music to run, I typically don't remember listening/hearing the music - IF I've run outside.

    Loving your blog, Lisa! :)

  2. I learned this lesson this week too! I have been training indoors all winter. I love the tmill for the same reasons as you...control!! BUT...I ENJOY outdoor runs so much more even though it's when my turtle side shows up. I think it's time for me to admit that the incline needs to be upped and the intervals paid more attention to. THANK YOU for the music suggestions....ALWAYS appreciated. :) Love KOL

  3. I hate the treadmill. Wait... Despise the treadmill is more like it. I run so much faster on the road! I love my garmin. I have had mine for 6 years- 5 halts an 1 fills training and it has been amazing! If you can, I would really invest in one! My favorite song to start my run to is "I run to you" by Lady A.

  4. The treadmill is ok when the weather is really bad, but I much prefer an outside run. Something about the sounds of nature and the fresh air. I use a Garmin and find the info very helpful.

  5. I started as a mill runner and loved it. Then I forced myself outside and grew to love that. Now I run outside every chance I get. Although I do enjoy speed work on the mill because i know exactly how far/fast I'm going at all times.

  6. Treadmill = Hate; Running Outside = Love
    While I totally appreciate your love for data, I don't actually keep track of anything when I run except for how I am feeling and how long I have been out. Since I often do the same run, I can gauge how well I am doing by how quickly (or slowly) I reach the same spot or complete the run. As long as I feel like I worked out afterwards then I am happy. And I have come to love hills...oddly enough they bring out those killer instincts in me, just need a good tune and I'm off!