5 Reasons to Tolerate the Treadmill
The treadmill. As a runner, it’s something you loathe or learn to live with. The winter months in Minnesota drive many of us indoors – but it doesn’t have to be so bad. When you don’t want to bundle up, the following is my top 5 list of reasons I tolerate the treadmill.
- Safety. “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night” applies if you have access to a treadmill. In May 2011 I went for a run under an ominous sky. As I was crossing Lake Street - half way into my 11 mile River Road loop – it really began to rain, in fact, it started hailing. It wasn’t until I got home and learned about the devastating tornado touchdowns that I realized the seriousness of the storm I’d been running in. Whether it’s from the dark mornings/nights, the icy trails or the threat of severe weather, the treadmill provides a safe and consistent environment to run.
- Injury Rehab. For the first time in 12 years of running, I’m recovering from injury. Over the last 90’ish days I’ve used the treadmill to aid in my recovery. Using the strategy of adding 2 minutes to each daily run, is far easier to manage on the treadmill than it is outside. Not to mention the possibility of getting stuck walking home if the pain becomes too intense to continue running.
- Speed Work. I’ve never grown accustomed to the fartlek as a method of speed work - the lack of structure is hard for me to rely on. I need a clock, a beep, a something that tells me “okay, it’s time to go faster now!” The treadmill is a consistent reliable method to plan various forms of speed work and measure progress along the way.
- Mental Toughness. It’s hard to completely tune out and find that “runners high” on a treadmill. Seeing time tick by can make any run feel long. Using a towel to cover the display helps – but the awareness of time is so apparent on a treadmill. It’s a mind game. But it’s that mind game that can make you stronger, tougher and better equipped for race day.
- TV. I watch TV. I wish I were one of those people who didn’t, but I do. On top of that, I watch garbage reality programs. When forced indoors to the treadmill, I look at that as an opportunity to get caught up on my guilty pleasure “Real Housewives of whatever city” shows. My typical rule is that if it’s bad for my brain, I may as well be doing something good for my body at the same time.
- Bathroom. Okay, so maybe it’s not a “Top 5” list but I couldn’t leave this one out. As someone with what I call a “nervous bladder” I plan outdoor runs around the bathroom stops. Whether it’s a nervous bladder or an upset tummy that could lead to a pit stop – the treadmill ensures you’ve got a bathroom close by.
So, in the spirit of winter in Minnesota – when it’s dark, icy and cold – turn that “I hate the treadmill” into “It’s not so bad.” It’ll help you get through the rest of winter until those amazing days of spring when we’re back outside – a little tougher and a little faster!