You either dread them or you love them. Treadmills have always been "dreadmills" to me. I hate the monotony of them. Where is the adventure in just "running in place"? I really only run on them only if I absolutely HAVE to. I've been known to refer to them as a "hamster wheel" because really... isn't that what it is?? Isn't it just a machine for people who don't run very often?
I had an experience in the last week that has been slowly helping me change my attitude towards those awful (I did say slowly) hamster-wheels. Jon and I had been planning a surprise trip out to New Hampshire to visit my family for the last month and we were leaving on a Saturday. Problem? Saturday's are my days that I do long runs and I don't run on Sundays and if I waited until Monday- that would just throw me off pretty bad. Solution? Take Thursday off for the most part and run my long run (18 miles) on Friday before work. This sounded great. I'm not a morning person, but I will run if I have to :-)
I got all of my gear laid out on Thursday night and then I checked the weather. Earlier that day it said that it was going to be around 12 degrees at 6am, so I figured I'd be alright. As I checked it again, my heart sank. It said it was going to be in the negatives. There is NO way I will run in the negatives! I'll run in the cold, but asking me to rub Vaseline on my face to protect myself is going too far. I went to bed that night still hoping that I could go outside. Friday morning I woke up and sure enough- it was -5. "Now what?" I thought. I couldn't skip it or wait to do it.
That was the first thing that came to mind. I shuttered a little, but that was my only option. So, off I went. I watched Harry Potter 6 on my Zune and that kept me occupied for most of the run. Okay, I realize that running 18miles on a treadmill is pretty ridiculous, but I started a little after 4:30am and the gym was completely empty and it was just starting to get a little busy once I left. It was nice though. I got to run in shorts! I didn't have to bundle up with earmuffs or a face mask. I had my towel, water, sports drink and shot blocks. I didn't have to strap a fuel belt to my waist either. I think because I didn't have water bottles on my waist- I was able to go faster too! I really enjoyed myself and I had a bathroom nearby if I needed one. I didn't have to worry about if a car could see me in the dark or not or if there was ice on the sidewalks.
Don't get me wrong- I LOVE running outside and when the weather is nice enough to go out- I do. However, the treadmill saved me this last Friday and I still got my run in and I think I did pretty well. Will I do that type of distance on the treadmill again? Probably. Any time soon? NO. Maybe next weekend... depending on how the weather pans out. Crossing my fingers for an outside run!
So, next time you are really dreading the hamster-wheel, just remember that it's not as bad as it seems. Just keep yourself busy- watch a movie or a show that you love (you'll at least feel less guilty spending the time watching it because you're not sitting on the couch pigging out on ice cream). Mix up work outs- do intervals or switch back in forth with the elliptical machine. Also, just have fun and you can be a little safer on those really early morning runs when there are a bunch of creepers out!