Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Five - My Treadmill Affection

Before I get into my Friday Five (which is a soapbox post for me), let me just share this...

Louis *rocked* his baseball game last night!  2 hits, 2 runs.  Superstar!  So proud of that boy!  Plus, he is awfully cute in that uniform, don't you think?

Linking up agian with Cynthia at You Signed Up For What? , Mar at Mar on The Run & Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC for the Friday Five...

It must be coincidental, but there was a lot of chatter online among a couple of the running groups I belong to about treadmills.

For the last 2 years/training cycles, I have ran almost solely on the treadmill.  Some weeks 100%, some more like 75%, but the treadmill is a big part of my running routine.

Most people think I'm crazy when I tell them I've run 18 or 20 miles on a treadmill, not once, but multiple times.

Don't you get bored? How can you do that? They ask.

I hate the dreadmill. You're crazy! They say.

Well to all the treadmill haters (and fans) out are 5 reasons why*I* love running on a treadmill.

5.  Speed Workouts.

Speed workouts on the treadmill rock.  There is no constant glancing at my watch or phone ap to see what pace I'm running.  I set my pace and go.  Then I rest.  Then I repeat.  Now the haters may say that the speed on treadmills is more often incorrect than not, but whatever.  I am going faster and pushing myself harder than I would if I were running outside.

I like the control that this gives me over my speed workouts & I can feel good about hitting my paces every time.

4.  Weather.

Thunderstorms?  105 degree heat?  Doesn't matter.  Nothing will cancel my run, nor will I be dying at 6am in the morning in the already 85 degree heat for 18-20 miles.

I've done that plenty of times and do not desire to repeat those experiences.  In fact, the last 20 miler I did outside (which was in 2011) was so horrible.  My friend and training partner Robby were training for the NYC marathon and went down to White Rock Lake at the butt crack of dawn.  The first loop (9 miles) went ok.  Then on the second, I asked him if he was sweating.  Nope.  Neither was I.  Our mouths were dry, despite all of the gatorade and water we had been drinking.  We later sat at breakfast and just stared into space kind of deliriously.  I'm pretty sure we were both on the verge of heat stroke.

After talking to him the next day, both of us had spent the rest of the day lying around feeling awful. Now while running 20 miles may just seem like it would be exhausting in itself, it's not THAT exhausting.  That is one experience I don't wish to repeat.  I run cool/cold weather races on purpose.  I don't train in the heat because I have absolutely no desire to do a race in the heat. that won't happen in Texas, but I *have* seen this happen in MN!

3.  The "Me Time".

One of the reasons I love running on the treadmill is because I take my ipad with me - I get on the gym's wi-fi and I watch movies and tv shows I normally wouldn't have the time to watch.  I live with one in this house wants to watch a 'Pretty Little Liars' marathon or Lifetime movies when the TV is actually on.

I also love seeing all the people I've met over the years at the gym.  Most will stop and chat with me for awhile.  It really helps break up some of those longer runs.  While, outdoor running is also "me time", I only get to listen to music I've already heard dozens or time or the occasional podcast.  I like to save that stuff for races.

2.  Hydration/Nutrition

Running on the treadmill allows me to have all the hydration and nutrition I need at arms reach.  I don't have to worry about running out of drinks like I would if I were out running on my own.  I know these things aren't always "within reach" during a race, but I know they are always available soon (every 1-2 miles).

AND.... #1


I have made sizable improvements in my running since I did an experiment in 2012.  After the heat stroke debacle of 2011, I challenged myself to do all of my training runs on the treadmill.  I improved my marathon time that year by 51 minutes!  From 5:30 finishing times in 2010 and 2011 to 4:39 after one treadmill training cycle.  I cut almost 20 more minutes off during cycle 2 this past year (2013)...down to 4:22.  My half marathon time went down by almost 30 minutes. I am looking to take another significant cut off my times this year with a new and improved training plan.  I just don't think I could or would have made these kinds of improvements by staying with outdoor running only.

Recently, I was made aware of an article that pointed out that treadmill training for any race was a huge mistake.  It obviously wasn't a mistake for me.  No, I'm not winning any majors, but I am winning my own personal race.  I'm improving and that is all that matters to me.  What the articles don't point out are some of the benefits of using the treadmill.  Like another runner stated, it does have its place in training.  If you want to improve, you can't jump on and do the same thing every. single. time.  Varying the speed and elevation are key.

Like I've told SO many others....treadmill training is not for everyone.  There are plenty of treadmill haters who have told me so.  :)  I read the "treadmill runners aren't "real" runners" a lot.  Oh really?!  My list of completed races would prove much otherwise.  Is it the best way?  Maybe, maybe not. I believe in doing the things that make YOU happy, not others.  I'll train MY way and run my races MY was because when something goes wrong I have no one to blame but me.

But, don't get me wrong...I love running outside too!  It's peaceful.  It's fresh air.  It's fun!

That's my Friday 5!

Have a great weekend!!


  1. That is one nice thing about running on the treadmill, everything is right there at your finger tips, no fuel belts required:) -L

  2. Oh my god I'm so glad I read this!!! While I love running outside, I really love doing long runs on a treadmill! I used to own one and had to sell it when I moved and I miss it so much :( I trained for my first half marathon on it, and then used it while doing my long runs for half #2! It was easier than running 12 miles in the snow - I saved that for my shorter runs. I love that I can get more water and sport beans whenever I need them, and if I have any scary stomach issues I can take care of it easily. Also, watching TV while I ran was awesome! Keep training on the treadmill, it's the cool thing to do :)

    1. I really do think all the cool kids are doing it!! :) I've had to run on the ice a few times here in TX and while it was interesting, it is dangerous! I strained my hip flexor one year. Some of my friends do "socks over shoes" on the ice and swear by it...I need to try this sometime!

  3. i hate the treadmill but appreciate this because you are right -- it doesn't matter where you are running, you are definitely a "real" runner! very nicely put -- thanks for linking up :)

  4. I LOVE this post! I don't hate the treadmill but I realized I'm not USED to it enough for really long runs - my stride was different from when I run outside. But I don't mind it for some of the reasons you mention, like watching TV shows. :)

    1. It definitely takes some getting used to. The first few longer runs I did on it? I thought I as going to die! It gets easier over time that is for sure!