Friday, March 6, 2015

I have a confession: I love my treadmill

Yes, I said it.  And Yes, I meant it.
I usually have company when I'm down on the TM
This winter probably like most winters there's a lot of chatter on the usual social media networks about the winter weather and the dreadmill.  There's the usual complaining about the bone-chilling temps and slippery conditions.  Of course there are those "badasses" boasting their sub-zero runs with icicles off of every body part or those running through 12 feet of snow.  There are also lots of conversation going back/forth about whether to run outside or stick to the TM.  On more than one occasion I've witness a lot of negativity towards those who tend to stick to the TM during these tough winter conditions.  It's led to many runners (myself included) constantly feeling like they have to defend themselves about why they ran on the TM instead of outside. Luckily I have not had to deal with any of this personally as my running friends are supportive no matter what, but in general it makes me annoyed to read these conversations.
sometimes I have to wait my turn
One thing that I've really enjoyed during my short time as part of the running community is the incredible support that is almost always displayed regardless of ability, etc.  So I was surprised to see some runners putting others down just for using the TM.  If you ask me a run is a run.  And shouldn't we be congratulating each other on getting all our miles in despite the crappiness outside?  I think so. 
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to run outside as much as possible in all kinds of elements.  I know it's essential for training.  But there's times where it's just not smart not only as a runner (I've seen alot of winter related running injuries lately) but also as a wife and a mother.  I have a lot of responsibilities (including a very physically demanding job) other than running and if I were to get seriously hurt when it could have been easily avoided, I would never forgive myself (not to mention be so pissed off when I have to miss some training and races).
The kids cheer me on sometimes on the mill
I don't condemn people that do choose to go outside in below zero and risk hypothermia or being sick for weeks after.  I don't condemn those that went out and risk falling and breaking something.  It's great for them if it's worth the risk.  But I don't think it makes me or anyone else less of a runner if we choose not to do that.  And there are tons of  other reasons to utilize the TM, safety being one, the goal of the winter training cycle or just life circumstances in general.  There are plenty of times throughout the entire year that in order to get the run done, I have to use the TM.  Can't leave two little kids home alone to go out and run and sometimes a particular workout or weather is just not conducive to running with the double BOB.  Then there are those times were Emir and I need to get our runs done essentially at the same time but it's too long of a run to take the kids, so we rock, paper scissors for the mill.  If it wasn't for our TM, there would be many a missed run.  We do what we have to get our training in without sacrificing our family life.

This current training cycle I'm training for the Ocean Drive Marathon (March 29th).  My goal is to improve my Philly Marathon BQ time by about 1.5 minutes as my current BQ will not be good enough to get in.  I purposely have not done any races since the Phunt 50K (Jan 3rd) so that I could train hard, not risk injury and be fully recovered for the race. 

good times slopping through the rain/mud at the PHUNT but my legs were hurting for a while after
A lot of the focus of this cycle has been on speedwork which is pretty impossible to do outside when there are icy patches everywhere.  I could complete some of the runs by being cautious and creeping over the slippery areas but then I do not get the miles in at a faster speed that I want.  I've also noticed on the few runs that I did venture out in the frigid temps that I just can't get my legs moving the way I want.  I'm ok at about 28-30 degrees and above but below that I feel like I can't move.  The treadmill has allowed me to get my miles at whatever speed I want without having to worry or constantly fight stiff/frozen legs.   If I was training for a winter race or even a late march ultra, more than likely I would tough things out a bit more just because I would be facing these types of conditions in the race and if training for an ultra I do lots of slower miles anyway so no biggie to have to take it easy.

Am I concerned that not running as many miles outside will hurt me?  Not really.  If anything I think utilizing the treadmill this cycle has been much more beneficial than if I had done some of those runs outside.  I've noticed my legs have been overall feeling pretty good, almost refreshed.  I mean I suppose it could be since I haven't raced in a couple months but it could also be just giving them a little bit of a break from the constant pavement pounding.  I was a little worried at first that I may not be running as fast as I thought I was on the TM, as we all know our Garmins are not perfectly correct inside.  But the runs lately that I have done outside that have included some speedwork, have gone really well.  I've been able to achieve the pace I want making me feel that I'm doing some solid training this cycle regardless of where I'm doing it. 
Sometimes I do make it out ;-)
Yes, sometimes the treadmill might get annoying when you are like me and love running outside, exploring all different places and hitting up the trails.  But the truth is, I don't know what I would do without it.  It's always there for me, any weather, any time I need it.  Not to mention running 22 miles on the TM is NOT easy!!!  It takes a lot of willpower to run more than an hour or so on the mill.  It's taught me alot of discipline.  And best of all it has also allowed me to watch a lot of movies I would not have had time to watch ;-)   I KNOW that I would not be half the runner I have become the last year or two without my TM.  So yeah,  I am totally not ashamed to say I LOVE my TM.


  1. I'm a treadmill runner, too, and I generally like it as long as I'm doing less than 5 miles. It's way easier than getting all bundled up and worrying about slipping and falling. I also find it's great training for me to keep a consistent pace, and it's a heck of a lot easier to do speed work. I always say do what works for you. The treadmill is WAY better than not running at all!