I do a lot of my training on a treadmill during my lunch break. I have some internal conflict about this because:
- I’m paying for a gym I only use 3-4 days per week, mostly for only one piece of equipment.
- Nobody else in my office works out during lunch – I rinse off in the shower, but even dry shampoo doesn’t make me look ‘normal’ when I get back to my desk.
- From what I read on the internet, treadmill running is inferior to road running as far as getting in a quality workout. I worry that I’m not doing running right.
However, I really do love the treadmill and here’s why.
I like to sleep. My commute is long and I refuse to wake up at 4am to get a run in at home before heading into traffic. After work I have other obligations with family and music and in the winter it’s dark by 4pm. If I didn’t run on treadmills in the middle of the workday I would not run at all.
TV. I’m a few episodes away from the series finale of Mad Men. I have strong opinions about how awfully this show treats Betty vs Don and it’s an interesting climate now to be watching a show which is basically sexual-harassment fan-fiction. Anyway, it’s pretty trashy and self-indulgent and I’m totally into it. I’m hoping Joan and Peggy burn the place down and all the men get bankrupt and thrown in jail. I watch it on the treadmill.
Forced Pacing. My Garmin lost my trust this summer when it misjudged my pace by about 10-15 seconds per mile. I also don’t trust myself at all to know how fast I’m going or to maintain a steady pace for any period of time. But with the treadmill, if the plan says 4×1 mile at half marathon pace with 2 min recovery, I can guarantee I’ll hit those paces. Also, if the plan says 6 miles easy, I can guarantee I won’t overdo it and go to fast.
Boredom Training: Intervals and Tempos on a treadmill are one thing – at least there are buttons to push – but easy runs on a treadmill are a special emotional journey all their own. It’s a powerful thing to realize that even if you’re running your easy pace for over an hour and going nowhere, that the minutes and miles still do pass by…eventually.
In conclusion, treadmills are great and very cool. Although I suspect that the people who own my gym and are always sending out newsletters about ‘functional training’ might look down on me for it, I’ll continue to do my part to wear out every belt on every treadmill while watching smutty tv on my phone and hoping nobody’s watching over my shoulder.