When I was training hard for past races I was motivated to get in my long runs no matter what the weather was like outside. Rain, snow, high winds, freezing temperatures. It didn’t matter. If I had a run planned, I’d get out there and do it.
Lately, the weather has been kind of rainy, and I just can’t get motivated to go outside and run in the rain. Sometimes I can convince myself that a rain run is refreshing and fun, but lately, I just can’t get out there if the weather is nasty. Last week, Graham and I set out on a run, it started raining and we turned around and went home after a measly 1km.
As a result of this inclement Spring weather, I’ve done several indoor runs on the treadmill in our condo building’s tiny gym. When I first started running, I ran almost exclusively on a treadmill and had no problem with it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I enjoyed it, but I certainly didn’t hate it. After running outdoors in all seasons over the last 2 years, I have grown to detest the treadmill with growing hatred.
It is so god awfully boring. Perhaps it has something to with the fact that I’m isolated in a tiny room, staring at a wall with no visual stimulation whatsoever, but 10km on a treadmill seems to drag on for hours. Despite the fact that you’re inundated with measurements – distance, time, heart rate, calories – the numbers seem to creep up at an impossibly slow rate. I usually cover them up with a towel because I can’t stand to look at them. And the worst part is, I sometimes finish my arduous treadmill run, and I don’t even feel like I got a very good workout! What gives?!
Turns out, running on a treadmill is actually easier than running outdoors for several reasons:
- The treadmill belt assists in leg turnover so it’s actually easier to run faster.
- There’s no weather conditions or wind resistance on a treadmill so overall, you’re not as challenged. You can compensate for this by setting the treadmill to a 1.5% incline but running at 0% is definitely easier than an outdoor run.
- The base of the treadmill is springier than road surfaces which makes it easier on your body to run faster and longer
As far as I’m concerned, the only real benefit of the treadmill is that it protects you from the elements. I think I need to just suck it up and get outside – rain or shine.
And for those days where I wimp out and begrudgingly head to the treadmill, I’d love to hear tips from any avid treadmill runners. How do you make long runs less arduous? Are there any workouts that make treadmill running more enjoyable?