triathlon and family can mix

Treadmill, Evil?

A big topic of debate between runners, is the treadmill worth it?


I have been known to flog the treadmill now and then. Hey, a recent post was inspired by my less than ideal workout on a treadmill.

Is the treadmill the work of horrible little hobbits designed to make our running experience as horrible as it can be? Of course not. There are times when the treadmill is the best, if not only option, to head for a run.

Again, putting this is a positive light, here are my top five reason to get on, and off a treadmill.

Stay on the Treadmill

1 Intervals – Want to complete intervals and either don’t have a GPS watch or hate looking down at your wrist every 30 seconds? To quote a lame infomercial, on the treadmill you can ‘set it, and forget it’.

2 Catch up – I use my treadmill time to catch up on the days sports highlights or read a portion of my current book (I always have one on the go and one on deck). I have found that the km’s fly by when I get engrossed in a good book.

3 Test New Equipment – What does the guy at the running store tell you every time? “Add a little distance with each workout so you don’t hurt yourself.” Well if you can’t return you new kicks after they have been outside, how can you test them? Treadmill, good answer.

4 Weather – When it takes longer to get dressed/undressed then it does to complete your workout, it may be too cold outside to run. For me, -15 degrees is my line for staying indoors.

5 Hill Repeats – The treadmill’s incline feature will allow you to hit the hills when you want for how long you want. Just be sure to finish your interval.

Get off the Treadmill

1 (Down)Hill Repeats – Running uphill is tough, running downhill can be tougher. Downhills can be a great spot to gain on your PR but also give your legs a well deserved rest. No negative incline option on a treadmill.

2 Variance – When I visit my physio for a leg related problem, he always asks if I have been switching up my training. By running outside, the slight change in the path with each step will strengthen your feet and legs, hopefully keeping you injury free.

3 Training Partners – I have never come across a training partner or group who meet on the third floor of the YMCA (next to the treadmills). Get outside, run, and meet some new people.

4 Race Simulation – Every race you will enter will give you the course prior to registration. You can take that knowledge, run a portion, or all of it prior to the race giving you an unfair advantage.

5 Weather – It must be depressing running on a treadmill when it is +25 degrees and sunny outside. Again, fresh air and vitamin D are a great combination.

Given the choice between treadmill and pathway, I will take pathway every time. As long as it isn’t raining, snowing, or cold out…..

Question: What would you choose? Anything you would add to the top 5?


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