Treadmills CAN be fun (I promise!)
Treadmills tend to take a lot of heat from runners as something that is to be dreaded which
lends to their nickname as “dreadmills”. Don’t get me wrong, completing anything above 4 miles on a treadmill can feel like the equivalent achievement of summiting Everest. On a treadmill, the minutes seem to tick by in slow-motion compared with running outside and more times than not you need music, podcasts, or another form of entertainment to distract yourself from the monotony of the run. However, after spending a winter in the Great White North of Bozeman, Montana I have a whole new appreciation and respect for treadmills.
Lucky for me, LifeSpan Fitness came to the rescue and agreed to send me a treadmill to help me keep chasing my running goals while riding out the (seemingly endless) winter in Montana. The LifeSpan TR6000i can go up to 13.5 mph and a 13% grade which was more than enough to get me through even my toughest and fastest workouts. During most normal years, I was no stranger to using treadmills at the gym. However, with COVID still running rampant in the community I was hesitant to be at a gym and running in a public but enclosed space. Fortunately, with the help of LifeSpan, I was able to get a top-of-the-line treadmill to help me get through some of the snowiest and iciest days.
A few pro-tips to make running on the treadmill a bit easier:
- Find a good playlist, or make one yourself, with some good pump-up jams to keep your runs fun!
- Podcasts can be a fun way to pass the time during easy runs
- Play with the incline and speed during your runs to break things up mentally and give your body different physical stimuli
- Wear a fun outfit (I like lots of colors!) if you are feeling especially down about the cold weather
- For workouts: pick longer intervals that are time and effort based so that you aren’t worried about hitting certain splits or the speed-up/slow-down of the machine
- Think of treadmill workouts as not just physical workouts, but mental workouts too!
- Staring at a wall is a great time to home in on your mental toughness, fortitude, and meditation that can all come in handy on race day!
Get in a good sweat! Winter runs can be beautiful but sometimes it feels good to just get hot and sweat a little (or a lot!) and this can really help up your body’s natural EPO and red blood cell production too!
So, while treadmills may be a totally different experience to running outside, I think they can still be very valuable tools to all runners. When looked at through a perspective of gratitude and positivity, there are a lot of lessons and advantages that can be gleamed from the oft dreaded machines. If you are looking to really stay on top of your training and maintain speed through next winter, a treadmill is a great option to help keep your training consistent. If you haven’t already, I hope you can give the “dreadmill” a chance!