Treadmill: I Love You, I Love You Not

Posted on January 14, 2011


I love the winter because it offers prime cuddling moments, overactive spooning and endless hugs.  (Wow, who gets to be the girl?)  But, what they don’t tell you about winter (I looked in the brochure) is that getting outside to run is more challenging.  This unforeseen challenge has led to the realization that running outside is not always possible and that utilizing a treadmill is often a necessity. 

The first few weeks of winter were actually easy.  Running outside in colder temperatures actually put a spring in my step.  Then, well, it got colder.  I mean like arctic front, storm of the century, and myriad things the news likes to spin it as in Texas, cold.  And, well, it’s fine.  I don’t need to run outside.  It’s merely just a preference.  Thus, I decided that the treadmill and I should begin our torrid love affair once again. 

The treadmill and I first started out as acquaintances, which then led to us becoming BFF’s.  From this great friendship a wonderful relationship was born.  We had formed a seemingly unbreakable bond.  We were together almost every day.  I knew how to turn it on and it knew how to handle my energy.  It was the yin to my running yang and I couldn’t imagine running without it.  But, all good things must come to an end.

One day I decided to try and run outside.  Unfortunately, for the treadmill’s sake, it was in the spring which brought an unspeakable beauty to the surrounding area.  I began to enjoy my outside runs and I started making excuses to my ever faithful treadmill that I had to work late, or that I was injured and couldn’t come by to give it the attention it so desired.  Running outside had become my new woman.

For me it makes sense to run outside because it offers so many things the treadmill does not.  For example, running outside provides a consistent change in elevation, a diminished chance of the runs becoming monotonous, and the ability to experience the weather’s various elements that help prepare me for different races.  But, perhaps the most important thing of all, it can never be occupied by someone else.  It is always available 24/7, which honestly makes the treadmill in my gym seem like the ugly step sister.  One also has to admit that running on a treadmill makes you feel like a hamster on a wheel, whereas running outside makes you feel as though you can run anywhere in the world. 

The problem I have faced this winter is the quick setting sun and overall freezing temperatures.  I can run outside, but I prefer to not be overwhelmingly cold with every step.  The realization that the treadmill has had to become my main source of running once again was unexpected.  Rekindling our relationship has proven to be a grueling task.  First, my treadmill assumes that we were on a break and has already begun to see other people.  (Can you believe that?)  Sometimes it won’t even give me the time of day and lets other people turn it on.  I can’t even watch and I have to leave the gym.  Apparently all these other people are throwing themselves at it because they are getting in shape for the New Year.  The treadmill doesn’t realize that they are just using it.

It is imperative that I get every single one of runs in every week since the half marathon is getting closer.  I refuse to use the bad weather as an excuse, because there are too many ways to cross-train, whether it’s doing a video, the elliptical or focusing on strength training.  But, I always prefer the treadmill when I am unable to run outside.  I never expected to need it so much this year, nor did I know how much I would miss it when it is occupied by another person.  After all, it is where my love of running all began and I guess I neglected the treadmill these past few months.  I do need the treadmill to help me continue to train.  I just hope it knows that I am sorry and takes me back completely.