Cage match: The outdoors vs. the treadmill


Cmon people, get off the treadmills and join me outside!

So remember last night when it was Southeastern Armageddon 2011? Yknow, telephone poles dropping on cars, houses being demolished. Very scary and sad stuff. And, in the interest of playing Master of the Obvious, clearly not a good night for a run. It’s only nights like this that can make me attempt to face down my most formidable foe — The Dreaded Treadmill (or the Dreadmill, if you like being efficient with your words).

It’s been about a year since the treadmill and I last crossed paths. It was a stormy evening, much like last night, and, inspired by Ron Burgundy, I was craving a nice yog. I sized up the treadmill at my work gym. I had a brief flashback of the last time I tried hoofing it on a t-mill, and how after the first mile, out of boredom, I was tempted to put the speed up so high I’d fly off the back. “Oh come Yvonne,” I thought to myself, “Surely you’re being melodramatic. Surely you’re misremembering.”

So I got on, cranked that puppy to 5.8, and took off. Took off, I quickly realized, to NOWHERE. Which, I would argue, is the inherent problem with the treadmill. Sure, the surface beneath you is moving, but you’ve got unchanging scenery for your entire run. Sure, you can watch TV to keep you distracted, but it’s hard to stay focused on the crazy hijinks of those “Glee” kids when you’re bouncing up and down and trying to catch your breath.

Another argument against the running machine — it doesn’t really prepare you for an outside run, especially a road race. Maybe it’s better than nothing, but if you’ve been doing all your training on a treadmill and decide to take it to the streets, you just might feel like committing hari kari after the first mile.

So while I considered a treadmill run last night, in the end I decided I’d rather do without and get a longer run in today. Is anybody else with me on this, or am I the only one allergic to treadmills? Do any of you actually prefer treadmills to running outside?

7 comments Add your comment


April 28th, 2011
4:23 pm

I agree completely with treadmill running being boring but during allergy season I simply can’t run outside – treadmills are sometimes just a necessary evil


April 28th, 2011
4:58 pm

Oh the treadmill! Not only boring but I don’t feel that I get the same workout on the treadmill versus the outdoors. I train on a treadmill for a few consecutive runs and then go out for a run and it’s a different and more hard run than indoors.

Gen Neyland

April 29th, 2011
7:49 pm

In 20 years of running, I’ve hit the treadmill less than 10 times. Have run in Arizona summers and Minnesota winters. Love the elements, except lightning…


April 30th, 2011
9:50 am

Sounds like you need a training program. A program helps you stay focused and it gives you goals. Most recommend starting 24 weeks ahead of your main event. Treadmills are great if used properly. They help get you into a proper running cadence (180 steps per minute, 2/2 breathing pattern, etc.) if used properly. They also allow you to run at the same environmental conditions daily which is crucial for interval training. Casual runners who are only running for the social aspect (”hey, I ran the PRR”) may not be dedicated enough to running to garner the many advantages treadmills offer. Buy yourself a good running book and you’ll quickly see why they have there place in a training regime.


April 30th, 2011
10:01 pm

I’ve worn out a treadmill or two. That’s why I stopped using them.


May 1st, 2011
2:46 pm

I am a “heavy footed” runner when I run outdoors….but when I do run on the treadmill I am able to glide and I find I run longer. But when I run outside again it is a much more difficult run. So the best I can do is “take it in stride” lol.


May 2nd, 2011
9:09 am

I have lost 30 pounds since I started using my treadmill at home in late December. I have my tv on or have my ipod going and love every minute I am going. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but, this formerly fat guy loves his machine and looks forward to being on it tonight.