Learning to Bond with The Treadmill:  Benefits of Treadmill Running

7 Sep

The TREADMILL.  Just mentioning the dreaded treadmill makes most runners cringe, groan, and roll their eyes.  (The TREADMILL!? Anything but the treadmill!  Nooooooo!)  There is a reason we refer to it as the DREADMILL.  That black rotating belt makes us feel like a hamster that is stuck on a never ending wheel…going, going, going…nowhere.

When I am on a treadmill, I feel like I miss so much.  I miss the wind in my face and seeing people walking their dogs or pushing their babies in strollers.  I miss waving at my neighbors or feeling the breeze coming off the LSU lakes.  Depending on the weather, I miss the warmth of the sun on my skin or the light sting of rain drops (which we get a lot of here inSouth Louisiana).  Outdoor runs also mean I can go run with my friends, something I feel like I need so much lately.

However, I think my days of outdoor runs are over until after Baby Key arrives.  I have tried hard, but at almost 32 weeks, I feel like my outdoor running days are over.  The pressure from the baby belly is just too hard on my body (even with the help of compression shorts and the FITsplint) and on my last couple of runs, things started to hurt.  All along, I have promised my husband that when things started to hurt, I would stop.  The pounding of my feet on the pavement is just too much for me.

So, I’m…embracing the treadmillMark it down!  I said it!  Whether I am running/jogging at 0% incline or walking at a steep incline percentage, at least I will still be moving.  At the end of the day, that’s the point…keep me and Baby Key moving as long as possible.

Since I am trying to change my perspective and attitude toward the dreadmill treadmill, I thought it might be more motivating if I knew some specific ways that the treadmill can be beneficial.  That way, every time I go to step up on it, I can think of one of these reasons and (hopefully!) have a better good attitude about my daily cardio.

Easy to use.
Most treadmills are pretty self-explanatory with directions popping right up on the screen.

Predictable surface provides reassurance for those with balance issues or leg injuries.
On a treadmill, you will not have to worry about running from stray dogs, tripping over cracks in the road, or stepping up onto or down from sidewalks.

All aspects of the workout (speed/pace, incline, etc.) can be controlled; Precise and highly controlled speed work and interval training; Consistent pacing.
YOU are the one who controls the workout. You can make the workout as easy/hard as you want to.

Temperature controlled exercise.
I almost hate to bring this one up since we are currently having near PERFECT running weather here in Louisiana this week, but the treadmill does offer some reprieve when we are experiencing those days with temperatures in the 100’s.

No excuses about not exercising in bad weather.
Even a fair weather runner can get his sweat on with a treadmill.

Treadmill belts offer better shock absorption.
For those with chronic knee problems or weight issues, the softer surface of the treadmill offers more shock absorption than the asphalt on the road. This will result in less injuries in the long run.

Some treadmills can be programmed to simulate famous race courses. (Pretty neat!)


Always a bathroom close by for…ahem, stomach issues.
All I have to say is “runners trots.” I am lucky enough to never have been faced with this issue, but I hear it affects a lot of runners. We’ll just leave it at that.

Builds mental toughness.
This one may be the biggest benefit of all. Getting on the treadmill will require me to be more self-disciplined, committed, and motivated to get through my workouts. I know that using the treadmill routinely will be difficult for me and it will take a great amount of mental toughness to muscle through these exercises. If I can master the treadmill for a few weeks, I will be more than ready to return to being a dedicated road warrior post-baby.

How do YOU feel about the treadmill? Have you ever been in a situation where you were forced to use it even though you did not want to?

21 Responses to “Learning to Bond with The Treadmill:  Benefits of Treadmill Running”

  1. rivershughey September 7, 2011 at 9:37 AM #

    Ohhhh the dreadmill. I haven’t run on one of those in over a year, but I think it’s great that you are taking a frustrating situation and flipping it into something positive. For you the treadmill is the best of both worlds….you can still get your run on AND you can avoid the heat.

    I’m very proud of you, Mama!

    • katieRUNSthis September 7, 2011 at 9:44 AM #

      I know, I know. I’m trying to be so positive about this new routine, but I’m just having such a hard time with it. I know that in the grand scheme of things, this sacrifice of putting in miles on a treadmill versus miles on the road will seem so minor and inconsequential when compared to all the other sacrifices I will make for Baby Key, but today…


  2. DubyaWife (@DubyaWife) September 7, 2011 at 9:42 AM #

    I find I always get serious shin splints on the dreadmill and get bored very easily. However! I will say that having a sustained 6mph really makes me work harder. There’s something about forced pacing that keeps me going.

    Sad to not see ya out and about but I know you’ll be back out their with a fury after Baby Key. Have you guys gotten a running stroller yet!?!?

    • katieRUNSthis September 7, 2011 at 9:46 AM #

      The boredom is what I am fearing the most. It looks like I am going to have to put in more time on updating my Running Playlist to keep it interesting. Thank goodness this is not a permanent situation!

      Oh, don’t think I won’t still be out at Happy’s Running Club! I’ll still be out there…just walking instead of running! 🙂

      We get the jogging stroller tomorrow! EEEK! Its used, but its free so I’m not complaining!!

      • Gabe (@gabequinn) September 7, 2011 at 11:54 AM #

        As a result of more than a few 100+ days here in the south, I have done quite a few runs on the treadmill. Other than music I have also enjoyed listening to books on tape. I did 21 miles last week and almost got through an entire book!

  3. Kevin September 7, 2011 at 9:43 AM #

    The dreadmill?? Gah!!!

    • katieRUNSthis September 7, 2011 at 9:47 AM #

      I know, I know! When I hear the word “treadmill”, it is like nails on a chalkboard! SCREEEEECH!

      I have to embrace the change though. Gotta do what I gotta do…

  4. Terry Toler September 7, 2011 at 9:43 AM #

    I have learned to LOVE my treadmill:) 10 years ago this summer I lost my colon to Ulcerative Colitis so I have to be super careful about dehydration. Running in the summer outside heat everyday is NOT going to happen. Not that LaPlace has much great running spots anyway! I love tv so I watch all of my fav programs on the DVR while running. I am not a couch potato but a treadmill potato! Where there is a will there is a way!!

    • katieRUNSthis September 7, 2011 at 9:48 AM #

      Wow! I didn’t know you had Ulcerative Colitis. It is really amazing that you are able to do all the things that you do! Are you able to run outdoors in the fall and winter? How about with these recent cooler temperatures that we have been having? Treadmill potato…I love it!

      • Terry Toler September 7, 2011 at 10:21 AM #

        Yes, once it cools down a bit more I will hit the levee in St. Charles Parish! I had a bit of trouble with the CCC this year since it was pretty hot but did fine at the Spillway Classic in July! I am doing my 1st 1/2 at the Louisiana Marathon in January so that is perfect for me! My Go Sports ID has No Guts All Glory on it!

  5. Morgan @ Becoming Rooks September 7, 2011 at 10:26 AM #

    Since our winters can be pretty rough, I have a fairly decent relationship with the treadmill. It can be brutal, but it’s better than not running at all. I do a lot of visualization tricks where I picture my normal route in my mind and adjust the incline of the treadmill to match accordingly. I also use winters/controlled pace to work on my speed. And a BIG heck yes to the bathroom thing. The second half of my 8miler this past weekend was on the treadmill due to such an issue.

  6. Brenton September 7, 2011 at 10:43 AM #

    I ran on a treadmill once. About 4 years ago. Longest 30 minutes of my life. Two words: never again.

  7. Melissa September 7, 2011 at 11:50 AM #

    I am 50/50 on the treadmill, a love/hate relationship. I love it because I can maintain the pace I want without putting too much thought into it or having to constantly stare at my garmin. I can sleep in if I don’t want to run at 5am to avoid the 100+ degree heat.

    However, I hate it because at any given moment I can say “see ya” and jump off. This was the case this past weekend as I attempted a 15 on the ‘mill. Once I hit 11, I had had enough. If I was out on the trail though, I would have still be 4 miles from the car and had to suck it up.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the mental toughness aspect – it’ll do wonders for your running game! Good luck 🙂

  8. Sarah (@runsqrlrun) September 7, 2011 at 11:53 AM #

    I actually really love the treadmill. It helps me stay sane through the cold, snowy New England winters. It’s also my preferred locale for speedwork. I feel like it helps me learn what faster paces feel like!

  9. Kristen Dufauchard September 7, 2011 at 12:27 PM #

    Since I’ve started running outside, the treadmill seems like a joke! Esp. In this weather…although the advantages you pointed out were pretty amazing. Esp. the bathroom one. Never thought about it like that. 😀

  10. Suzy September 7, 2011 at 12:33 PM #

    The terrible treadmill. I actually don’t mind the treadmill all that much! I prefer hitting the pavement, but I make do with what I’ve got, and usually run the hour that has Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. Keeps the brain busy instead of being bored on the treadmill!

    You’re so right on the maintaining an even pace, though. I know I’m able to speed up to my music when I’m outside, and you can’t really do that on the treadmill.

    Good luck with your treadmill running!

  11. Sarah@100CalsPerMile September 7, 2011 at 5:17 PM #

    I heart my treadmill. I bought it when it started getting icy on the roads and I didn’t want to slip and really injure myself. Once Leah was born, I was able to put her in the swing and get my workout in while she napped. Sometimes she would nap for half an hour other times not, but it’s still a million times better than nothing. An convienece is king when you have children.

  12. Concrete Runner September 7, 2011 at 7:16 PM #

    I have also embraced the treadmill during pregnancy. It is just so much easier on my body! Yes, I run much slower, but it is definitely easier to run! And, just so you know, I have skipped running on the treadmill due to weather before – I just couldn’t get out of my driveway because of 2 feet of snow on the ground to get to the gym!

  13. Heidi Murphy September 7, 2011 at 8:50 PM #

    I actually started running on a treadmill and then moved outdoors … I used to find outdoors harder because of the weather and hills. These days I prefer outdoors but still have my occasional rainy days with the treadmill!

  14. Lisa Rini September 7, 2011 at 8:51 PM #

    I actually have learned to embrace the ‘ole treadmill. When I need to work on specific pacing, it tends to really help. However, the mental discipline to stay on it more than 4 miles can be tough. Great blog post!! 🙂

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