Monday, February 14, 2011

The 'mill versus the great outdoors

 Happy Valentine's Day!!
My kids woke up to a spread of candy at their seats at the table and they each had a love note from me (it took a long time to write 12 notes!!) They were all excited to wear their pink and red clothes and to bring their Valentine's to school for their friends. Should be a fun day for everyone! Josh and I had our date over the weekend so we aren't doing anything special today, but he is the love of my life and I am so grateful that he is my Valentine today and everyday.

I did a quick three mile run and then my strength training this morning. My inner ankles were still sore but no worse (and I think maybe slightly better than yesterday). I am sitting here with a bag of frozen corn on each ankle to ice. :)

Ok, so today's topic is treadmills. Here are a couple of treadmill related questions from readers...

On the 'mill, what do you do with the incline? Also, how are you liking your mill, now?
For those that are newer to this blog, just over a month ago I uh.... ummmm....accidentally bought a treadmill (really!) I have to say that I am really, really liking it. My new Nordictrack is running perfectly. I love the built in speakers (no headphones required!) and the built in fan. The belt is longer and wider than my old treadmill which is nice, and it runs SO so smoothly, even at fast speeds. It is nice not having to worry about it stopping, jerking or throwing me off. :)
Here I am on the new 'mill

In regards to the incline, I was doing some research and found this cool chart that tells you what pace a treadmill pace and incline is equal to when running outside. I have no idea how accurate it is, but I thought it was interesting. If I am not doing hill work, I usually set the treadmill incline at 0.5% or 1% for the length of the run. I never run with it at 0%. What do you do with your treadmill incline?

And while we are on the subject, how do you feel about treadmills? Love them? Hate them? Can't live without them?

I admit to having a love-hate relationship with mine. If given the choice I would always choose running outside, but here are my pros and cons.
Treadmill pro's
- I can run even when the roads are an ice skating rink or the temps are below 0.
- I can run even when Josh is gone and my big kids are at school and I am home with the little ones.
- The bathroom is always very close by.
- No cars

Treadmill cons
- The kids can still "need me", the phone still rings, people still come to the door, etc. so it is the not the same emotional freedom of being gone for a run outside.
- It just feels harder
- Did I mention boring?

So, I love my treadmill because it ensures that I can always get my runs in no matter what the weather or our schedule entails. But beyond that, I kind of hate it because I swear every mile feels twice as long on the treadmill.

And I know that "they" (whoever "they" are) say that running on a treadmill is easier and that you probably won't be able to run as fast outside as you can on a treadmill, but I find the opposite to be true. When I run outside it feels so much easier to me than the treadmill and my paces come so much faster and easier. Anyone else or I am just weird??

I usually do the majority of my running on the treadmill in December, January and February, although I try to get my weekend runs done outside whenever I can. Somewhere in March I will start getting up early early and getting my runs done outside every day again. Once I start that I probably won't use the treadmill except for the rare occasion until the winter again.

How about you? Do you run on a treadmill regularly? Love it? Hate it? What are your pros and cons?

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! And remember, you have until Friday morning to enter my giveaway for $55!


BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

Well I first started running on a treadmill in my basement with nothing but a rack of old dvd players to look at. So while it wasn't exciting it got me going. Any chance I can get to run outside I am more excited to do that. But life with little one's can get in the way and if the only way to get a run in is to wake up at 4 am then that's what I have to do. My husband set up some type of monitor computer thing right in front of my treadmill now so I can watch programs finally. eh. We'll see how that works.

Run with Jess said...

I totally agree!! I have a much harder time running a fast pace on a treadmill - outside I just seem to gooooo easier without as much effort.

I love my treadmill... as it gives me no excuse. Snowed in and can't make the gym... head downstairs! Raining outside... head downstairs!! Kids/hubby driving you crazy... head downstairs! Ge the picture?! LOL

For me treadmills runs need to stay under 5miles. Anything more is like insanity... booooorrrrring indeed!

Terzah said...

My treadmill limit depends on the kind of run. If it's supposed to be an even pace, my limit is about 5 or 6 miles max. But if I'll be changing up paces a lot (like a speed workout), I find I can do seven or even eight because it's so much more interesting that way.

I also agree that running faster is easier for me outside--there are uphills outside, but there are also downhills, after all, to help you amp up your average pace.

I envy you ladies who have your own treadmills! Something for the future...:^) I'm grateful for all the good gyms around here.

Caroline said...

I feel the same about the dreadmill! Every step takes me the effort of three outside, even with the TV and a pretty flat surface. But, with all the snow we have on our roads in New England right now, and the fact that I must be home from an outdoor run by 6 am so my husband can leave for work, I have found the treadmill pretty useful this winter.

I will say that I think there is definitely something to your incline chart. When I was younger, I trained one winter on a treadmill, keeping the pace at 6.0 all the time and just increasing and increasing the incline. By the end of the winter, I had it quite high. I then ran a pretty effortless 10K at 8 min/mi pace, so I think the incline (and not getting any decline to recover) makes a difference in pace.

Now, how about a post on motivation???? That seeems like your real secret weapon!


Jennie said...

Erin, I love the blog. I'm Jaymie Hansens sister and live in Thayne, I have 5 kids under 7 yrs old. Thought you might like the blog I started that is meant to motivational and inspiring. or it's a link on Jaymie's if you have hers. I love to run but right now I'm actually doing P90x to change it up and lean out so I'm ready for spring and summer trails. I prefer trail running much more than roads.

Meredith said...

I've been doing most of my runs on the mill and I'm actually loving it. Although I do prefer outdoors, but on the mill I can run ANY time of day. I play with speeds and incline to change it up and find that it really helps to pass the time.

Anonymous said...

I can also go so much further outside than on my treadmill. But I'm glad to have it because it pours all winter long here in the Seattle area. Sometimes though, I just run in the rain because I can't face another day on the treadmill. Robin

Deanna@MilesToRun said...

I just found your blog...this particular post actually and love it. I LOVE my treadmill and I love treadmill running. I agree that it is much harder on a mill. I run faster and easier outside. I struggle to keep any sort of fast-ish pace on the mill. But, in a way it's a nice surprise once I'm able to get outside in March to find how fast I've become.

Kara said...

Just found your blog--I am author of a children's book called "See Mom Run" and your site popped into my google alerts! I almost choked on my GU when I read you had 12 kids! WOW and getting your runs in, too. Amazing, inspiring, motivating! Whether you like it or not you NEED a treadmill! Me? I ran outside even though it was 10 degrees. That should answer your question!!