(You can read about how I "accidentally" bought our treadmill here.)
Let me start by saying that I have a love-hate relationship with the treadmill. I hate it because it's miserable for me to run on. I would much, much rather run outside. For me, the miles go by faster outside, the time goes by more quickly outside, and paces feel easier outside. When I am outside I feel like I am free. When I am running indoors the kids can still need me, the phone still rings, etc. etc. etc.
And yet I live in the Rocky Mountains, where we have snow and icy roads continually for months every year. I don't mind snow or rain or cold at all, but icy roads are a deal breaker for me. If I was able to run in the afternoons I would probably be able to get more runs done outside year round, but since I have to run very early in the morning, and in the winter it is very dark, very cold, and very icy in the mornings, it is just not safe. On the icy roads it is very tough, if not impossible, to get a good tempo run or any type of speed work done, and to me, the risk of slipping and injuring myself is not worth it with all the work I am putting in to training for Boston. So I love the treadmill because it allows me to get my runs in and my marathon training done during the winter time.
Yes, last month I ran 307 miles. From my calculations, all but 14 of those miles were on my treadmill. It's not ideal. It's not my first choice. But it gets the job done and is letting me train for Boston through a cold, icy winter. I am hoping to get at least my last month of marathon training before Boston fully outdoors. Once the ice is gone, I won't touch the treadmill again until next winter.
I do think that running outside is best (especially for me) but I do also think that the treadmill is a good and effective alternative when needed. Here are some pieces of evidence to back that up from this article about training on a treadmill for a marathon.
- Norway's Ingrid Kristiansen at one time held the world record in the 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters, half-marathon and marathon. She won the London Marathon four times, Boston twice and New York once. A treadmill often was her best friend.
- Colorado's Kim Jones, twice runner-up at Boston and New York City, avoided ice-caked roads by running indoors.
- Chris Clark, the United States' lone woman at the Sydney Olympics, who set PRs at both the Trials and the Olympic Games, did half of her training on a treadmill. "I work out in the morning on the days I go to work," says Clark, 39. "There's no way I'm going out in the cold when it's 5:30 in the morning, five degrees and pitch black."
Ummmmm, YES. I get very, very sick of the treadmill, especially lately when I am running high mileage in the middle of a tough marathon training schedule, and have been stuck on the treadmill for several months. I have plenty of moments where I just want to be done and stop a run early. BUT, I don't. I haven't ever - not even once. I always finish what I start, and it is important to me to do my workouts and complete my training to the best of my ability. You got to do what you got to do, right?
To keep myself from going completely nuts I usually watch movies/tv on my laptop while I run, or listen to music. If I am doing a steady paced run, it sometimes helps to cover up the screen instead of watching the mileage. (On that note, I have a 23 miler coming up this week and am desperate for some good movie ideas!)
Someone else asked about incline. I always run with the treadmill at an incline of 1 for my runs, unless I am doing hill repeats or something like that.
Here are a couple of pics of me on my treadmill. These are from last year.
"Do you like my redneck solution for watching TV while I run on the new 'mill? My old treadmill had a book stand on it that my laptop slipped right into. It was super convenient for watching DVDs while I ran. The new treadmill doesn't have anything to hold the laptop (and it is REALLY tall). I asked Josh to come up with a solution, temporary or permanent, that would let me watch the laptop on my long treadmill runs and he was zero help. In a moment of self-proclaimed brilliance, I trudged through the snow out to the garage and dragged in the ladder. Ta da! It is the perfect height, and I can even plug the laptop into the treadmill and here my shows right over the treadmill sound system. PRETTY COOL. Josh came in and looked at the ladder and said, "You know that has like, paint and bird poop on it right?" and I said, "Yeah, but isn't it the perfect temporary solution? Aren't I brilliant?" and he laughed and said, "YOU, who can't stand dirt or mess is ok with a dirty ladder in the play room?" So I shot him a look and told him to get to building a shelf. Until then, the dirty ladder stays."
Do you run on a treadmill? If yes, do you do so by choice or by necessity? Do you love it or hate it? Ever trained for a marathon mostly indoors?