The Art of the Treadmill

People have mixed emotions about treadmill running. For me treadmill running is a necessary evil I must occasionally endure in order to become a better runner. It’s like a visit to the doctor – you don’t really want to but you understand that it’s often necessary to keep your body running smoothly. And there are benefits to treadmill running for sure and it’s definitely warmer this time of year and it doesn’t require my toes to go numb.

But one of my personal favorite about running on the treadmill is regulation. After shedding ten pounds of outer layers, I step onto that grey and black torture device, er, machine, and tell it exactly what I want to accomplish with my run today. The only thing stopping me from reaching my daily running goal would be power failure – from me or my treadmill. It has always been difficult for me to judge my running pace when I’m running outside. But with a treadmill I dictate what I would like to run, then it’s up to me to just keep my legs moving.

On a treadmill, I can run hills, I can run tempos, I can run distance, faster, slower, both, it does it all. And while I do have a Nike+ ipod device that is amazing (more on that later), it doesn’t practically force me to keep the same pace for my entire run.

Yesterday, I really tested my limits and ran at an 8:20 pace for 3mi (DAY 1 training for the marathon). It was a great, albeit difficult, run and I felt I had accomplished a great feat when I had finished – like braving the malls around the holidays, but better. My biggest foe – as always – is myself. I’m constantly bored on a treadmill. The same scenery even if it’s only for 25 minutes makes me want to scream. I have my ipod, I have my self-motivational pep-talks, I have my hip running gear, but, alas, none of that matters when the road I’m traveling is a never-ending loop of boredom.

So while running on a treadmill can be beneficial and I will from time to time continue this practice if only to become a better runner, if you need me you’ll find me outside pounding the pavement with a big smile on my face.

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