Don't Knock the Treadmill

I go around and around in circles and yes, I love running outside. And yes, running outside is different. And yes, at times I feel guilty so many of my runs are on the treadmill.

That is the wrong way to think. I do realize treadmill running and road running are different. I feel it in my body. I see it in my paces. And that is why I don't extrapolate from treadmill paces (or jogging stroller paces) what I hope my race times to be. It just isn't a good comparison. But for all those ladies and gentlemen out there who are feeling they are doing their training an injustice by using a treadmill too much, don't fall into that trap.

Hold onto your hats, for my first half marathon I tried to run 1-2 days outside each week but ended up doing the bulk of my training at the gym....on a stairmaster because the treadmill had a bad repWhat?! I did fine for my first half. It got me where I needed to be.

But then the lightbulb went off. If I can't be outside running, isn't the treadmill the next best thing? I turned to that more often at the gym when I needed to be at the gym. I bought one for home for when I needed to be there. And it is allowing me to run whenever, wherever I want. I still prefer being outside for the complete therapy of running but I am improving through what I am doing.

What's the secret? Just keep pushing yourself. Don't stay at the same pace or run profile every run. Do hills, Do speed work. Mix it up and keep your body guessing.

Is is really working for me? Absolutely. Here are the splits from my most recent virtual run I did this past Saturday.

I am running faster and moving up in the "comfortable" speeds on the treadmill; therefore, my training is working.

Here are the splits from my most recent road run yesterday with dear hubby. I did this run after hitting the massive hills in a neighborhood by our home. I ended up doing 1.7 miles there with an average pace of 10'30". I was beat and felt grouchy when I got home and dear hubby asked, "What's wrong? Why are you back already." That didn't make me feel any better so I made arrangements for us to go right back out to run together. I love it when I can find childcare and darling daughter is excited about it. So we did 4.25 miles of rolling hills with an average pace of 9'55". And that slow first mile....it included me stopping and trying to take off the stupid t-shirt that kept getting stuck on my arm band. Oh the frustration!

You can't compare apples and oranges and get anything of meaning out of it. This is an example of treadmill versus road, flatter versus hillier, no wind versus gusty wind. So many factors come into play and it is through all those (and the boredom of a treadmill) that I become a better runner. And so can you! Because at the end of the day, a treadmill run is better than no run.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Running - no matter how or where
  • Less than a week until race day!
  • Dear hubby cooking dinner tonight
  • Volunteers packing packages
  • Slowly getting tax papers together


  1. I agree - I think it's time to stop beating up the treadmill and ourselves if we use it as a tool. Anything that keeps us running can't be bad!

  2. As a new runner and living in a cold state, the treadmill is my friend. Where else can I not feel guilty about watching an hour of television????

  3. Great post! You are right it's the variety that makes you a stronger runner. My form gets a little jacked when I push the stroller and run on the treadmill so I have been making an effort to focus on it more so that I don't get injured. I jacked something up a week ago and just now am recovering. My thing is I need to be smart about it, but that’s just my issue. LOL

  4. The treadmill is a necessity for me. With three children and a full time job--not to mention a bear who likes to roam around our neighborhood in the early morning hours--I have to get on the 'mill at 5:30 a.m. during the week or I simply would not be able to get any weekday runs in. Yes, it is completely different than road running, but it has its benefits (safety being the biggest!). Thanks for another great post, Erica!

  5. I totally agree with you - it's just not the same, but hey, when I have two little toddlers to take care of, running outside just isn't always an option! It might be just a treadmill, but heck, at least I'm running right? Most of my training for this half has been on the TM and my avg long run paces (always outside) are exactly where they were when I trained all outside. Interesting!

  6. I'm all about the mill. With four kids, it's just part of the package, and I'm really grateful that it's an option. And like you mentioned, it's nice to see concrete improvements like your comfortable treadmill speeds. Keep up the great work, inside or out!

    1. Kudos to you Yo Momma Runs for finding the time to run when you have four kiddos!

  7. Glad to hear there are other treadmill supporters out there! Keep up the great work!


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