I love running and have run on a wide variety of surfaces in my running career, from sand to cinder, grass to cement, and gravel to wooden planks (Compare Training Surfaces). However, I have a confession to make about one running surface in particular. As the title of this article might tip you off, I’m referring to treadmills. To put it kindly, I loathe treadmills. I honestly hate them or any other kind of derogatory word you can insert before the word treadmill. I have severe difficulty finding anything good about them to be honest. I’m not entirely unreasonable though and can admit that for some people a treadmill is a great way to train and for others the most convenient. However, there is a price for this convenience and its not just in the form of a gym membership.
My first experience with a treadmill came when I was twelve years old. I thought it was the coolest workout equipment ever. For me it seemed a perfect escape from having to train on a crowded indoor 200 meter circular track or a plowed cement parking lot, during the cold and snowy New Jersey winter. I had bought into this miracle treadmill solution and tried my first workout. Climbing aboard and hitting the speed button, the whirring sound began. I began running and just never got comfortable, the speed was either too fast or too slow and I couldn’t use my stride. The allure was gone and it was replaced with discomfort.
Years later I still hate treadmills. In part because I had to do a considerable amount of physical therapy on them and for several other reasons, as followed.
I hate being constrained in my turnover. Normally, when running outside its simple to change your pace or stride depending on how you feel. I enjoy being able to do so without the benefit of hitting multiple buttons. Even when you do hit these buttons it still doesn’t mean you will be be able to align your stride perfect to it. I’m always frightened when running on a treadmill that I will end up forgetting I’m not outside and stride a tad bit too far, right off the machine. The constrained stride can’t possibly be good for your body. Constricting movements such as this surely have consequences. I’ve felt such especially in my back and hips post-treadmill workout.
2. Going Nowhere
Is there anything more aggravating than doing so much work and feeling like you’ve gotten nowhere? I have difficulty staying inspired to run faster on a treadmill when I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing anything. Also, there is usually nothing to look at to distract you from this fact. You look around in a gym and you find yourself either faced toward a wall or somebody that looks as miserable as you do. No thanks, I will take the outdoors and whatever terrible weather it comes along with.
Treadmills are great for some but certainly not for everyone. Noticing any of these troubles, specifically in regards to pain and discomfort should definitely be a sign to turn off the treadmill and step outside.
Suggested Reading: 5 Ways to Spice Up Your Treadmill Life
About the Author: Marie Walsh is a senior at Rice University, who runs for the Owl’s Cross Country and Track & Field Team. An avid runner, she loves to learn whatever she can about the sport and spread the knowledge.
Follow Marie on Twitter @MarieAWalsh