Most runners refer to the treadmill as the “dreadmill” and often use it only as a last resort. And grudgingly at that. They’d prefer to run in the cold and in the rain (as long as it’s not a downpour) before putting in any time on the track that leads to nowhere. Primarily, it’s because people who run do so for the exhilaration of the pavement beneath their feet and the wind in their hair. Your mileage is generally marked by passing of familiar landmarks and most importantly (for me), you have no option of quitting because you have to get back to your house or your car and the quickest way to get their is to run.
But this winter, it has been cold. I don’t mean 20 degrees cold. I mean 6 degrees cold (with a windchill of -5). And it has been wet. And icy. And dark. I think you get the point. So, I’ve been putting in more time than ever on the forsaken dreadmill. But now I’m getting scared because I am maybe, possibly, incomprehensibly starting to like it. Please don’t judge me.
You see, the treadmill has a number of advantages that I hadn’t considered before.
1. Your water is always available.
2. You don’t need to watch for traffic.
3. You don’t need to dress as if you’re heading to the arctic.
4. You don’t need to peel off each layer every 3 miles.
5. A restroom is always available.
6. You won’t freeze your tushy off (literally) relieving your bladder.
7. If you happen to injure yourself, you can get off instead of hobbling back to your car.
8. You are safe from assailants (as long as you don’t count the cocky 19 year old who has grossly mistaken you for a coed).
Now, in order to successfully STAY on the treadmill, I always cover up the display with a sweatshirt (as shown in the picture at the top of the page). The only think that I can see is the time I’ve been on it and the speed that I’m going. I know exactly how fast I’m going, so I can commit to staying on for a certain period of time. For whatever reason, seeing the mileage that I’m running in real time completely psychs me out. I only want to know the mileage when I’m done.
I also don’t pick a treadmill that has a wall in front of it. I have to be able to see out of the window to at least pretend that I’m in nature. This is my view of the Alumni Tower. It’s a pretty building and there are generally a number of people passing through it on their way to the dining facilities during the day.
Finally, I crank my music up as loud as I can stand. I need to feel the beat and to drowned out the voice in my head that says, “You can stop at anytime and no one will know.” Well, you know what? I will know and I will be damned if I sell my self short for even a single workout.
Let me finish by saying that while you’ll never catch me on the treadmill when it’s gorgeous outside or when I just feel the need to move (I sometimes just need to run – I’m not sure if I’m running towards something or away from it, but by the end of the run, it no longer matters), I’ve learned to appreciate the treadmill on days when it’s either too cold or too dark to set out on foot alone.