I don't know if the winter cold is bothering me more as I get older, or if I'm just getting wimpier (is that even a word?). What I do know, is that I just can't be bothered to get my butt outside at 5:30 am on a bitter cold day to get a run in. When I think about the darkness, the cold air, etc., I just head right to the treadmill. I hate using the treadmill, I am so bored on that thing...it's like a form of mental torture after awhile. However, my alternative is darkness, icy roads, and blustery winds. Maybe if I had a running partner I would get out there, but as a woman, I don't always feel so safe by myself in the dark. Unfortunately, my schedule doesn't allow for me to run after the sun has come up, except for weekends. On weekends, I'll do a longer run outdoors.
I used to think that the treadmill wasn't like real running. Obviously it's different...no wind resistance, changes in elevation, etc. But what was it? Fake running? I still get a really good workout. I still log the miles each week. I'm beginning to realize I was a running snob (or snobby runner?)! You know who I'm talking about. The runners who run outside everyday, rain, snow, darkness, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. and who turn their noses up at treadmill runners... they wouldn't be caught dead on one. (For example, If I don't want to run outside in the pouring rain, then I'm not a REAL runner.) I give those runners all the credit in the world. Good for them for being outside every day, no matter what. But I have decided that I am no less of a die-hard runner than these people, and yes, I use a treadmill.
I once ran a 10 mile training run on a treadmill because I had no one to watch my kids so I could go outdoors. And guess what? It was still 10 miles and it took more dedication and mental discipline to make myself complete 10 miles on a treadmill than it would have outdoors. My point is, no matter where you run, as long as you run, you are a runner.
This week I'll be posting some tips on beating treadmill boredom. Please email me if you have suggestions. I'd like to hear how other people cope...
Written by Genie Bianchi, RRCA Coach