Milly. She's my treadmill. Suffice it to say that our relationship is marginal, at best.
While I am most grateful to have an indoor option for running and walking (especially these past two weeks), that doesn't mean it's all roses and rainbows. Once in awhile, I'll be pleasantly surprised with a run that doesn't leave me questioning my sanity or grit. More often than not, though, my runs are dread-the-tread excursions.
I accept that this is all on me (well, most of it). A lot of runners enjoy their runs on the 'mills, and don't have the issues I do. Honestly, I'm quite envious.
While I can suck it up and tolerate a treadmill run on occasion, the 2021 polar vortex (still happening as I type) has had me 'milling it for my last seven runs. Doing the math, that's approximately five runs too many over the course of 12 days. I kid you not.
There are several reasons why treadmill runs aren't my first choice when it comes to fun and fitness. One such issue, is the heat factor. Our treadmill resides in our mudroom, just off of our garage. I have a scenic view of our back yard, but there's also a heat vent directly overhead. Even with the vent closed off, warm air still emits from it during the cold months. Fortunately, an indoor run does allow me to wear my summer gear, so there's that. And, truth be told, I'd rather be too hot than too cold...but at least in the summer months, I have a better view because I'm outside.
Another annoyance is the fact that it's so boring. Sorry, folks, but Milly just does not draw me in as a "fun" workout. Admittedly, for a few days, early in the vortex, I kind of liked the change of routine. I mean, I didn't have to negotiate the weather (good thing, because it was too cold and far too dangerous on the streets, especially in the o'dark hours). But, as I was cueing up my fourth 'mill run, I had already bailed on that train of thought. Getting excited, at the thought of 30-45 minutes of running-in-place, just wasn't happening. None the less, I did the runs anyways. If nothing else, they strengthened my grit-training and mental endurance.
Have I ever mentioned that Milly is crazy loud? She's almost 20 years old, after all. I can only assume newer models aren't quite so boisterous. Even if we had a place for a television screen, I'd have a tough time actually hearing any of the dialogue. I've tried watching music videos on my phone, but those are hit & miss because I can't get the volume loud enough. Since there aren't any legit distractions, though, it does give me a great opportunity to study my reflection in the window, and work on my form (foot strike, arm swing, posture, etc.).
Maybe this is just me, but treadmill running feels so hard compared to simple street running. This is such a paradox. The irony is that the belt kind of does some of the work for me (while I kind of try to "keep up" with it). Case in point, last summer I ran a virtual 10K on the 'mill. My finish time was 1:01:30 which was a good seven minutes "slower" than my usual 10K pace. This 10K, even at that slower pace, felt so tough compared to a road race. In the end, that virtual 10K was a treadmill distance PR, so I felt pretty badass after I'd finished (though it felt like I'd run twice the distance and twice as fast).
Finally, I get really frustrated with the monotony of it all. My body and mind need a little more stimulation than a steady pace when I'm already (essentially) not going anywhere. So, I've learned to trick my head. I run progressive intervals. Or, I vary the speed every 1/4-mile. Quite often, I do an especially fast surge in the last 1/4-mile of every mile (which makes each mile feel much shorter than it actually is). The down side is that a lot of my treadmill runs become speed drills by default, so I don't get much by means of "easy" runs. The up side is that this routine is pretty short-lived since I won't be doing many treadmill runs once this vortex vacates the premises.
How do you feel about treadmill running? Are you a fan? Is the 'mill a mere alternative or a last resort?