On the one hand, it is nice to be able to know exactly how fast of a pace you are keeping. And it’s nice to be able to adjust your intensity with the push of a button. Treadmills can also be beneficial when doing interval running and/or sprints.
But my big gripe is with people who consider themselves “runners” but have never actually run outdoors.
Anyone who has a considerable amount of mileage under their belt on both treadmills and actual terrain already knows that they are quite different experiences.
When you’re on a treadmill, the conveyor belt moves towards you and you stay in the same place. All you do is lift your foot. You don’t actually propel yourself forward. All this probably sounds obvious, but bear in mind that this phenomenon makes it considerably less work, and it can give you a false sense of how fast you are.
You might be setting yourself up for a rude awakening when you actually start running for real. It is so much more challenging–and of course, the greater the challenge, the greater the reward!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to sound like an elitist here. Treadmills are great for all the reasons I mentioned above. But it’s easy to rely on them too much. They are designed to supplement actual running–not replace it. The majority of your training should be done on real terrain. If you only run on the treadmill, you are missing out on one of the greatest joys that I’ve known in life.
The recent boom in popularity of outdoor running is undeniable. This past November, over 42 thousand people completed the NYC marathon (including me)–the most finishers ever!
So think about it, are you really running on that treadmill?