It’s That Time of Year Again: Treadmill Season

A few days ago it was -11 degrees. Now I don’t know about you, but that is way too cold for me to get my butt outside to run. Like most runners though, I start itching to run if I don’t after a few days. So yesterday evening, I forced myself to go to the recreation and wellness center on campus to get some exercise so I didn’t catch cabin fever.Like a hamster on a wheel.

First off, I’m always annoyed to go to the rec because I have to pay $1 to park (I know, the nerve!) and I usually have to wait for a treadmill. Yesterday was no exception. I had to occupy myself for 15 minutes while some girl walked at .4 miles per hour on the treadmill I was assigned to.

Once I got on the treadmill I felt a little less grumpy, but that didn’t last for long. I soon became claustrophobic by the two people on treadmills next to me, and I instantly became bored out of my mind staring at the back of people’s heads on cardio bikes. I tried watching some silent TV, no use. I cranked up my music, no use. I looked down at the control center of the treadmill and almost fell off in disbelief. It had only been three minutes and 45 seconds since I pushed that annoying “start” button. From my intense boredom I felt like I had been running for at least 15 minutes. How was I going to stand this any longer?

Fortunately, I was able to somehow conquer my boredom and annoyance of the treadmill for four miles and then got the hell out of there. As I walked out I began to understand why I only seem to run once or twice a week during this time of year – I absolutely hate treadmills.

There is something so unnatural about running on treadmills. The treadmill pulls your legs back for you, making it easier on your body, but tougher on you mentally. When I run on treadmills I almost can’t wait for the workout to be over, something that never happens when I run outdoors.

3 main reasons why I hate running on treadmills

1.) I feel like a hamster on a wheel. I’m literally going nowhere while running on the treadmill. I’m staring straight forward and moving nowhere, it’s unnatural and weird. Not only do I feel like a hamster, but there are hamsters next to me running too. I feel like people running on treadmills next to me are right on top of me and I get claustrophobic.

2.) I’m a clock/mileage watcher when I run on treadmills. I’ve gone so far as to put a towel over the screen in front of me, but that just makes me even more claustrophobic and crazy. I wear a runner’s watch when I run my normal route outside, but I’m also not looking at it every five seconds. I’m also not counting down the minutes until I stop or get home when I run outside. I use a lot of external land marks when I run outside. I tell myself I can walk when I reach a certain building and by the time I get to another land mark, I should be running or sprinting again. It’s much harder to stop and start on treadmills, all the while watching stupid little seconds go by at glacial pace.

3.) I feel like an amateur runner on a treadmill. I feel like I’m constantly trying to catch up with the belt and it makes me uneasy.  I also sometimes sway and swagger when I run, so when I do this on the treadmill, I bump into the front or sides by the handles. I look like I’m falling over on the treadmill, but it’s something I don’t even notice when I run outside.

Running outside is just more invigorating, I like the wind at my face and the idea that I can literally run as far as I want. There’s no belt in front of me going a certain pace, and there’s no one tapping my shoulder saying “I have the treadmill now.” When I run outside I have to keep running because how else would I get home?

Apart from all the reasons I hate running on treadmills, there are always those horror stories of treadmills like this.

I guess I’ll look forward to better weather and running outside, since these treadmills just aren’t doing anything for me. I hope you guys have better luck!

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