I think there are two types of runners: treadmill runners and outdoor runners. I am myself an outdoor runner and only use the treadmill if I am out of town and not familiar with the area enough to go run outside. I recently purchased a treadmill for my home gym and I have yet to use it even though its the height of summer here in Florida and running outdoors can be a bit of a challenge what with the sun beating down on me mercilessly.
Before I became an avid runner, I would here and there wander into the fitness center of my apartment and get on the treadmill with the intention to put in a good hour of “running” and end up leaving five minutes later. The reason for this is, I would get on the treadmill, set the time and distance and all that good stuff, start running, and I’m running and running and sweat is pouring down my face as I pant like a dog and I would swear that I must’ve run a mile by now because with the amount of effort I was putting in I expect nothing less. Now the whole time I’m running I’m looking everywhere but at the treadmill display because much like a watched pot that never boils, well a watched treadmill doesn’t advance in distance and time either. But I digress, so I’m running and running and I look down to see how awesomely I’m doing and oh my goodness, I had only been running for five minutes and with a distance of only 0.3 miles! Well! I step off the treadmill and walk away in a huff each time vowing to never step on a treadmill again.
This basically sums up the main reason why I prefer to run outdoors. When I run outdoors, I have a destination I am trying to get to, there are also landmarks I can use to gauge my progress, I know that when I get to the red house in the corner I have run 3 miles and when you run long distances like I do, your really need those landmarks to help keep the motivation going. There’s also the added advantage of being outdoors and feeling the wind on your face or in the case of running in the summertime, feel that thick air of humidity on your face. Also, for me, running outdoors requires more effort than running on a treadmill but this may differ per individual.
I do use the treadmill as I mentioned before, if I am on vacation and staying at a hotel but even though I am a half marathon runner, the most I can do on a treadmill is six miles and this is only if I am distracted from the monotony by a good book on tape or a movie or TV show that has a duration equal to how long I plan on running.
I know there are many reasons why a treadmill is the preferred way of running for a lot of people, for one, if it is conveniently located in your home, you can jump on it and get your run in without having to leave your house but I challenge you to give running outdoors a try and see how it compares to treadmill running. Maybe I can convert some of you treadmill runners to outdoor runners 🙂
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