If there is one thing this winter has taught me, it is that relying on the treadmill for all of your training sucks. Last April I wrote a post supporting treadmill running. In that post I wrote how different treadmill running was versus road running. My major gripe was (before I fully committed to running) I felt like treadmill running did not prepare me well for road running.
In the first 8 months of my running I avoided treadmills to help myself get better with road surfaces. And around April of last year (when I wrote the post) I had finally come around on the idea. At the time I was trying to get a faster 5K time. Consistently I was just above 30 minutes for a 5K and I wanted to be at or under 30. So i incorporated treadmill running into my routine.
And as I wrote, it did pay off. My time got faster and I have been able to run 29 minute 5K’s both on the road and the treadmill. So I started coming around on the idea. And for months after that I would be more open to the treadmill.
However for the past few months I have stuck to the treadmill 100%. In fact, this past weekend was my first time running on the road since November of last year. So that would be 3 and a half months of treadmill running. And I am currently back at the conclusion that it sucks.
One of my major issues with treadmill running is the obvious one, the boredom. What happens is I get so bored and just stare at the display on the treadmill. The seconds seem like they tick on forever. The miles feel like a lifetime to get to. As a result I will take a towel and cover the display and I always run with music to distract me. However the issue I am having now is I am counting the songs and judging distance. So for example, I typically run 9:30/ 10:00 miles. And most songs are about 4 minutes long. So I know every 2 and a half songs is a mile. So if I have to run 3 miles I will usually count down the songs to about 8 songs. It is very frustrating.
So here is my conclusion about treadmill running. Incorporate it if you would like to help your speed work or if it isn’t safe to run outside. But do not rely on it 100%. It will drive you insane.