Friday, January 7, 2011

Treadmill to Forget the Pain

Why does everyone hate the treadmill? 
Every time I talk to someone about running on a treadmill, I get the same response, "I just don't get a good work out" or "I get too bored." Have you seen treadmills today? They come with over 300 channels and a remote! To be fair, before yesterday, I hadn't run on a treadmill in at least two years. The last time I was on a treadmill was probably back at UNC Charlotte's gym. This was back before I got excited about running, back before I purchased Born to Run or my favorite running shoes of all time - Vibram's Five Finger Bikilas. This was back when I was just working out because my loose college schedule allowed me to. I didn't run because I wanted to, I ran because I thought I should be. Now, I am used to running outside, with the beautiful scenery. I wondered how I would feel running a few miles on the treadmill.

Fatherly Advice on Running
I asked my dad, a fitness nut, his thoughts on the classic treadmill. His response, "From my experience I never get a good workout running on a treadmill. You sweat too much inside, so you feel like you are running harder than you really are." This is true to some degree, but I don't believe that he can't get a good work out (disclosure: my Dad is also not a runner. He is more into the mountain biking scene nowadays). Here's why I don't believe it: Treadmills run at a top speed ten miles an hour. Now, this might not be that fast, but keeping that pace is a six minute mile pace. I don't think I've ever run that fast before. Not only this, but treadmills also have the ability to incline the plane to simulate a hill. Now, if you can run a six minute mile on a 45 degree incline and you think that's a warm up, then you should probably start signing up for some races, because that is impressive. I on the other hand was content with a 7:15 mile pace.

Forget the Pain
My first treadmill experience in a while started off smoothly. I eased in at a 5mph pace to warm up, and then I slowly ramped up the speed. I immediately started to focus my attention forward as to not look like a fool on a treadmill. And what is in front of me? A nice little 8 or 10 inch TV screen. Sports Center - excellent. As, I was running, and watching TV I couldn't help but feel like a lab-rat. You know, the ones who are exercising in their wheels trying to get to the piece of cheese that is dangling just out of their grasp? I wonder if the rats know they are exercising. Maybe they forget; I forgot about running. Not enough to fall off the treadmill, but enough to forget that my body was working pretty hard. There is a strange disconnect between what your body is feeling and your mind is telling you while you run on a treadmill and watch the TV. Your mind says, "Mmm, TV time to relax." But your body is saying, "Hey, wait a minute whats going on? I shouldn't be moving." I think that a big reason for the TVs is so people forget that they are working out. We wouldn't want to feel pain now would we?

Nature's Winter Replacement
I felt it very odd, but it was something I could get used to. Running on the treadmill is NOT a replacement for being outside running through the crisp clean air, but when it's 10 degrees and snowing in Pennsylvania, I'll be just fine using the treadmill.

Ps. No blog about treadmills is complete without out OK Go's video (pictured above) - Link here