Treadmills just ain’t the same

I love running. I hate treadmills. That might sound a bit like Mary Berry saying she can’t stand ovens, but I’ll try and explain why it’s not that daft.
I managed to get a spare hour yesterday at work, and fortunately for me, my office has a gym. So I figured I could squeeze in a light training run. Obviously this meant one thing…using a treadmill.
I’m sure many folk swear by them, and for this small window in my busy day, it was useful. But I didn’t fall in love with running because of one of these machines. If I can avoid running on one ever again I’d be happy.

Two things annoy me about treadmills, the first one might just be my own slightly paranoid brain box playing with me, but I simply don’t trust them.
My Personal Best at running 5k is 20 minutes 33 seconds. That’s an average pace just over 4 mins per K.
I’m not at PB fitness at the moment, but I ran 5k in 25 mins on Sunday near my home in SE London and it felt fairly comfortable.
Yesterday I felt like I was sprinting much faster than my usual pace, just to stay on the bloody thing, and yet according to the treadmill, I was apparently doing 6 mins per K. In the end it ‘claimed’ in 30 mins of running I’d only managed 5.5k. Liar.

The other reason treadmills aren’t for me goes back to one of the main objectives of this marathon attempt for me. Namely, a way to focus my mind and clear out the negatives that the past 15 months have filled it with. When you’re out in the (mostly) fresh air, whether it be running past famous landmarks in Central London or just down a quiet lane in suburbia, you drift away mentally. You can go over things in your head, see them sometimes from a new angle that helps you get over them. If you’re running with someone as I did for most of my previous marathon attempt you even have a mobile sounding board. This escapism is what gets me out there on a freezing Saturday morning. It’s physical torture, but therapeutic for the mind.
On a treadmill however, more often than not you are in a gym, surrounded by loads of busy people and usually crap music. All you see in front of you is the timer/calorie counter, taunting you for your meagre attempt at training. You can try looking away, but it’s pointless “look round now” it whispers in your ear, “I’ll have moved on loads, I promise” before laughing in your face as you focus again on the actual numbers. Only 1 min since I last looked? Impossible! Is that timer going backwards?

So, while the treadmill might be my only option now and again, and it’s better than no run at all, I’ll be aiming to do as much as my training out in the shit UK weather. After all, this blog isn’t called Treadmill Therapy.



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