The Devil's Treadmill - 10 Things I Learned

I did something I've never done before. No I didn't wear mom jeans and a tube top in public or try to freestyle rap in the grocery store. Loudly. And I did NOT buy that vibrator at a garage sale. It's pretty safe to say I would never do any of those things. EVER. But since I never say "never" I retract that statement for superstitious reasons. Still, I did something I've been hesitant to do and honestly a little afraid to try for a long time now.

What is it?

I ran on a treadmill.

With my coordination I'm lucky I'm still alive.

The recent rains made our trails obscenely muddy and last week I had limited time to squeeze in a trail run AND go to the grocery store so I consulted the devil (you know? The one on your shoulder that pokes his little pitchfork in your ear...) and he said that I should definitely try the treadmill. He said the treadmill would keep my shoes clean AND would make all of my running fantasies come true. The devil can be quite a persuasive fellow you know.

So I ran on the dark side for 45 minutes.

And guess what?

It sucked.

Normally, I just need trees and dirt to be happy running, but THIS required something spectacular to power through the eternal agony. There were no fantasies involved on this treadmill. There were no hot glistening men manifesting out of nowhere. There were no beautiful women to gawk at in front of me. There were no 7 minute miles of running fiyah found. But I learned some stuff. Here are my observations:

  1. There are lots of blinky lights and buttons - Next time, (if there is ever to be a next time) I will bring a towel to cover all the blinky lights. It distracted me from running. 
  2. I had WAY too much information in front of me - like how long, how far and how fast I had been running. I didn't really give a shit about all that but I couldn't keep myself from reading it. I swear reading all that information just made me more tired. 
  3. My finger should never be used to speed up my legs - Seriously. Anytime I wanted to kick it up a notch and start running faster I had to push a button. WITH MY FINGER. WTF? I should just be able to run faster. With my legs.
  4. Treadmill doesn't even compare to trail - I don't like to run without trees and dirt. Period. How can people truly enjoy this? 
  5. I was afraid to sprint - for fear that I wouldn't be able to slow down fast enough when my legs fatigued and I started tripping over myself. Cuz I do that in real life. Trip over myself when I run fast. Trust me. Its quite a spectacle. Though, I'm sure it would have provided endless entertainment at the gym on the treadmill.
  6. Never look anywhere but forward - I looked over to the right when a friend passed by and waved at me. I nearly fell on my face. 
  7. Treadmill running is good mental training - I felt like a caged hamster on a track wheel. There was absolutely nothing to look at. It made me insane. It also made the time go by REALLY slow. I only ran for 45 minutes at a 9:30 pace but it took every inch of mental strength I had to stay on and not stop. 
  8. Stopping the treadmill was a trip - I swear the damn thing was still moving. 
  9. Getting off the treadmill was even trippier - It was like my legs weren't even attached to my body. I felt like I took the red pill.
  10. Apparently, you can get a good run in on the treadmill - a good, steady, long, boring run.
I really enjoy running, but I had no idea that something I love could suck so bad. I see the treadmill as only a means to an end whereas trail running for me is the journey itself. Who gives a fuck where I end up so long as I find my fiyah and have fun. I know there will be times I will have to buck up and use it, but I hope to make the treadmill a rare training tool in my future.


  1. I've had some miserable runs but nothing's as bad as the treadmill. It's amazing how much more tedious it is than just standing in a room and staring at the wall for 45 minutes.

  2. Hhahaha the dreadmill...I hear ya sister!

  3. I actually like the treadmill :) I find the rhythm cathartic and if I have music or tv to watch I forget I am on the treadmill. I watched the whole first season of lost on a treadmill. The second season sucked so I started watching some other show. When its super cold and icy, I totally don't mind the mill. Even just for walking. this is coming from someone who ran a marathon on a mill before though. The key to that was really good TV that day. Forrest Gump got me through the end of that run :)

    yeah, just set it and run and cover the blinkies.

    1. Well... I thought about that. If only I watched TV more I *might* find it motivating. I just can't get past that I'm looking at the same damn screen in front of me and I'm not really moving forward in space. Nothing ever changes except for the people sometimes but you can only people watch for so long before it just starts to get creepy.

  4. I used to run exclusively on the treadmill. Today was the first time I climbed back onto one in 6 months. It was not an experience I care to repeat anytime soon. I am shocked that my perception has shifted so dramatically.

    1. Yup. I think if you've never ran on trails or even "outside" it might be easier to get used to. I don't want to get used to it. All my passion for running is sucked out of of the machine.

  5. Treadmills are even worse than running at the track. Waaaaayyy worse! But it really is good training, as you pointed out, it makes you mentally tougher. If you have to do it, bring an iPhone or iPod with good running music. I like to listen to PodRunner sets when I gotta torture myself with a treadmill or elliptical trainer.

    1. I agree. DEFINITELY good mental training. Luckily I had my music which did help some. I agree that treadmill is WAY worse than track workouts which I have to do from time to time.

  6. One minor plus: If you happen to have a treadmill in your house, you can run with the "ultimate freedom" which is quite liberating. Or so I've heard. ;-)

  7. I couldn't agree with you more. I hate treadmills! I went to Boston several years ago and used one. I felt like 30 minutes was one hour and thirty minutes. Plus, I've heard about runners developing hip problems because there's little variation as compared with running outdoors. Mental- schmental benefits -it just plain sucks!

  8. I've had to run 26 miles on the treadmill before because I'm stubborn and there was a lot of snow on the ground. I feel your pain...

    1. OMG. I don't know how you did it. It must make any real run after that ultra exciting for sure!

  9. Seems to me the treadmill is more painful than road running. There is NO variation to the impact points of your body. Seems really noisy also...that dull whir of the belt...makes me sleepy.

    Did you set the incline to 1? I was told you need the incline at 1 to simulate outdoor running (compensate for wind drag that you lean into) and to avoid being flat as that will really mess you up. Don't know if any of that is true or not though.....

    1. My incline was something like 4.5. I did about 1000 ft in elevation.


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