Running Outside Or On A Treadmill? - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Running Outside Or On A Treadmill?

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If you had asked me how I felt about treadmills 5 years ago, I would have said they were “ The Devil’s Playthings”. I really hated them. With a passion. Couldn’t pay me to use one. I was an outdoor running snob.

Now… I love treadmills! I never thought that could be the case, but it totally is! Go figure. So what happened?

I decided I was going to do the Camino de Santiago and hike across Spain after my last job. I was going to be walking over 15 miles a day with a heavy pack so I had to train. The catch … I started training during winter in Northern Michigan. Can you say cold and snowy? Yeah, there was no way I was about to hike for over an hour a day outside without getting frostbite and freezing to death in the woods. Not appealing. I had to find an indoor option, which lead to the treadmill. A couple months earlier the station I worked for had invested in two treadmills we were able to use. So I reluctantly tried to train on those. Game. Changer. I’d grab my pack (weighed down with old textbooks) and hop on the treadmill during my lunch break and for an hour or so after work. Despite the odd looks from my co-workers, it was awesome!  I don’t think my feelings towards anything ever changed so quickly. I was able to start training inside and build up my strength so that when things did warm up I was ready to hike outside and eventually hike over 500 miles across Spain. I’d call that a win. That’s how the treadmill and I went from enemies to best friends.

When I moved to Colorado, the elevation and dry air were incredibly tough when it came to exercise. We thankfully have a treadmill at the station here too. Gotta love saving money on the gym membership ;). I tried to walk and even run on it, but my lungs couldn’t take it. They’d revolt within 5 minutes. Not fun. So I gave up on any running ideas pretty quickly and stuck to walking with an incline. Not as pretty as hiking, but a convenient way to get a workout in when I finished work after dark in the winter.

Now that I’ve been here for over a year and a half, I’m a little more adjusted to the elevation. When I thought of this half marathon idea, I started trying to run on the treadmill. I was surprised by how much better my lungs were. Not perfect, but better. Plus, I love that my wifi connection will allow me to watch things on Youtube that will distract me from the running :)

Running outside is still awful for me here. My lungs hate me within 2 minutes and my legs hate me within 3 because of all of the hills. Basically, running outside is torture here. But, for some reason half marathons are run outside and not on treadmills. So it seems I need to get my outdoor running butt in gear!    

It seems like most people have very strong feelings for or against treadmills. Love 'em or hate 'em, they do have their moments!

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