My Love-Hate Relationship with The Treadmill Ends

imagesI have an odd love/hate relationship with the treadmill. Since May of 2012 I have not stepped foot on a treadmill, for good reason.    When I started the C25k (Couch to 5k) program, the goal that I set was to run a 5k race.  At that time walking for a few seconds proved to be an extreme cardio exercise, as I was majorly out of shape.  My solution and salvation came in the form of the c25k running program.  For the first couple of weeks on the program I performed all exercises on the treadmill, of course this was largely due to fear of running outside on sidewalks and asphalt, but mostly reflected my fear of being seen impersonating a runner.   The third week on the program I began to suffer incredible knee pain.  I went to the doctor and was informed that because my balance was so week I should not be on a treadmill and I needed to be walking and running in a pool.  A mixture of my own life long laziness leading to poor balance combined with the treadmills need for balance, lead to my first major sports injury.. and the end of my relationship with the treadmill.

That was the hate angle of my relationship with treadmills, but for the love angle things go deeper.  Because I ended up running/walking in a pool for a few weeks I began to occupy lanes next to swimming triathletes.  At that time I still could barely run a minute, but I realized I would be running a 5k by the end of the year.  But would would be next.  As I pushed my way through the water I watched the triathletes glide up and down the lanes, at that moment I realized I needed a bigger longer goal.  I wanted to do a triathlon, that would be a much bigger goal than running and with three sports would stave off boredom.  I did not realize it at the time, but that was the moment chatter the athlete was born and chatter the infinite couch potato was retired.  From that point on I became fixated on achieving long and short term goals, namely completing a triathlon at that point.  It was the treadmill  induced injury that put me in the pool and elevated my thinking beyond a few months,  instead to longer lasting and bigger goals.

Now that my inaugural triathlon season has concluded and I transition to non-season training, I am focusing on shorter workouts, mostly weights and running.  After some research I concluded that I might have to tackle the treadmill again as there were potentially some valuable training opportunities, namely intervals and increased forced speed running.  With hesitation I got back onto the treadmill last Friday, afraid of a flood of knee pain, similar to last times result.  To my relief it felt good, it felt difficult and challenging.  I could push fast intervals and set higher speeds to force my legs to work at higher loads.  With the treadmill I have realized I can do more to push myself where I could not running outdoors alone.

In my current off season, while I have embraced shorter workouts, I have found peace with my demon, the dreaded treadmill and have found reconciliation and acceptance of it in my workout plan.  With a few sessions I have been able to push myself smarter and harder with its motorized aid.   I do not intend to eliminate winter outdoor running, but instead look forward to increased training flexibility I get by utilizing the treadmill and it unique training opportunities. Til next time.




  1. Dreadmills are awesome for precise interval runs… not so good to stave off boredom. Have fun out there!

    1. The boredom staving is provided via my Samsung Note, Hulu+, and netflix. Miss running out doors, but makes quick lunch runs possible.

      1. And its better than tricking yourself that its too cold outside!

        1. LOL! I’ll second that.

  2. I have a HATE-HATE relationship with treadmills… LOL.

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