7 Reasons Treadmills Are Just Fine

For the most part, runners are a pretty like-minded bunch. Encouraging to newbies, cheering for strangers at finish lines, standing guard for someone changing behind a tree, we’re cool like that.

Then someone mentions a treadmill. Instantly the judgement begins. “Treadmills should all be burned.” “How can you run like a hamster?” “Ugh, the DREADmill!” And then the kicker, “real runners don’t use treadmills.” Wow. Why the treadmill hate? Here are my top 7 reasons to fall in love with your treadmill all over again.

1. It is Winter

This is my biggest reason to turn to my basement friend. Where I live, on the Saskatchewan prairie, our windchills in the winter can easily surpass -25 Celcius, and we always have a stretch of -40 weather every winter. Right now, it hasn’t gotten warmer than -30 with the windchill for a week. There are plenty of heroes who still run outdoors in this weather, but there are many of us who choose not to. And that’s just fine.

2. It’s dark

Or foggy. Or pouring rain and you live on a farm with only gravel (ie: ankle-deep MUD) roads for miles around. Sometimes it just isn’t safe to run outdoors. Skip your run or flip on a treadmill?

3. Kids

I think parents are likely the biggest treadmill users. Often it’s not because we want to, but because our significant other is at work, one kid is sick, or we’re just flat out tired of pushing a stroller.

4. Specific training

Sometimes you need certain types of runs that are just difficult to get done on a road. For me, hills are my challenge. I have to run 4km to find a small hill, and then another three to get to the next one. When I need to do hill repeats, it just works better to do them on a treadmill instead. Runs done at a specific pace are another good example, especially for those of us who find pacing by feel very challenging (and yes, I know this is something I should work on! I am!).

5. TV

Admit it. You have a ton of junk TV PVR’d every week and only have time to watch a small portion of it. Feel good about watching by getting a run in at the same time. I know someone who sets junk TV rules for herself, such as “you can only watch The Bachelor if you’re running.

6. The gym

If you’re a gym member, odds are you’ve used their treadmills. Maybe you lift after a run, run for a warm-up before a class, or maybe you just want to utilize the gym’s childcare and have a worry-free run.

7. Shyness

This is a big one, and the main reason (in my opinion) to quit treadmill shaming. I know women who used running to jump-start their weight loss goals. They chose at first to run alone in the privacy of their own home because they were simply too self-conscious to run outside for the world to see. These are amazing people who are working hard to make a positive change in their lives and we need to be their cheerleaders, not make matters worse by putting down runners who use treadmills.

So guess what? Lots of runners use treadmills regularly for a variety of reasons. Stop the treadmill hate! And for goodness’ sake, quit saying people who use treadmills aren’t real runners. We’re all runners. And we’ll all cheer for you at the finish line.

What makes you dust off your treadmill and run indoors?


6 responses to this post.

  1. I wish I had a treadmill so I wouldn’t have to run outside during a blizzard!


  2. Posted by Leeanne on January 12, 2015 at 3:31 am

    Thank you so much for saying this. I run more often on my treadmill then not. Its great to know I am not the only one. Thanks for cheering for me


  3. I’ve been using ours while I’m injured to ensure I have even footing while i’m recovering. I do generally like winter running though and i miss the outdoors.


    • Ah, I knew there was one I was forgetting! I used mine last winter when i was coming back from an injury too, I wasn’t sure how far I would be able to run and didn’t want to be stranded miles from home!


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