Treadmills…Training Tool or Human Hamster Wheel


Treadmill running is pretty much evil if you ask me and since you most likely clicked something to get here I am going to pretend you actually asked me. Somehow I always run harder and excerpt more energy on the treadmill than I do on the same run outside, at least that is how it feels. I can knock out 8:30 miles for a couple hours outside and still feel pretty good. I can get on the treadmill and run 30 minutes at what it tells me would be an 8:45 pace and be begging for mercy.

I don’t have any good logical excuse for this. It is clearly all mental. Researchers have done studies and it is “technically” easier to run on a treadmill than outside because you have no wind resistance. You can counteract that by raising the incline to 1% and that, according to research, makes the two runs equivalent. Realistically, where I run it isn’t flat so outside is still harder unless you are constantly changing the incline and the treadmill will only go up so high. I am pretty sure some of the hills on the EKU Farm trail are a lot steeper than at least my treadmill will go. So why do I have so much more trouble on the treadmill?

The big difference for me is incentive. I can see the top of that hill running outside and get to feel the joy of conquering it when I get there. With the treadmill I don’t get that same motivation. I know people that put a lot of miles on their treadmill and I applaud them for doing it. I don’t want to discourage anyone from getting on their treadmill and going for a run or walk.


richmond downtown
Downtown Richmond at Dawn
richmond back road
Back Road Views in Richmond







My hope is that if you will at least give it a try outside. God made a pretty cool place when he made earth. Richmond is an amazingly beautiful place to run. You can gain a lot of momentum by just being distracted by your surroundings. Downtown is great and add some miles through EKU and you have an enjoyable run in town. Or you can head out of town and down some country roads that will give you views that are picture perfect. Either way running outside is good for my soul. It gives me time to get lost in my surroundings and clear my mind. When I am on a treadmill my mind is focused on the fact that I am on a treadmill and not outside. But that is just me. I just hope that you find what makes running or walking easier for you and you get the same enjoyment from it that I do.

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