Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Treadmill vs. Sidewalk

The Nitty
One time I was staying at my parent's house by myself. They have a treadmill in the basement, conveniently parked in front of a nice TV/DVD/VCR combo.

Yes, I said VCR.

At about 8:00 PM I was craving coffee, so I made a pot.

I drank it.

At about 10:30 PM I was bouncing off the walls. So I headed downstairs to the treadmill.

I dusted off the cobwebs. I turned on the TV. I fired up the ol' gal.

I turned up the volume on the TV.

I found myself watching Storytellers on VH1 - Green Day edition.

I started running.

My legs suddenly felt a little jellyish. I looked down to see what was the matter. On their way down, my eyes happened to glance at the treadmill's screen.

65 minutes! I had been running non-stop for 65 minutes! What the H???

The Gritty
Now I don't have one of those fancy schmancy gym memberships that all those cool kids have. I stick to running outside for my "kicks." And I'm kind of glad. Ever notice how much harder it is to run outside than it is to run on a treadmill?

Why, cruel world, does it have to be so much easier to run on a treadmill???

Why must you build up my confidence so highly in the gym, when the very next day, you smash it so completely the minute I step outside?

Seriously. I can run, like, 5 blocks before I'm huffing and puffing. I think 65 minutes on concrete would kill me.

And why is that? Why is is so much easier to run inside than outside?

Lack of necessary wind resistance? Adequate pacing? Reruns of Deadliest Catch distracting me from the burning of my lungs?

Please, if you know, enlighten me.
__________________________________________________________________ Mandi

Current Couch Potato | Aspiring Runner:

Completing my first half marathon to benefit the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America will be a community endeavor. Won't you help me change lives?

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  1. Hey Mandi,

    Great question. Treadmill running is a little easier due to all of those factors, to some degree. Especially a Green Day storytellers episode (I totally want to see that). But the main reason is simple: When you run outside you literally have to push off the earth lifting your body weight each time you stride. But on the treadmill, you move your legs as the belt moves for you. This requires significantly less energy.

    That's why to get the biggest benefits from running you should do it outdoors when possible, but you can mimic natural running a bit more if you put the belt on a slight incline which forces you to "push" your body forward a bit with each stride. But 65 minutes of any aerobic exercise is a big accomplishment. Way to go!

    Hope that helps! Loving the blog. Keep it up and let us know if you have any other questions. See you tonight!

    Coach Tim

  2. Thanks Tim! I highly recommend the Green Day episode - their music is especially high energy.

    Now, if only the Napa2Sonoma race route was paved with an operating treadmill belt...

  3. I like to think that running outside is easier because it takes less work to get outside than it takes to get to a treadmill (unless you are lucky enough to have one where you live).

    You have to dress for getting to the treadmill (most likely including more layers than you will need once on said treadmill), potentially need two pairs of shoes, you have to take the time to travel there, make outfit changes and THEN get on the treadmill. Running outside means one outfit, one pair of shoes, one time putting on the ensemble. And then you step outside and go! So it's easier that way in my eyes. :) Plus funny podcasts sometimes help.

  4. Thanks for the tip Erica! I haven't thought of trying podcasts for entertainment. I sometimes do audiobooks, but I was listening to Colbert's "I Am America and So Can You" once and ended up laughing aloud so hard that I couldn't catch my breath and I also likely scared other neighborhood walkers into thinking I was a crazy person.


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