Hate is a strong word, but not too strong for how I feel about treadmills.
I hate how loud they are. I hate how I never get anywhere. I hate how they turn running into merely a clock-watching, calorie-burning activity because there’s nothing worthwhile to see, hear, or feel on a treadmill besides discomfort because the motor and my footfalls drown out music or television.
On Wednesday morning I put in a little over 5k on a treadmill while on a business trip in New York City. I’d headed up to the Big Apple with good intentions to run a loop from my hotel to and around Central Park. When I woke up, I was too spooked by running alone in the dark to head outdoors. The odds of being one of those Central Park runners to whom something unthinkable happens are low, but I still didn’t want to roll the dice. While I was chastising myself for wussing out, I checked the weather — mid-20s. Much older than I’d packed for, so I was off the hook for that reason, but I still had to put in some miles.
That’s all treadmill running was, and ever has been, for me: marking time until the goal is met or I succumb to mental fatigue. Without the spontaneity and ever-evolving landscape intrinsic to outdoor running, or what I’ve termed the check writing of running a long way from home and then having to get back, running on a treadmill bores me and doesn’t last long.
This workout was no exception. Of the eight miles I hoped to run, I ran just over three, and I didn’t enjoy a step of the experience.