Treading Lightly

October 26, 2010

One of the major perks of living at a nice apartment community is the workout facility.

Billy and I had a 4-mile training run on the schedule yesterday.  I was up at the crack of dawn and it was still dark outside.  I didn’t want to navigate a new running route in the dark so I headed upstairs to the gym in our building.

(I took these photos on my Sunday stroll when it was nice and bright outside.)

Until yesterday, I hadn’t run on a treadmill since July.  While my inclination is to DREAD the TREAD, this 4-mile run whizzed by in no time at all.  I actually loved it.

That’s not to say I’m planning to make it a habit because my heart belongs to the great outdoors, but it’s nice to know that during our training for the next 6 weeks, I can utilize these facilities for running and weight training.  So bring on the dark mornings or crappy weather because I have a super convenient alternate plan!

Billy ran on the treadmill yesterday evening as it was almost 90 degrees outside.  Ewww.  I’m ready for some cooler temps.  He completed 4 miles as well and then told me that was the farthest he’s ever run!  Ever!  I’m so proud of him.  Just add 9.1 miles and we’ll be good to go for the White Rock Half Marathon December 5th. ;)

I decided to do some *online reading about running on a treadmill vs. running outdoors.  As a new runner, I’m still learning a lot but I concluded the following:

Running outdoors:

  • demands more from your body due to weather conditions, wind resistance and varied terrain
  • expends more energy than you would running the same pace on a treadmill
  • helps maintain muscle memory
  • offers visual stimulation and endless different routes
  • actually gets you somewhere (I know people who literally RUN their errands)

Treadmills:

  • are a great alternative when outdoor conditions are too dangerous
  • provide high quality speed workouts
  • are convenient for bathroom breaks, fueling and hydrating (although I know a lot of runners who have this down to a science for outdoor running)
  • allow you to keep a consistent pace (no stop signs, red lights, etc)
  • allow you to control your incline

Almost 50 million people in the U.S. use a treadmill (as of August 2009).

There are cases of Olympic athletes who solely trained on a treadmill…and won!

The bottom line: A combination of outdoor runs and treadmill runs is a great way to train for a race.  A little variety keeps your training plan interesting.  It is important, however, to be familiar with the outdoor conditions of your specific race location.

*(source 1) (source 2) (source 3)

Running can be dangerous in any circumstance so please be careful!

A recent example: Hillary, my friend and accomplished runner from Nutrition Nut on the Run, had a treadmill accident last week because someone at her gym carelessly left a machine running when it wasn’t in use.  She had to get stitches on her face – ouch!  She’s a total trooper.  A running warrior, perhaps?  :)

Do you prefer indoor workouts or outdoor workouts?

Can you add anything to my lists from your own running experience?

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