Peace on the Treadmill

So can you really not gain weight over a holiday season? Especially one coming into winter? Maybe it is so hard because of all the food and drink and parties. And maybe it is so hard because just getting out of bed seems terribly unfair and inhuman. I have been working out in the morning. I have not been going outside. After several months of futzing around, I have finally come up with a game plan that I can live with. At least for awhile. My goals of entering races before the end of the year more or less kept getting put on the bottom of the pile. Back in October, when December seemed so far away and the Eagles showed promise, I really felt as though training for a race would be the best way to stay on track. Back then I was running outside and determined to maintain at least one outdoor run a week. I don’t know what happened to that. Like the Eagles season it just sort of drifted away. One day I was running outside and then suddenly life took over and I wasn’t. And then it was Thanksgiving and I hadn’t run outside in two weeks and then it was today and I haven’t run outside in three. As I lay in bed this morning debating on whether to go to the gym or go back to sleep and run later outside, the treadmill was actually more appealing. Well, actually the cold was less appealing. And I know from experience, the later I push off working out the less likely it is to happen. So up and out the door to chuck along on the treadmill and watch ESPN. By the way, at five on a Saturday they just replay Friday mornings show.

It isn’t as terrible as it once was. I am still mind numbingly slower on the treadmill than I am outside. But for some reason this doesn’t bother me anymore. The intensity has definitely leaked out of my mindset. Which isn’t to say that I slack, I’m just more likely to skip a morning when I stayed up too late. You know, to watch the Eagles dismantle my hopes of meaningful post season football. And I have found three things I actually like about running on the treadmill. First, I am in total control. I can decide the terrain and speed in a way I can’t outside. If you set the treadmill for a ten minute mile, you can’t fluctuate between a nine minute mile and an eleven minute mile. You have to maintain that ten minute mile. For some reason my body responds to this in a way it doesn’t to my brain. No matter how hard I try, my running times outside are all over the place. So I like that, mostly. Second, on the whole, my body does not hurt as badly after a treadmill run as it does when I run outside. There is less impact so it is easier on knees and hips. Pain free legs are a good thing. And third, I get to watch ESPN and get caught up on all the football I miss. About half way through the season my family starts to stage a rebellion on Sundays. They actually try to turn off football if the Eagles aren’t playing. Since I have little support in this from any member of my family, my best second option is catching up on Monday mornings.

Oddly enough, I think I am going to miss the treadmill some when I return to outdoor running in the spring.

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