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I defy convention in many areas. Why not the treadmill too?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Prevailing wisdom says that you can run faster on a treadmill (tm) than outdoors because the belt helps your momentum. That’s not true for me. Although I never raise the elevation, my cruising speed on the tm is always slower than on my carefully measured routes outside. Outdoors I have natural changes in elevation, banked curves and different surfaces to contend with. So it’s reasonable to conclude that I should be faster on the tm.

I don’t hate the tm (up to 1 hour anyway) and have never called it the “dreadmill,” but there’s something about the earth moving beneath my feet that slows me down.

Then there the mental aspect and running is indeed partly a mental activity.
Since I don’t wear a GPS, I really don’t know how fast I’m going outside until I hit a marker of sorts on a familiar route. On the tm I know exactly what speed I’ve set it at and my mind thinks “Oh, this is fast. This is going to be hard. I’m going to be tired now.”

I have a similar reaction when singing. In choral groups I’m a 2nd soprano which means to me, that if the notes go above the top line of the staff, I shut up. Yet, my daughter, the musician/singer with perfect pitch tells me that without music in front of me, I can sing higher.

In both cases it’s a mental thing. If I don’t know for sure how fast I’m running or how high I’m singing, I’m able to do it.

Mind games. We all play them. I’ve got to learn to play them for my own benefit.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I like the indoor track during the winter time. Outdoors in the other months. I also prefer the indoor track in the heavy rain. I like being outdoors when there is a light rain or snow fa emoticon lling.
    1835 days ago
  • DEBBY4576
    Enjoyed your take on the treadmill. I dont run, I use the elliptical. But I can imagine the scenery is soooo much more exciting that the run just whizzes by.
    1836 days ago
    I go much faster on my treadmill, when I am outside, it is my walk, I enjoy, look around, and talk to the other walkers, my outside walking is not only good for my heart, it is good for my soul. emoticon
    1836 days ago
  • DR1939
    I prefer the outdoors because it is the outdoors--sun, wind, trees, grass, flowers, animals--but I use the treadmill when the weather doesn't cooperate. I'm a little faster outdoors than indoors but I have a 6% incline on the treadmill and outdoors ranges uphill and down with a few flat spots.
    1837 days ago
    I've never called my treadmill, the dreadmill, although that is a good name for it. I hate it and really today I need to get on it. It's too rainy, bone chillin wet out there. No, it's not freezing, it's just wet, clear through wet, colder and windy.
    So while Erik's in the shower I'll get on the tread mill.
    Mine has settings for interval training, but I've yet to use that. I treat it as if it had the plague.

    emoticon emoticon
    1837 days ago
    Another great blog! And, I'm with you. For me it is a dreadmill though, and will only run on it if there is LOTS of snow or horrible ice. (I've ran 10 miles before with YakTrax on my shoes - just because it was better than dreadmill.) But, I am faster outside too.

    Have a marvelous week!
    1837 days ago
    I'm not sure where I go faster. I do know the treadmill isn't very convenient for trying run/walk intervals, at least mine isn't. I can't program two speeds, so I constantly have to adjust the speed manually.
    1837 days ago
    The treadmill is ok for ensuring you get a consistent workout, but it simply can't match the outdoors. I enjoy running and walking outdoors, but I occassionally just do the treadmill to ensure I get some exercise in.
    1837 days ago
    I'm faster outside also - but I have a much more variable rhythm. Start off slower, find myself pushing faster in the middle of the run. Like you, it think it's a mental block - if I set the same pace that I average on my outdoor runs it feels really hard and I get discouraged. If it flows naturally as it does outside it doesn't feel hard.

    Still, living in Buffalo I have come to terms with long treadmill runs!
    1837 days ago
    DW had a DREADMILL and I didn't like it. There is something so wrong about a device that lets you run and yet, you're not going anywhere.

    Although, they do the planning and thinking for you on how fast, how slow, how long you need to go on any given exercise day. I'm not so hot on disciplining myself to do 'exactly' this or that. So, the dm might help me there. I guess they're alright once in a while.


    1837 days ago
  • KANOE10
    I am not a runner..but I think I walk faster off of the tm. Great job of exercising and staying healthy.
    1837 days ago
    The big thing is, on the treadmill or off, you're working out, and that's great!
    1837 days ago
    Me too. I am faster outdoors. And I'd much prefer to run outdoors!
    1837 days ago
    Very interesting! I run about the same speed on relatively flat ground as I do on the treadmill. I enjoy the treadmill and appreciate that I don't have to slather sunscreen on for every run. -Marsha
    1837 days ago
    Good point - I've been using the treadmill to get me back in running shape. For me - the speed and the counter are ways to push myself and it gives me a sense of accomplishment that a regular outdoor walk/jog doesn't. When I am in better form, (and when the weather is warmer!) I know I'll enjoy being outside more.

    1837 days ago
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