Do you ever stay in one place for a long period of time? Do you ever just stand in one spot for over an hour…or even 10 minutes? Do you ever just allow yourself to glare at one point on a wall for any more than a few seconds? Then why is there such a love with and passion for a type of running that just makes me cringe…treadmills!
This multi-million dollar industry (exercise equipment that is) gives us (the consumer) an opportunity to pack our homes or offices or hotels or gyms with huge pieces of electronic machines that make you sweat! Sounds great…in the short term, but let’s dive a little deeper into this groove of the running community.
First, this is not about the elliptical…or stationary bikes…or any other piece of cardio equipment that might get invented in the next few years. This is a running blog…so it’s focused on one piece of these belted movers…the treadmill. This thing is really a monster if you break its components down. There is a huge rubber belt attached to gigantic wheels on each end that spin at revolutions only a car could handle…and then runner’s jump on there…speed it up to paces not seen by a common person and…well…go! It just sounds…scary! (oh yeah…throw in there electronic programs that only computer science majors could understand…I just want to run)
Runners belong outside. They belong in an environment where they can experience the thrill of finding and exploring and intervening with nature at its highest. This just doesn’t happen on the inside of a hotel gym (which are usually 10×10 rooms packed with sweat filled, humid air) and a tiny LCD screen projecting either FOX News or ESPN. It just doesn’t happen on the inside of your local fitness monstrosity packed with guys who are larger than they should be, and girls who go to the gym…well…to be “seen” at the gym.
Look to be honest…treadmills injure some runners. No lie! A runner’s natural gait is to run with their feet at a certain distance in front of them at a width…and that’s the key thing here…a comfortable width respective to each person. What does a treadmill do? It constricts! Remember those big ol sidebars that are on the left and right side? Whether consciencesly or not, they provide a narrowing of this natural width, which forces the runner to bend their legs slightly un-naturally. And any “slight” un-natural move gets amplified extensively over a long treadmill workout or series of them.
Just get off the machine. Really…is there any other way to put it? Yes…there are certain instances when there are no other options…but if you’re a serious runner…get outside. Get away from the TV and the gym “sights” and explore. The oxygen outside is much better than the sweaty, humid, gross smell of the indoors. But please…if you do have to get on that motorized monstrosity…be very…very…very careful. In fact…as always…take a second…look for loose parts…look for weird electronic components that aren’t supposed to be there…and please…look down at your feet…and lace up!