Trails v Treadmill

I’ve been planning on writing this post for a little while, and as it’s half term plus I’ve just finished reading Born to Run, now seems to be the ideal time. I toyed with the title Trails Trump Treadmill, but, despite my love of alliteration, the risk of being associated with anything Donald caused me to adjust. 

When I had completed, then blogged about my half marathon, I wondered where to go next with running. As the short days at the end of the year approached, I knew I needed to find a purpose to running to keep me motivated. With the pressure of the half behind me, I realised I could enjoy my runs more, and tailor them to be what or how I wanted. It would be ok to deviate from a structured training plan and run when and where I fancied. I could even pause to admire the scenery and take a quick photo on my phone. 

When it’s cold and dark, early or late, some people choose to run on a treadmill. Now, I remember my last visit to a gym. It was 2003, and for a few weeks I tried to persuade myself that I could be someone who went to the gym. I already knew that I would never be someone who enjoyed going to the gym. Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake alternated on the music channel. I’d complete a circuit of about four machines, including the treadmill, then trudge home. As I was a student I went during the day so the gym was fairly quiet, but I hated it. So dull, repetitive, monotonous. Yes I burned calories, I probably even lost a bit of weight but, looking back, it wasn’t worth it. It was something to endure, feel relief at having completed, and then begin to dread when a day or two had passed and the next workout edged nearer. 

Since 2003 I’ve barely returned to a gym. I can’t imagine I would feel any different now. They don’t fill me with inspiration. About ten years ago I did invest in a cross trainer, which is just about bearable, but if I’m honest is tucked away in the loft. I think I used it once last year to get my steps up to 10,000 after a late finish at school. 

Given the choice, I’d exchange a treadmill for trails any day. The fresh air, the scenery, the sky, the landscape. There are so many reasons I would rather lace up my trainers and opt outside. I love to spot wildlife and birds, and can easily do so in the fields and woodlands within easy reach of my front door. On a recent run near home without even trying I spotted jays, buzzards, yellow hammers, gold finches and long tailed tits. In a couple of months I’ll hear cuckoos at Clumber Park and, if I’m lucky, maybe an occasional woodpecker. Rabbits, hare and squirrels often make an appearance too. All thrown in for the price of going outside for a run. 

I’m currently mulling over everything I read in Born to Run, and in particular what the rationale of my own running is. To me, running on a treadmill lacks the purpose of going outside for a run. The pleasure is removed and replaced with a dreary sense of duty; a box can be ticked when you’ve completed a run on a treadmill – job done, but are you itching to go again? Planning your next route? Hoping for a decent night’s sleep and a clear sky so the sunrise can pave the way for your next run, or are you just glad it’s over? 


9 responses to “Trails v Treadmill

  1. I totally agree, when I run outside I’m always happier if it’s somewhere new to look around! I only agreed to do a half marathon because it was in Amsterdam & I hadn’t been there (& it was flat of course) I have no enthusiasm to enter the local one as I can run around here anytime.
    Saying that I haven’t run much lately as i don’t like running on my own in the dark so have thought of joining a gym with a pool so I can swim & do some classes during the winter!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for commenting! How did the HM in Amsterdam go? Yes, I joined the local running club this winter to make sure I still ventured out when it was cold and dark, which I’ve been really enjoying so far. Swimming sounds appealing too ☺

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love the idea of the social side of a running club but difficult to know when I will be free to run in advance at mo. I’m hoping if I get into swimming it will help with my fitness as well as upper body strength as hairdressing takes its toll on arms & shoulders!
        Ran Amsterdam HM with Mr B in 2:27:18. Was really pleased with that & maybe I need to find another venue I want to visit to give me motivation to train for another one!!

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      • That’s great! I struggle to commit to a regular training slot/timetable but really like that with my club I can dip in and out of training sessions/runs and it’s no problem. I think it’s definitely good to cross train & swimming’s great for strength & fitness 👍🏻

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  2. I enjoyed and looked forward to my runs, it then I found it a bit lonely, but started going to gym classes with a friend and really love that. But if she doesn’t go I tend not to either, and sew instead! I do keep wondering if I should dust off my outdoor trainers now the mornings and getting lighter. I’m still super impressed by how you’ve taken to this running malarkey 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, thanks Ali! It still surprises me to be honest – it’s very out of my usual character and comfort zone! I still maintain you are part of my inspiration- I remember how impressed I was when you started running 😊 I can’t wait for the lighter mornings and evenings so I can run more! Have you tried searching a site called Run Together? They will list runs in your local area that may be of interest?

      Liked by 1 person

      • There’s a running club meet near me on a monday night, i met them when I was doing the park run, but at tea time I want my tea! Shifts don’t help wither as every week is different, but tbh I don’t think I could fit anything else in a the minute! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I like to call it the dreadmill! Although I do find myself on it more than I’d like, sometimes it is about getting that run done and moving on to the next thing. I prefer a nice long trail run, and always feel 100 times better when I run outside versus on a the mill. Nothing beats trail therapy! 🙂 Happy running!

    Liked by 1 person

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A beautiful day in a stunning setting for my fourth half marathon of 2017. The race even began up inside the castle walls! Great route along country roads + a good substitute for not running Worksop half next Sunday. •
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