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7 Reasons Why Running on a Treadmill Rocks!

trail-running-treadmillThe treadmill is probably the most negatively talked about piece of running gear/equipment. One of the most affectionate names often given to it is the dreadmill. Ouch! And this is one of the nicer words.

Why do we have such angst for a running tool that simply sits there waiting to help you reach your running goals? I think we need to give this self-less running aid a bit more respect and gratitude while realizing the abilities it does have – to help you.

Here are seven reasons why the treadmill simply rocks.

  1. Workout flexibility – You want to run half mile hill repeats at 5, 7, 9, 10% grade? No problem. The treadmill allows the flexibility to create workouts you are not able to do locally outside.
  2. Mental training – For some, running on the treadmill is tough mentally. Good! Ultra events are considered to a large degree, between-the-ears events. Consider this part of your ultra training.
  3. Race course simulation – You live in Texas and need to prepare for 1000+ foot climbs in your next race. The treadmill can more closely simulate the climb than the 50 foot hill you have nearby.
  4. No runner left behind – If multiple treadmills are available, you could run with friends of different abilities where everyone can get in their desired workout.
  5. Safety – Running indoors can provide comfort for those than may have to run alone, in the dark, or in an unsafe community.
  6. Blizzard proof – If the elements outdoors do not allow running, you can still get it done.
  7. Aid-stations – Whatever fluids or fuel you need for that 25 mile treadmill run is easily accessible.

Trail running treadmill

freemotion-incline-pro-treadmillFreemotion makes some pretty sweet trail running treadmills. My health club has some machines that have grade ranges between -3 and 30% and also displays feet elevation gain. I used this machine to help prepare for Bandera.

Their latest light-commercial and home machine, the Incline Trainer Pro, has a grade range between -6 and 40% and built-in trail workouts (ex: Appalachian Trail and others) that use Google Maps. For flatlanders, this could be a hugely useful machine, although not cheap. Amazon had the lowest price I could find.

Treadmill acceptance

I don’t think there is a single ultrarunner that runs for the sole purpose of using a treadmill. At least I hope not. But let us not forget that this stationary machine can be a very useful running tool.

Ideally, we would all be able to run our workouts in the near perfect running meccas around the world that offer the Utopian environment for running excellence. For the rest of us running souls, the treadmill may be able to offer a desired training stimulus that doesn’t exist in our local running environment. If you can find a way to appreciate that, the negative labels may just disappear.

So, are you willing to step on the ‘mill? If so, what type of workout do you typically run on them?

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David –

(Top Photo: Courtesy of / CC BY 2.0 )

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

8 Responses to “7 Reasons Why Running on a Treadmill Rocks!”

  1. on 23 Feb 2010 at 3:13 pm Jason

    Good blog David. I am guilty of the treadmill bashing as well, until the weather is bad then I love it. 🙂

  2. on 23 Feb 2010 at 5:52 pm Mark

    I’m afraid I’m an ardent treadmill basher. If that was the only way to run I think I’d retire to the couch with a big bag of chips and a cold beer.

    Nice post though – you did make me think for a few seconds 🙂

  3. on 23 Feb 2010 at 7:19 pm Porta-pot bob

    People watching is the best part to being on the dreadmill. Watching the 50 year old mom’s taking the Hip-Hop dance class in the aerobics room, makes a long run almost enjoyable.

  4. on 23 Feb 2010 at 9:25 pm Greg Luffey

    I’m another one who bashes it, but you made some good points, David. It’s not for everyone, but I’m one of the lucky ones who has a 6500 ft peak in my backyard. Oh yea, and we have 300 days of sunshine here.


  5. on 23 Feb 2010 at 11:49 pm Patton


    You are one of the lucky who is coordinated enough to run on a treadmill. If the TV is not centered with a laser to the treadmill, I will drift. Imagine “Ernest Goes To The YMCA” and you can get a pretty good idea of my treadmill workout.


  6. on 24 Feb 2010 at 9:15 am David Hanenburg

    @Mark – I’ll take the few seconds. 😉
    @PPB – Funny dude!
    @Greg – Bragger! 🙂 That would be sweet to have that kind of backyard. Awesome!
    @Patton – That is because you are running barefoot. Get some shoes on man! 🙂

  7. on 24 Feb 2010 at 11:23 am Blaine Moore

    I’m not a very big fan of treadmills since I love running outside, but they have their place.

    I do want to point out that you missed probably the biggest benefit of a treadmill…one that I will hopefully be able to take advantage of in a year or two.

    For parents with young children, treadmills provide a way to get a run in while your baby naps, since obviously you can’t take off for an hour or two and leave the baby alone.

  8. on 24 Feb 2010 at 11:42 am David Hanenburg

    @Blaine – Good point! Also, some heath clubs provide free or paid child care that can also help create an opportunity to run using the treadmill.