Dear Treadmill: An Open Letter to my Favorite Instrument of Torture

Dear Treadmill,

I suppose I should start by apologizing for all the names I’ve called you so far this summer: the classic “dreadmill” title and the inside joke “trashmill” with my race twin, or the oh so straightforward “Satan’s Spawn” because I know calling you those names doesn’t help either of us, and probably makes me psych myself out about using you even more. But man, it sometimes feels like you really truly deserve it.

But before we progress in our relationship this summer, I think we need to be honest about a few things that might remain a challenge for us:

Let’s get this straight- running outside is SUCH a better experience. Feeling the fresh air and the joy of an unexpected breeze is what awaits me outside vs. the same indoor air and praying for the air conditioning to get just a little stronger. Plus, when I am running with you I am literally going nowhere instead of when I am outside seeing the world and how each run, even when it is on the same route, feels just a little different. When I am running outdoors  so many things change aside from just my fitness and pace- the weather, the way things look in different light at different times of day, the other people I pass. You never change. And I do not mean that in a good way.

Next, it is so much easier to call it quits when I use you, oh treadmill, than when I am running a route outside. See, unlike an “out and back”, where once that halfway fatigue hits I still have to find a way home, it is oh so easy to skip out on the end of a workout before I’m supposed to be done because I literally just have to hit a button and take a step down. This temptation is huge and sometimes it wins. I am sure it will make me mentally stronger to have to continually choose to keep going, but mostly it is just hard and makes me feel frustrated

Whew! OK, glad we cleared the air on our irreconcilable differences… but I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t grateful for you. You are giving me a chance to keep training when the outside is dangerous for running. My chances of gettingheat stroke are way less on any given summer day by staying inside to run and whether it is dark out or not, I never have to worry about accidentally taking a route that lands me in a rougher part of town than I expected. When I’m with you, I don’t have to stop for cars or traffic lights, it is just a steady forward motion, I’m the only one who will stop me. Plus,  I can give my hydration pack a chance to get washed as you have a place for my snacks and water bottle so I don’t have to carry those on my back. People tell me I should also be excited to watch TV on my treadmill runs but, actually, that’s a wash for me- it’s fun to watch random shows sometimes but I really treasure running for a chance to clear my head and TV doesn’t do that for me the same way getting outside for a run and finding that state of flow does, but I’m glad you make other people happy with that opportunity. And while it is frustrating that cutting my runs short remains SUCH a tempting and easy way out when I’m on the treadmill, you also save me from having to do the math on a given route as to how far out and back I need to go or if I can add in a random side street, etc. And my brain is pretty thankful for the math break sometimes.

So where does that leave us?

Well, I can’t wait to not need you anymore, but I’m glad you are there for me when I do need you. I’m going to try to be kinder to you in the future. And I’ll start with a better name instead of dreadmill. Current top contenders are:

  1. TreadMillicent
  2. Haaave you met Tread?
  3. Treaddy Roosevelt
  4. Tread Zeppelin
  5. Tread Astaire (a puntastically talented friend added that to the list)
  6. Rosencranz and Guildenstern (are tread…)
  7. Treddy Ruxpin (this one is old school!)

I’ll keep brainstorming…. just rest assured that I’ll be seeing you soon,


PS: I brainstormed this post 2 weeks ago and have since then decided that the perfect name is: Tread Lasso. I BELIEVE we can make this relationship work!


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