Many people are not a fan of the treadmill (read: dreadmill); however, I have logged countless miles and spent many, many hours on various ones over the past years. Some people find running in the same spot dull and boring but I like it. Most days I run and watch TV and try to keep myself informed of what is going on in the world around me.
While in college I trained for my first 2 half marathons on a treadmill in the winter and spring months. I went to a college that was in Minnesota, and if you know anything about Minnesota winters, they are not the warmest. The campus was surrounded by bluffs on all sides and had many trails, but those were covered with snow in the winter. For those two years, I trained outside during the month of May since I went to live with my parents for the first part of the summer.
After college and for the past two years, I lived in Ohio. I joined a gym and did all of my training on a treadmill. We did not live in the greatest neighborhood and I never felt safe going from my car to our back door at night so running by myself, no matter what time of day it was, was always out of the picture.
Now I live in the Chicago suburbs, a safe area. But, I have continued to train on the treadmill. I have often asked myself if I could go back to training outside? Part of my reason for training by myself on the treadmill is that I have not found anyone who runs as much as me (7 miles on a low mileage day) or around my pace (about 7:35 or so pace). There is a group at one of the local running stores that have group runs, but they are only 4 miles. I feel like in order to run outside I need to have a partner. Although I live in a safe area, what if something happened? I am young and look even younger than I am (I was asked last week what college I go to, but I guess this is better than the "what college do you plan on going to next year?," a comment I this winter). I have always been ultra concerned with my own safety.
One thing I like about the treadmill is that I know exactly how far I've run at all times and it shows me the pace I'm running at as well as the time. I don't have a sophisticated running watch that tells me this information and don't feel like I have to purchase one at this time. I'm sure it would help me on race days, but that would be about all.
Treadmill training can lead to P.R.s, as last year I PR'd by 7+ minutes training on one. However, I will say that if I ran on the street my feet would probably feel better on race day. I also miss the fresh air and getting the ever-attractive runner's tan (don't forget the watch line).
In a few days I'm going to visit my parents, where I typically run outside by myself. The route I run is a five mile out-and-back and goes by a fire station and through an older, well-kept neighborhood. I love running this route and know that I'll be safe. I grew up in a small city(60,000 people) so it is common for someone to honk while I am running and wave hi.
Have you ever trained on a treadmill? Do you think I would do better if I trained outside?