Did you know treadmills were actually pre-electricity machines? In those times, they were primarily used to grind grain via a treadwheel controlled by a human or animal’s steps. Years later, treadmills’ became a form of punishment for people sentenced to “hard labor” in prison.
Today, people go wild for treadmills of all sorts – the kinds with TVs attached to them, the kinds with the steepest incline, the kinds with incredible speakers, the kinds that do crazy shit on random for you, the kinds with two belts instead of one. People love them.
I’m a runner and there was a time when I hated running on treadmills. The thought of running in one place for an extended amount of time; the high-pitched sound of that weird plastic rubbery surface rotating; the smell of the confines of a musty, humid room; it was all less than ideal. Those were probably my “I’m a real runner” days whenI consistently did my tempo, interval, and hill runs and I judged people who ran with music. At any rate, I used to think treadmills were the worst.
Those times are long gone. I now don’t mind running on treadmills at all. The fact that I can sport shorts and a t-shirt while it is a bloody cold 34 degrees outside or on the flip side comfortably running inside while it’s a bloody hot 90 degrees outside; the feeling of my body sweating instead of freezing; the sound of my feet hitting the weird plastic rubbery surface in tandem with my music while I watch my heart rate increase; the ability to make my workout so dang hard I almost pee my pants – that’s all ideal. (I’m intense like that.)
Don’t get me wrong because I still love running outside particularly when the temp ranges from 50-80 degrees. And there are definitely days when running without headphones is therapeutic and mind-settling. But why the change of heart? Aside from the weather or the convenience, treadmills do one thing in particular for me.
Treadmills make me continue. They force me to go.
Some days I need to be forced to go or to continue. Treadmills are a good reminder that I don’t have to do it all by myself.