Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Joy of Running?

For yours truly, the last couple of days here has seen bad weather and long hours in the office. Thus, my runs have been late at night (starting at 9:30 p.m.) on the treadmill in my basement. I run in the dark (except for the TV) because the treadmill uses so much power I am worried about blowing a circuit breaker. And my treadmill, even though it is a nice one that I bought second hand several years ago, has a significant incline to it even when level (according to my measurements and my high school geometry, about 1.5 to 2.0%). So, the runs on the home mill are hard and long, and quite honestly, really, really, boring.

And that got me thinking. What about running do I really enjoy? If I enjoy just the actual running part, the body in motion, I would enjoy, even relish, the treadmill runs -- there is nothing but a run. Do I enjoy the sense of achievement at the end? Yes. Is it being outside, in touch with the area and surroundings? Yes, I like that also. Is it the social aspect? yes. The physical confidence that comes with being able to run? That also. I have been reading alot of blogs about people running in the snow, on ice, with spikes strapped to their shoes. Or, with headlamps on running in the dark. I can't imagine that either. Why do it?

But running on the treadmill late at night, in the dark is just no fun, for whatever reason. I can't imagine I can do many of these runs without finding something else to do. On a big picture level, I look at these sessions as base building. Blocks that go into a larger building, and that will pay off later this spring and summer when I enter a more active "training phase."

A journey of a thousand miles is actually many steps linked together, and these runs are just a couple of those steps.

What do you enjoy about running? What motivates you in the dark days?


  1. Hi Running Wolve,
    I am with you about the treadmill is not my favorite! I do it because I have to do something or I feel guilty for not getting my runs in. Honestly, I have days at work where we are so busy and there is no time to even think about anything other than work. When I get home my daughter always has some practice or training to go to. My husband and I try to work it out so that we share the driving responsibility. Even with sharing, there have been a few times within the last two weeks where I have not been able to get that mill run in at 10PM. Usually when I run on the mill I put in a movie to keep me interested because like you said, running on the mill is boring!!

    I love getting outside and being close to nature. I am fortunate enough to see deer, fox, and many different birds and critters on my trail runs. Most of the trails in our woods are still covered with snow and I have not been on them since early December:( I agree also with your social aspect....I love to see other runners out there!! There is a connection and we share something pretty darn special!! I also keep running because it makes me feel better, stronger, healthier and it makes me a better person!!

    Nice post today...many people can relate to this subject!! I hope that you have an excellent day NY Wolve:)

  2. there are so many things I love about running...mostly the serenity that it gives me even when cars might be zipping by me along that 1 mile part of the park sometimes in rush hour...somehow i just block out everything. i try to think about stuff sometimes but it never works. :o) now on the treadmill i can usually think...thats when i think about a race or a marathon coming up...

    thankfully we are coming into "our" Spring down here in Texas, and it doesnt last the days start in the 50's and the highs are in the 70's, low humidity for a change and a bit of longer days are already starting...

    Junie B

  3. First off, thanks for the kind visit to my blog. It has certainly been a challenging couple of months and I just haven't had much positive to say.

    Why do I run? First off, I am addicted to that feeling of being in the shower after a run, endorphins flowing through my body, and that great feeling of accomplishment. I do not enjoy the treadmill (and I actually run on it a lot), but it is worth it for the reasons mentioned above. I am also extremely competitive by nature so I am willing to put in the training to run well. But trail running is the real nirvana for me. On one of my long 20 milers last summer, I started out in the dark with a huge full moon out in front of me. I saw numerous deer and other wildlife throughout the run. On the way back, the sun rising and I could feel its warmth as I repeated my footsteps now in the light. It doesn't take many of those to make it all worthwhile.

    Take care and as always, best of luck with your running. I have a feeling that treadmill will be pretty lonely in a few weeks as you head outside.

  4. omg, you run on your treadmill at night starting at 9:30??? wow, i really don't think i could muster any motivation to do that. bravo! I'm winding down for bed at that time...
    When I do have to do TM runs, I try and focus on my breathing, cadence, form, shoulders, etc, etc, i just go from one thing to the next and i do often zone out...but it helps to have a mirror. It's like you have a 'friend' when you're running like that;-)

  5. wow I love my running and sometimes I wouldn't even mind a run in the dark on a TM, but by 9:30 I'm ready to call it a day reallly.

    I love being in touch with the world around me, I love running when it's quiet and the rest of the world is still sleeping, i love seeing new things, i love the feeling of accomplishment

  6. I don't think not enjoying treadmill running means you don't enjoy running. I LOVE just about everything to do with running, but I DESPISE the treadmill. My theory--if most runners were happy on a treadmill, they never would have become runners. They would just be gym rats. You're doing just fine...time change is coming soon and the potential to run outside later in the day will come too.

  7. UGGGGG Deathmill running so late at night? AND throw in an added incline. I don't think I can handle that! Great job getting your runs in. Serious dedication. You'll be at 1000 in NO time! :)


  8. I loved reading this post, and have definitely had the same thoughts pass through my mind. I've done those 9:30 PM treadmill runs, and though I actually tend to enjoy them because it's the only time I watch stupid prime time TV (I run at the gym), I can't imagine tackling the miles in a dark basement - major props!

    One of my favorite parts about running is the community - love running with friends, and love running solo and feeling a sense of kinship with the other solo runners on the trails.

  9. I am with you- treadmill is a last resort. Running outdoors even in cold weather is my preferred method (of course, I live in the south so my idea of Cole is probably quite different than yours)...

  10. Treadmill running at 9:30 at night is difficult, don't get frustrated, you are being tough sticking with in there and doing it because you know it's makes you a better you. That's what I love about running most: It makes me a better me!!

  11. I love most the endorphin high I get. And the sense of accomplishment, because it IS hard. And the nice low numbers at my annual physical.

    I run through the dark, cold weather because I keep putting big spring races on my schedule.

  12. 9:30pm is awesome.

    I hate the treadmill. I try and try to improve the experience, and while the running itself is not an issue, although it seems much harder to run a certain pace than it does outside, I still don't like it.

    Before I broke my arm, I think I did two runs in my life on a treadmill. That changed as now I am hesitant about running outside in the dark.

    I miss that. I had many a course around us and the night-running in a chill air somehow seemed purer than at any other time. I would be one of those folks wearing the headlamp and the vest and the blinking red light. Running around the hills in Bronxville or up to Leewood, around Sarah Lawrence or by Tuckahoe HS on a winter's night made the roads more mine than they'd be at other times, aware but not concerned about the traffic (a confidence born in part by the headlamp and the aura of insanity it surely gave me in the eyes of passing motorists).

    So, yeah, I'm with you on the treadmill, but want you to take advantage of the roads around. One great run: get a bit over a mile in and then this loop and then a mile plus heading home. It's not long, but it is fun with slight ups and slight downs (reminds me of XC) with a short brick stretch and largely traffic-free.

    Oh, yeah. I run because I'm a runner.

  13. I am very impressed that you can run on a treadmill, in the dark and at 9:30pm. I wake up at 5am on weekdays, so by 9:30pm, I am done.

    I often run in the dark of the morning hours between 5am and 7am. I like getting my run done before facing the world. It's how I make sure that I have my own time, doing something that I enjoy, that gives me a strong sense of accomplishment and that is good for me. That's why I run.

    Good job, keep it going!

  14. Like the new picture! I think its new anyway...
    I completely agree with the treadmill running. I can't do it, I don't like it, and if I could only run on a treadmill I would not run. Good for you running that late on the treadmill in the dark! Thats dedication...

  15. I've thought the same thing MANY times while being on the treadmill these past few months. The way I look at it now is just as much physical training for the spring as it is mental. Running long distances on the treadmill has made my mental game that much tougher, and I'm glad for it! Though running in the snow and cold has definitely helped as well!

  16. To be quite honest, I only love running when the weather is warm. It is what I look forward to each day. To get outside in the beautiful weather and run along the river, it's just the perfect "me" time. When you throw a treadmill into the mix, it's no longer enjoyable, and it becomes a chore. For some reason, you have to run on the treadmill because running outside is not an option, but you have to get the miles in because you are training for something. I think running outside makes me forget I'm just "logging miles" because I enjoy it so much. The winter time is horrible for me, and I end up not training much. I purposely run a local Winter Series (a 5k, 8k and 10k) so that I don't get too out of shape. But, every run in preparation is usually on a treadmill and I despise it.

  17. Nice post. Plenty to ponder. I see the treadmill as a training instrument. I don't see it as a form of entertainment. I got outside for that. So my treadmill runs are boring if there's no specific training purpose. If there's a purpose, I'm usually fine with it. Would I prefer to be outdoors? Of course. But treadmills don't have to suck when you have to run on them. Just my 2 cents.

  18. I've never been able to enjoy running on a treadmill. After a mile or two, I'm bored out of my mind and want to quit. Yet, I can run outside with no music for hours and never get bored, even if I'm running on a small loop. Honestly, I'm not sure why the difference. But I know that if I felt the same way about outside running as I do treadmill running, I wouldn't be a runner.

  19. It never hurts to compete in your head with the people on the treadmills next to you.

    In your case, maybe get a full-length mirror to put beside the treadmill?

  20. Treadmill runs at that time of night show true dedication. I think we kind of get into a funk this time of year waiting for the weather to change. For all our sanity, I hope it changes soon. In the meantime keep those treadmill runs up and try to stay positive.


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