This past weekend, I ran a new treadmill personal record on the treadmill in my house.
A treadmill personal record is the longest distance you have endured to date on a DREADMILL. For me, I managed to last for a whopping 8.5 miles. Not my longest run ever, but the longest I have made it on a boring treadmill.
Let me preface this post by saying I honestly hate running on treadmills. Like the worst. My mind wanders and I get bored, I feel like I’m working harder and running slower than I would be outside for the same effort.
I avoid them like the plague. I will run outside when it’s cold, raining, and snowing just to avoid an hour on the treadmill.
That being said, treadmills can be a really handy tool for runners, and I’ve decided that mine was well worth the investment.
What Happened When I Didn’t Have a Treadmill in My House
Before I bought a treadmill to keep in my house, I was mainly running outside. This worked for several months until I overlooked one very important factor: I really dislike being cold. Which doesn’t really work for running outside, because I have lived in mostly northern states where winter commonly takes over at least half of the year: Minnesota, Wyoming, and Utah.
To keep running, I vowed that I would head to the gym and jump on the treadmill there. And I did that…once in a while. In both Wyoming and Utah, my gym was a 15-20 minute drive from my house. In most of the cases where I couldn’t (or didn’t want to deal with) running outside, the weather was honestly bad enough where I shouldn’t drive anywhere either.
Thus, on those “bad” weather days, I skipped my run. Except, most of those storms lasted more than one day. So, I skipped 2 runs. And then…I was out of my consistent routine.
Why Is It Important to Maintain Consistency?
In my experience, consistency is key to improving your running. When I first started on my running journey, I heard someone say, “In running, you have to run at least 3 days per week to maintain your fitness, preferably more if you want to improve.”
I’m not sure how much science exists behind that notion or even who the source was, but it anecdotally makes sense. In order to improve your running, you need to run.
Have you ever tried to “regain your fitness” after you took several weeks or months off, only to find that your workouts feel WAY harder than they used to?
Raise your hand, we’ve all been there at least once in our lives!
Let’s be real. It SUCKS. And it can be discouraging.
When I figured out that just sticking to a plan is easier than starting over AGAIN, it helped me gain some serious ground, including with my weight loss.
By being consistent, even if only 3-4 days per week, you stay in the habit. Your fitness is never really lost, and you don’t have to struggle through the frustration of starting over and fighting the notion of “this shouldn’t be so hard!”
Before I found consistency, I felt like I was starting over every year when I added running back into my routine in the spring. And running felt REALLY hard.
Now that I have been running consistently for over 2 years (yes—even through the winter!), spring training is much easier to jump into.
So What Does This Have to Do with Treadmills?
What does this whole consistency thing have to do with hating treadmills, anyway?
A treadmill is the runner’s best tool for maintaining consistency and sticking to their training plan when life throws its curve balls.
When I get snowed in, it is so easy to just go jump on the treadmill in my house for a run.
If I have to leave for the airport at 5:00 AM and don’t have enough time to drive to the gym, workout, drive back, and shower before leaving, running on the treadmill in my house at 3:30 AM is so much easier and cuts out the precious time NOT actually spent working out so I can catch another hour of sleep instead of waking up at 2:30 AM (basically the middle of the night).
When there is a day where I just feel chilled and can’t bring myself to step outside in the cold for a run, my treadmill is warm and inside.
The treadmill is my NO EXCUSES back-up plan.
I rarely touch my treadmill in the summer, but it’s worth keeping so I have an extra option in the winter. After I bought my treadmill and changed my behavior from skipping runs to skipping right over to jump on the treadmill, my consistency improved drastically.
Over the first winter after I bought my treadmill, I shaved 11 minutes off my half marathon personal record. The primary factor I contribute my improved fitness to is better consistency due to the 80/20 Running Philosophy and my treadmill!
Should YOU Buy a Treadmill?
By now you’re probably wondering if you should invest in a treadmill to solve the same problems. The answer? Maybe.
I’ve seen far too many people purchase large gym equipment for their homes, only for that gym equipment to become an expensive clothes hanger. Be honest with yourself. If you’re going to start storing things on your treadmill, you should just buy a shelf instead!
If the Below Factors Apply to You, Now is NOT the Time to Buy a Treadmill for Your House:
- You’re just getting started with your running, and you haven’t established the habit yet
- You have purchased home gym equipment before, and it turned into extra shelving
- You don’t have anywhere in your house to PUT a treadmill
- You live in a location where the weather is pretty much awesome, all year round
If You Agree with the Factors Below, the Now Would Be a Great Time to Buy a Treadmill for Your House:
- You have a consistent running routine established, and you want to maintain it through winter or take it to the next level
- You are committed to keeping your treadmill area clear and ready-to-use at all times
- You have space to put your treadmill
- A treadmill would help you overcome excuses where you would otherwise skip a run
What Should You Look for in a Treadmill?
Now, if you are still thinking a treadmill is a great idea, here are a few things to consider.
You can find a treadmill anywhere from $500 to $5,000 and up.
Consider what you can afford, how much you will actually be using your treadmill, and what features you need.
The difference in treadmills is largely due to durability and technology.
Size and Durability
Quick Warning: There are several affordable treadmills out there that are designed for WALKING. These treadmills have shorter decks on them and typically aren’t designed to withstand the impact of consistent running.
When you look for a treadmill, make sure you weed out the walking treadmills. Treadmills for walking versus running vary by belt width and deck lengths. You can walk on a running treadmill but running for several miles on a walking treadmill is a completely different story.
Find a treadmill designed for running.
When I started my treadmill research, I wanted a durable treadmill that would last miles and miles of running. Thus, I ended up going with a refurbished, commercial grade treadmill. However, there are plenty of quality treadmills designed for home use.
Treadmill Technology and Features
One of the factors that varies the most on treadmills is the technology they come equipped with, and this will largely determine the price you pay for a treadmill.
- TV Screen
- Heart Rate Monitor
- Interactive Pre-Programmed Workouts
- Video Streaming
- Automated Incline
- And much more!
Decide which features you actually need, and which ones you can do without.
If you have used a treadmill at a gym or hotel, which features do you use? For example, I never use the screen or TV on a treadmill, so I didn’t need one on my home treadmill. This drastically reduced the price on what I was looking for.
After You Decide on Your Price Range and Desired Features, It’s Time to Start Shopping!
Here are some treadmill ideas to get you started:
Do you keep a treadmill in your house?
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About Me: I’m Alexis, Founder of RunningMyBestLife! I am an avid recreational runner, half marathoner, wife, dog mom, busy professional, downhill skier in Northern Utah. My mission is to help new enthusiasts fall in love with the sport of running. I believe that running is a catalyst to taking control of your life and living your best life by design. Learn More –>