Uh, I Forgot How To Run On A Treadmill


The last time I had used a treadmill? Oh, early March 2020. And gee, can you think why?


There was a time in my life when the treadmill was nearly the ONLY way I ran. Hills? Terrain? Weather? I didn’t know them. All I knew was the inside of a gym and the consistency of the treadmill.

Those who claimed to hate the thing, that it made running so much harder, only served to render me befuddled. WHY? You could put on TV, plunk a water bottle down in the cupholder, and begin. Not rain nor snow nor dark of night could stop you. How could they? You’re indoors!

Treadmill in NC, Jan 2020

I’m using the past tense like they are a factor now; quick, put on a hat before the indoor rain falls on your head! No, no – what I mean to say is that gradually, by necessity, I drifted away from my reliance on the treadmill.

I starting mixing in outdoor runs, and noticed my running improve. I mixed in more. Then my gym shut down, making outdoor runs the default and the treadmill a last resort.

Then I moved to Puerto Rico, where my condo’s gym is full of poorly maintained equipment in an un-air-conditioned basement. I was still getting in the occasional treadmill speed run, however, when the pandemic hit and the gym was closed down completely.

Thank God I turned into an outdoor runner. Otherwise I would’ve been screwed! (Instead I’m just very, very sweaty.)

Eventually they reopened the gym, but I didn’t go back. Running outdoors is now basically the only way I fly. Unless…


Enter the hotel gym! I don’t know, there’s something about hotel gyms I just love. Sure, the nice ones have the towels and the cucumber water and TVs attached the equipment, but I think more than that it’s simply the allure of performing an otherwise same-old workout Somewhere Else. But then I kinda love hotels for exactly that reason to begin with.

At any rate, during my recent stint in the El Conquistador, I knew I had to use the gym for my morning 5-miler.

I went into it all cocky, too. Sure, it had been over two years since I last hopped onto a treadmill, but it’s like riding a bike, right? Like riding a bike with your feet or whatever. I climbed onto the only working treadmill in the place and fired ‘er up.

Treadmill at El Conquistador



Running on the treadmill is WEIRD!


Okay, first of all, has the horizon always bounced like that? Admittedly not all gyms have such a nice view, but I don’t remember feeling like my field of vision was bobbing up and down.

And have the handlebars always felt so confining? Not that I was grabbing onto them anyway, but I found myself subconsciously pinning my elbows to my sides.

Even something as simple as changing my speed feels bizarre. I still haven’t quite mastered speed regulation, but I’ve at least gotten used to making those decisions of my own accord. Despite selecting a reasonable top mph, I found myself squashing the instinct to grab the control panel lest I go flying off the back.

Plus there were other people using machines behind me in this gym. Probably none of them noticed or cared, but I still felt on display in a way that the cars that honk at me on my outdoor runs do not. At least they’re driving away, you know?


I don’t know. Maybe this is just another outward manifestation of my inner quivering weirdness. Or maybe it’s a normal, relatable Runner Thing. It just never occurred to me that treadmill running could be a skill in and of itself. I certainly never would have guessed that you could lose it!

Ah well. As far as areas of concern, this isn’t much of one. Maybe I’ll try again in the future, but for now, I’m pretty happy with my regular outdoor running route. Although I do get rained on a lot more, so I’m gonna need that hat back.

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!


  1. It’s funny, I don’t love the treadmill but I found it’s grown on me a little bit – mostly for those days when the conditions outside are so unappealing. There’s a little bit of relief knowing I can still get my run in and NOT be running through sleet, or 20 degree weather, or whatever. I still try to do the majority of my runs outdoors but it’s good to have a backup when I might convince myself not to run otherwise!

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