To treadmill or not to treadmill

Happy Monday, friends!

I hope you had a refreshing weekend.  I’m thrilled to have my last long-long run behind me.  A few more medium-long runs to go, but Saturday was the final 20 miler.  Whew!

So, is everyone experiencing this cold front? Living in Texas for two years thinned out my blood, I think.  I’m freezing! Once I get warmed up, it’s ideal running weather, but it’s getting harder to get out of my warm bed in the mornings.

I remember training through the winter in upstate NY a few years ago when I was preparing for my first marathon, and I can’t say I have a lot of positive memories of those bitter cold runs.  Ha!

I’ve been considering finding a treadmill.


– An indoor option when there’s a snowstorm or ice

– More sleep!

– More flexibility to run during nap time or after L is in bed if my husband is working late

– Warmer… less layers… less mental battles getting myself out the door


– I really don’t like treadmills.  I think I used them maybe twice the entire time we were in Houston and I seem to have lost my patience for them.

– We don’t have a great spot for it.  The basement ceiling is too low, and the garage would maybe work but is pretty uninviting with no distractions.

– Cost.  Plus I just joined a local gym so I technically could take L along and run there on the worst days.


Hmm, did I answer my own question here? They just seem so convenient but I guess I’m not convinced I’d use it that often.

Do you have a treadmill? Love them or hate them? Do you run outdoors all winter?


68 thoughts on “To treadmill or not to treadmill

  1. We almost bought one when we got the house but last minute I decided not to. I really wouldn’t want to deal with the maintenance and repairs. I don’t hate them though- I have been known to do many of long runs on them. HOWEVER, outside is much more enjoyable and I love that I get to explore as I run.
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  2. I agree with Nikki – I think with some patience and shopping around, you can get a gently used one for a very affordable price.
    While in Houston, I barely touches the treadmill; I recall using it on in more than a few occasions during snowy/-30 deg C days in Calgary. I have found myself doing part of the run (1.5 hours max unfortunately) outside then hop back inside to finish the job or in cases when it was too slippery outside to do speed work.
    However, if your gym is close enough (walking distance), the treadmill would be a nice-to-have.
    Good luck and let us know what you have decided.
    May recently posted..Marathon Training Recap Week 8My Profile

  3. I bought a treadmill and love it. I could run outside if I really really wanted to during the winter, but the MN winter is really cold and the sidewalks aren’t taken care of so it can be dangerous. I am also a member of my gym, but during the winter EVERYONE goes back to the gym so it’s impossible to get a parking spot unless you go right when they open. By having a treadmill in my house, I don’t have any reason not to run! I used to hate the treadmill but started to like it when I brought my iPad and used the app Virtual Runner that takes you through different running courses
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  4. Although the treadmill is by no means my favorite way, it is super convenient and I’m very thankful for mine. During the late Spring, Summer and early Fall, it sits in the basement – not used. But around this time of year I start to use it more. Too dark mornings, wearing whatever and not having to be bundled up. We’ve had ours for almost 10 years and have never had a problem. Definitely worth it if you are going to use it!
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  5. I do not enjoy the treadmill but I think if I had one in my house, I would hate it a little less. For me, having to drive somewhere to run annoys me, ha ha.
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  6. I love mine! I’ve never done a long run on it though. But it’s the only way I can run when my husband is out of town. If you have an iPad and Netflix and/ or HBO, you will love all the time to watch shows that you normally don’t get to watch. It definitely grows on you. I do prefer a nice run outside, but when the weather is horrible, it’s so nice to have. I say go for it…’ll get used to it and learn to love it.
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  7. I live in CT so I am experiencing the same temps as you and I have to say, I don’t mind them. You’ll acclimate to them. I honestly don’t mind winter running at all. The only time I used the treadmill last winter was when there was snow and ice that made running dangerous, or if it got below 20 degrees (which in your area shouldn’t be all that often, maybe just a handful of times all winter).

    You warm up really fast running outside. I start out with layers and slowly shed the gloves, the headband, unzip the hoodie. I prefer running in the cold to the heat any day of the week. You’ll get used to it!
    Amy recently posted..4 Mile Trail Run Race RecapMy Profile

  8. It does sound like you answered yourself! I do have a treadmill and I use it for runs during the week during the winter months when I can’t push the ladies! Through the winter though I get in at least one run a week outside…I honestly love my frigid long runs! It makes me feel very badass and like a hearty New Englander!!
    Fancy Nancy recently posted..Monday MotivationMy Profile

  9. I have one and am so glad I do. I live in NY so there are many a day where it is cold or hot or I only have a short time to run. I have a TV in front of mine which is the only thing that gets be through!!
    Gigi recently posted..Rock and Roll Brooklyn 10kMy Profile

  10. I started on a mill so it’ll always hold a special place in my heart. That said, there are times here in Chi-town where I NEED it (read 8″ of slush when I needed to do a 22-miler pre-Boston). It’s also been a lifesaver when the kids were babies and I could not leave the house. I run outside as much as possible but I vote yay for the mill!
    Marcia recently posted..Trick or Treat Trot Race ReportMy Profile

  11. I have a treadmill now because of my school schedule starting in January. Chris leaves for work by 5:30AM so running before he leaves really isn’t an option and I don’t want to get the girls up that early. I can also use it at night after they go to sleep so I don’t miss out on family time to work out.
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  12. I have a treadmill at home and also a gym membership with better ones. I definitely prefer to run outside but I love them for speed work, especially sprints! Also, running on them is muuuch easier on your body!!

  13. I was able to get a used fold up treadmill when our neighbor moved. It has been great when my husband travels because I can run before my daughter wakes up or during naps. She is still too young to take to a gym daycare and we don’t have family in the area. I really feel it was beneficially for me getting back in shape post baby. But it looks really ugly folded up in the bedroom and when I run I am staring at a blank wall. Because it only fits in the corner of the room. So yes, lots of pros and cons to consider!

  14. I feel like treadmills are a necessary evil of sorts. I have totally lost my patience for running on them but there are some days where the weather and conditions are dangerous and I need to stay inside. Hmmm if you’ve joined the gym, maybe you could just go there on those days?
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..100 Days to SochiMy Profile

  15. I always swear off treadmills during the warmer months and have a hard time even running just a few miles. But man, it gets cold up here and it becomes the lesser of two evils (for me) when it is 10 degrees and icy outside. Right now, I can barely make it 5 or 6 miles on it so I’m not sure how things are going to go this winter.
    I will also add that I feel stronger when I run outside. I run faster on the treadmill and I feel like it can give me a false sense of security about my speed, fitness, etc.
    Michele @ Nycrunningmama recently posted..Halloween + Longest Long RunMy Profile

  16. I got a treadmill as a gift (nice gift right?) when my twins were born and I had all the same issues you’re concerned about. There wasn’t a really good spot to put it and when I could use it, I could also just go to the gym. The treadmill is now in my best friend’s garage where she uses it a lot more then I ever did and I’m REALLY happy I decided on the gym membership for the whole family instead! Good luck…:-)
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  17. We have an old treadmill that’s in the basement, and it’s nice to have on those cold winter mornings. I never thought I’d use it as much as I did but I found that once I get in the routine of the ‘mill, I’m IN the routine and when I’m off of it, I’m OFF of it. I’m much more acclimated to the early mornings than I was last year so I might tough it out more. Plus, I’m hoping to get the dog back in shape once marathon training is done.

  18. I absolutely, positively, despise the treadmill. DESPISE! So unless conditions absolutely require it, I won’t step on one. However, I have had one for years in the basement b/c my husband travels quit a bit and when the kids were younger, it was sometimes my only option. I now debate whether or not to keep it b/c it truly gets used maybe 2x/year now, but I do like knowing it’s there, “just in case.” With the winter, you’ll get quite used to going out in the temps, so I’d rule that out as a reason for one if I were you. And it’s not that often in this part of the country that conditions are so snowy we can’t get out, either. Buy some Yaktrax for winter, btw!
    misszippy recently posted..Not the long run I wantedMy Profile

  19. I know that I’ve mentioned a few (100) times how much I love my treadmill. I actually prefer it especially for long runs!!! I used to despise the treadmill but after we had our first son and Chris was gone (over 50% of the time) it became my only option to run consistently. I learned quickly to love it!!!
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  20. I would definitely prefer to run outside all winter. I don’t love treadmills, but I still would like to have one in the house. There are just some days that running outside doesn’t work out. We get a lot of snow/ice during the winter where I live and I have slipped on ice more than once. I have a gym membership, but it would be so convenient to not have to drive anywhere.
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  21. I don’t have a treadmill but I have to be honest…I would LOVE to have one in my house! I don’t love treadmill running but with my husband away and two little kids it’s the only way I’ll get any consistent running in.
    I’ve been wanting a treadmill for over a year now but have been on maternity leave and it’s just not in our budget. I don’t know what to look for and feel I need some expert advice.
    I do love running in the winter time (East Coast-Canada)so cold isn’t the problem, it’s finding the time when your a (part-time) single parent.
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  22. I treadmill 100%! Outside running is so much more enjoyable (most of the time, aka when the weather is cooperative) but where I live it gets cold and nasty early. It is already very cold here, and we are always dealing with high winds, disgusting rain, and snowstorms.. and snow sticks around until April. So, although I love a beautiful outdoor run, treadmill running has to be integrated into my running regime.

    Right now I still do a long run outside once a week, typically on the weekend, but I pay attention to the weather to make sure I take advantage of the nicest day possible. But treadmills are great for when you are in a pinch!

  23. I am so spoiled with a complete home gym (treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike and weights … and a TV/DVD/Ipod). I don’t know if it is just the convenience, or other issues (weather/dogs/etc) but I am pretty much an indoor exerciser only now. It is also great with kids, I can go workout, and go for miles, but never be more than 30seconds away if the kids need me (that can be a pro AND a con). I also do love my distractions (watching tv/movies). Ok – I may watch a couple shows a day, but I’m active the entire time, not just sitting!
    JenB recently posted..A Big Bag of SugarMy Profile

  24. Hate the treadmill which is funny b/c there was a time when I would only run on them! The only times I ever use one is when the temps are just way too extreme or it’s storming out. I did use the one in FL on vacation b/c the heat was just awful and I wasn’t acclimated quite yet. There was no path with shade so it was just brutal. I have found that if I can watch tv, that helps.
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  25. I train on a treadmill for a good chunk of the year and as much as I SO much prefer to be outside, I am super grateful for my treadmill. We have icy and snowy roads up here in the Rocky Mountains for months at a time. I can do my easy runs outside still, but have you ever tried to run fast on ice? Not a good idea. 🙂 I tried using the gym, but I didn’t like having to drive to the gym and back, and often the treadmills had time limits or weren’t in the best of shape. So I got my own and I love having it. I got a high end Nordicktrack and it came with an excellent warranty and service plan. I have it serviced every six months. They check the calibration (which makes sure the speed is accurate – at the gym I never could tell if it was), lube the belt, change belts on the motor if needed, etc. (all included in the warranty and service plan). So I have my own treadmill in my house, that i know is accurate and running well, that i can run on as long as I want to. It is the only way I could get through the winter. I have done 100 mile weeks completely on my treadmill. It is obviously not my first choice, and I literally don’t use the treadmill from April through October, but I am sure grateful for it for November through March. 🙂

  26. Treadmills are handy when you have children or bad weather outside, but when we moved in January I sold my treadmill. I still haven’t needed to replace it because I love to run outside in our nearby park. In fact, today I saw a deer while I was there!
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  27. I really really really dislike running on a treadmill. I’m from Louisiana but recently moved to Ohio, so I’m in the same boat. But wouldn’t you rather run in the cold than the humidity? I don’t mind running in the cold and snow, as long as it’s not icy. Do you get free admittance to the gym you teach spin at? That may be an option. Of course all that said-I don’t have a little one at home and that makes a huge difference.

  28. I wouldn’t mind having one, but have basically the same issue as you – no good spot to put it. And since I have the gym at my disposal, the only time I could really see me using it is the rare occasion when the snow/ice is so bad that roads aren’t passable. In a typical winter, that really doesn’t happen all that often, so it’s hard for me to justify the expense.
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  29. I’d stick with the one at your gym. I used ours at the gym during the hot summer months. Also they have all the cheesy Bravo shows on so the time just flew. I generally like treadmills but I’m not sure I’d use one here.
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  30. I wrote a post on this about a year ago called “treadmill or dreadmill”. In the end, I decided that running outside most of the time makes you tough. The treadmill is a crutch. That being said, last winter I did end up getting a treadmill, and it does allow me to fit more runs in! I try not to “wimp out” and use it unless the weather is REALLY horrible or unless Chris is gone and I have to stay home w/ the kids. I never choose the treadmill because of cold alone, but cold compounded with ice or rain or wind and then throw in some dark and I wimp out!
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  31. We do not own a treadmill but I have access to one through a gym membership. I use it as more of a “last resort” option. It does come in handy when weather is not in my favor. (Hard rain/ storms, extreme heat or snow/ ice, etc.) One HUGE treadmill tip is to get Netflix. For us it is $7.99 for the online streaming for the whole family. When I do have to run (or bike or elliptical) at the gym I just put on a show or movie and the time FLIES by!! I LOVE it! I just use my iphone to watch it from, bring headphones and I am set. I think a treadmill might come in handy where you live now- especially in the winter months.
    Tia @Arkansas Runner Mom recently posted..Race Report- The Bison Stampede {Me- Negative Splitting a 5K?!}My Profile

  32. I’m hugely pro treadmill! It’s a necessity for me with kids, and honestly, there are tons of distractions that you can use. Magazines, watching netflix on your phone (if you have that capability), music, make your own hills, and a tray for snack and drinks! I use one at the gym, so I also have friends to talk to during my runs. And the endorphins are the same either way.
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  33. I think as much as you run you should have one. I think the biggest issue is finding a place to put it. We bought ours a little over 2 years ago and I use it a lot. Never had any issues with it either (i.e. no maintenance). I don’t have it near a tv or anything but usually just blast pandora from my phone. I don’t use it for really long runs but I love having it!
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  34. I have a treadmill- I won’t say I am “in love” with it- it serves its purpose- to allow me to run when the whimsy strikes, cold, icy, rainy, etc. But it also takes up valuable space in my already small place. For me- right now- the pros outweigh the cons. I will say I got mine for about half price because I bought it second hand from a friend. I put out a plea on FB and a friend had one they were willing to sell (and she let me pay when I was able). I went over to pick it up and her husband helped me load it and my landlord helped me unload at home.
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  35. I don’t enjoy the treadmill much, but I have come to terms with it as a mother with a young child and the fact I do live in a region that can get very icy roads. There are times I simply don’t have childcare and that is mostly in the summer months during summer vacation. Sure I could get up earlier during the summer, but sleep is important to our training and health as well so I don’t like to shortchange myself there. I also rely on it during the brutal weather when the roads are way too icy to be safe or the snow is piled so high that running isn’t going to work out that well. Other than those moments, I try to not use it. I don’t mind running in the cold, as long as the roads are clear. It is harder to get out the door during the colder temps, but I force myself and usually after a mile into a run I’m warmed up enough 🙂

  36. I have to run on the treadmill for childcare reasons. I really do hate treadmill running, but glad that I have the option. Otherwise I wouln’t be able to run. However I would run outsider, regardless of the weather if I could.
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  37. I have a treadmill. We bought it right after we bought our house– I love the outdoors but don’t run outside in the dark cold winter days– so it’s great– it does get boring awhile but it does the trick– better to go downstairs in December then bundle up for the gym!

  38. I live in MN, so our winters can get pretty nasty. Even now, as the temps are down in the 30s/40s with wind, I prefer to run inside on the treadmill or the track at the gym. I actually don’t mind running at the treadmill at all – the ones at our gym have tvs attached, so I either watch a show for a while, I’ll bring my ipad and watch something from Netflix, listen to a podcast, or just completely zone out because i don’t have to think about turns/speed. It beats the MN winter running option for me any day 🙂
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  40. You have a gym membership so you probably don’t need one. We made the decision to buy one instead of a gym membership, but a good one is expensive.

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