I know, I know, who wants to run on a treadmill when the outdoors are calling!?!? I am totally with you on this and would chose running outside over inside on a hamster wheel any day. There are some circumstances where if we want to get a workout it then we’ll need to breakdown and use a treadmill. Fortunately for us there are several benefits I have learned that can be gained by utilizing a treadmill.
For me, first and foremost, it really helps with my speed work. It’s easy for me to get into a pattern and comfortable with my runs. I find that zone and pace and just go. That’s great but the point of training is to get better. If I don’t force myself to run a little harder I may never realize my full potential or at least not make the gains I should be. In steps the treadmill and it’s amazing electronic controls. Rather than just set my personal cruse control I can let the treadmill push me harder than I otherwise would push myself.
Some of you are lucky and have the mountains at your front door. All I have is flat corn and bean fields. If I’ve got a mountain hunt coming up I’ve got to do everything I can to get ready for the literal ups and downs I’ll be facing. Maxing the incline on the treadmill is a pretty good start. I love strapping on a weighted pack, maxing that incline, and setting a fairly brisk walking pace and just get after it. In my mind I am envisioning myself getting to a ridge just prior to daylight or in the case of my last hunt in the Rockies making a climb again and again packing out elk. Either way, I’m using what I have to be as prepared as I can.
I will be the first to say you need to train in the same conditions that may see on a hunt, including the weather conditions. If you follow me on social media then you probably heard me whining about running in all the rain we were getting earlier this Spring. It wasn’t overly enjoyable but I did it nonetheless. Sometimes though it’s just not smart or feasibly to run/hike outside due to mother nature. It could be a wicked thunderstorm or a blinding blizzard but there are times where you would be better served getting your sweat on inside. Notice I didn’t say forgoing your workout. Get on the treadmill and make it happen.
If you haven’t noticed before, next time you are on a treadmill look down and see how much bounce is going on with the running surface while you’re cruising along. If you just can’t handle running or walking on hard concrete surfaces perhaps there is just enough give in a treadmill to keep you working towards your fitness goals.
I really like this one. Not a lot of explanation required here…if you can log mile after mile trudging along on a treadmill in a dirty, dim, windowless room (I don’t think many gyms are like that anymore!) then you can talk yourself through those times in the field when you just don’t want to go any further. Being prepared is not always just about the physical, your mental toughness plays a much bigger role than you probably realize.
Now you have a couple reasons not to throw in the towel next time you can’t get out to breathe that fresh air we all long so much for. Not only are they just reasons, they are good reasons! As I’ve said before, you’ve got to make it happen, so make the best of your situation and be a better hunter today than you were yesterday (even if it means using a treadmill!).