For most of the United States, April is a time when the doldrums of winter are melting away and spring running season is right around the corner. However, with the eastern U.S. still feeling the effects of a brutal winter, it can be difficult if not impossible to stay motivated to run outside during the winter freeze.
I’ve always been a fair-weather runner hibernating at the local gym to do my cold-weather running, but even I start to go crazy being so close to all the sweaty bodies in such close proximity.
If you’re tired of your daily treadmill runs, but find it hard to step out in the cold, take heart. Here are some things that will motivate you to give up the treadmill for the feel of the open road, even when it’s cold:
Banishing the Boredom
Running on the treadmill is not fun. You can listen to all the music you want or even watch a complete episode of your favorite reality TV show, but in the end you still have the same visual stimuli every single day you get on the machine, which is usually a sweaty guy in front of you battling with the elliptical machine. The stir-craziness I felt after two months on the treadmill at the gym was infinitely worse than any cold I felt at the start of my cold weather runs.
There’s quite a difference between slogging through three miles on a treadmill in a hot and humid gym and getting slapped in the face with a blast of cold arctic air when you step outside for a run in February (or April). Whereas running in the gym will leave you tired and lazy, cold weather running can actually invigorate and energize you.
I know that there are runners than can program their treadmill for various kinds of training runs, but I am not one of them. If you’re a set-and-forget treadmill runner, it can be difficult to easily incorporate your different types of runs on the treadmill, whether it be hill repeats, fartlek training runs, or intervals. It is much easier to engage in these types of run training exercises outside.
I mentioned already that the view is typically more stimulating outside, but this was no more evident for me one October morning when I went for an early run. As I rounded the corner about two blocks from my house, I casually glanced up at the dark sky and saw brilliant streaks of green light splashed across the starlit sky. I actually stopped in mid-run and stared at the sky because I had never seen anything like this in my life. That would have never happened on a treadmill in the gym.