Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Treadmill vs. Outdoors

People ask my advice about running all the time.  Why do my knees hurt? What shoes are good? what should I eat? What is a good race to run? etc.  My answer is almost always, "It depends."  First I have to get to know you and what your goals are, what your fitness and athletic background is, what you enjoy about running and what you don't.  The only question that I am always steadfast on is treadmill vs. outdoors.  I hate the "dreadmill" it is so boring, plus there is the random noise from the spin class next door and the banging weight machines and 58 TV's with 58 different shows on, not to mention all the people walking around not working out.  I'm trying to not let that bother me anymore but seriously...after sitting at your desk reading some damn spreadsheet all day the last thing you need to do is sit on a recumbent bike peddling at 57 rpm reading about if the Bachelor is dating a Kardashian or if the guy who played Batman broke up with the chick who got busted lip syncing the national anthem...but I digress.

In light of my current situation I actually found the treadmill to be ok.  Yes, the big girl was still cruisen' the recumbo, and the hip hop cardio class was comical, and I did get to catch up on the days news and sports scores and an old episode of "Friends", all at the same time, BUT, the treads do offer an advantage over running outdoors.  Perfect running surface.  No cracks in the sidewalk, no curbs dropping off suddenly, no cars and other people trying to kill me or worse throw me off my stride.  Since I am still new to this forefoot striking, barefoot running transition I really need to think about my foot placement and if I was outside I would not be able to spend :30 solid minutes thinking about nothing else.

So here a few things that you should try to remember if converting to natural running.  I am trying to shorten my stride in front of me but lengthen it behind me.  In order to do that I try to have a slightly quicker stride then normal (or what was normal).  Although I feel pretty certain I was landing directly beneath my center of gravity it felt as if I was not even finishing my stride, like I was cutting it a bit short or like I was almost shuffling.  It also felt like my feet were not on the ground very long, defiantly shorter then when I was a heel striker, which makes sense since my stride is shorter (think:quick steps, quick feet).  I also found that I can actually run smoother and find the balance between the amount of weight I put on the ball of my foot vs the amount of weight I put on my heel better when I go a little faster.  10 min miles were ok but a 9 min mile just felt more natural to me.  If any of my 18 followers out there (thanks mom) are trying to convert also please keep in mind that fast is relative.  10 min miles might be haulin' ass for you.

Yes I miss running outdoors, yes I miss the solitude, yes I miss getting so deep in an endorphin fueled daydream that I literally forget I am running and forget where I am, and yes, I admit that I miss passing everybody on the trail (well, 98 out of 100), and yes running outdoors is harder then running on the treadmill and therefore does more to get you in shape.  But is running outdoors always better then running on the treads?  It depends.

3 miles. 27:30

No comments:

Post a Comment