As a reformed treadmill junkie I must admit getting outside was a cumbersome task, but looking back I now wonder what took me so long to break from the confines of my basement and experience the joy of outdoor running.
I’ll be the 1st to admit I’m an wimp. I don’t like being cold and wet. Frankly though who does. I’m the last person anyone would every dream of inviting to go camping, hiking, skiing…you get the gist. Truth be told I trained for my 1st marathon primarily on a treadmill. The only outdoor runs I did were are our group long runs on Saturday and I even skipped one of those to do 12 miles on the treadmill when we got a foot of snow the night before. If that isn’t evidence of my wimp status I don’t know what is.
Fast forward a few years and I now have the pleasure of wiping down my treadmill every week because it collects more dust now than miles. In the last 365 days I have used the treadmill a total of 3 times and no I am not exaggerating. I have come to hate the treadmill, its not broken or boring…I just have fallen in love with outdoor running. As my friends would say I’ve toughened up. I look forward to the wind in my face, the sounds and smells of the trail, the peace of a moonlit night, and the adventures that I stumble upon. Outdoor running is where it is at! Coming from a self-proclaimed indoor snob this is a really big deal.
There a a few things that I can attribute this new love of the outdoors to:
1) I got over myself. I was a prissy, spoiled person who did not like to get dirty or be bothered with having to dress for the elements. I sucked it up found some all weather gear and took the plunge. Granted on some cold Wisconsin runs I look like the State Puff Marshmallow, I just don’t care and would rather look silly than miss out on a great run. Christmas night this year was a perfect example. I ran 16 miles in the beautiful cover of night, but was dressed in multiple layers that got a few weird stares by cars driving by.
2) I found cool courses. I researched trails in my area. I’ve lived in the same town for several years and up to this year never ran on the Ahnapee Trail. It is literally 1 mile from my house. I find myself going for runs and adding miles with ease because I get caught up in the beauty and peace of the trail. Now that I have explored it I’m sad when I cannot run on it. What a difference a year makes!
3) I bought a GPS watch. In the past I would run the same course because I knew the course and mileage. I was comfortable, but bored. I didn’t have an adventurous spirit and the guts to explore. Staying on the treadmill was just as mind numbing so I chose that over outside. Getting a GPS watch changed this for me. I am now able to go off course and still track my miles. I find myself in cool places that I never knew existed and have a new sense of freedom that I adore.
4) I started treating my runs as “me” time. If I stay at home and run on the treadmill I have a million distractions and the chances are I will cut my run short or not run at all. If I schedule a run and plan it outside I am committed to getting outside, especially if I’ve changed into my outdoor gear. It is my time to be alone, center myself, clear my head, and push my body.
Don’t get me wrong I will use my treadmill this year. Maybe 3 or 4 times (hopefully), but come rain or shine I will get outside if I can. Running on the treadmill is not a sign of weakness and is an awesome workout, but for me I need to get out of my house. I crave the outdoors and need it to be happy. If you would have asked me this a few years ago I would have responded very differently. I’m not the same runner I used to be, I’m not so self absorbed and I have in large part connecting with nature through running to thank for that. In the coming year as you set your goals considering scheduling a few runs outside…you may find it enjoyable, I know I did (I’m still surprised by that). Granted you won’t catch me camping quite yet, but who knows what 2016 will bring?!?!?!
#BeKind #BeHappy #BeActive