Getting over the fear of running on a treadmill

This is going to come across as an absolutely stupid post to a lot of people, but just before the C-word lockdown I went to the gym with Victoria and decided to finally run on a treadmill. It would be the very first time I have run on one in my life…

Why have you been dodging treadmills?

Rather embarrassingly for me, I have had a fear of treadmills for as long as I can remember. It is a totally irrational fear and one that I cannot quite explain. I can walk on it fast and on the highest incline, but as soon as it gets to the speed of which I would have to run, all of a sudden a fear strikes up in me and I slow it down or get off. This is something that I have been trying to shed from me for years.

I would see everyone on a treadmill running away rather happily and I would curse them as I would then go to the elliptical or the bike. Anything but the damn treadmill. I tried to defend it by saying that if I wanted to run I would go outside. I don’t own a bike so it is better for me to use the stationary one in the gym. Silly things like this kept me going.

Treadmill day

The day I went to the gym, I kind of figured that it would be the last time that we would be able to attend until after lockdown happened. It was getting more and more obvious with the measures put in place that going to the gym was less and less likely, so I did my usual stepper and bike. The general cardio, but I could see Victoria was still working out and I wanted to do something. I wasn’t too in the mood for weights or bodyweight workouts so I saw the treadmill and originally thought I would do my usual high incline walk for the duration. Then I thought bugger it.

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I went on the flattest incline and just walked, then every 5 seconds increased the speed, right up until it was a steady walking pace. I then decided to try running motions just to get used to it and as I was on an incredibly slow pace it was fine, I then kept increasing the speed and voila, I was going at a point where I could only run!

It felt weird running on it and Victoria soon saw me and was so shocked and happy at the same time. I could tell she was a bit proud of what I was doing as she knew it was a pretty big fear of mine. She wisely left me to it and I just went on my merry way. I had no intention of going for long on the treadmill, I just wanted to know within myself that I could do it and that I had added another string to my bow when at the gym.

Post running thoughts

As I said it was weird and I do not know how other people see it, but for me, it was harder to run on the treadmill than outside. I found it a little hard to focus and concentrate on the run as I was constantly looking at numbers and trying to figure out what they all meant. For example, I was trying to work out just what my pace was and if it was in km or miles. I am pretty sure now it is set to km, but again until I go back out there on it I will just not know.

I also couldn’t get into a rhythm while on the run, that could have been from nerves and the fact that I wasn’t on it for long. But I felt off as it was much more difficult than running outside. So many people have said to me that running outside is harder, yet I have seen with Victoria that she runs a lot smoother and better outside than on the treadmill.

For me, it felt that I was exerting a lot of effort in the run and not going nearly as far as I should be as normally I would have gotten to a specific distance, yet on the treadmill, it was a tad slower and that was just odd to me. I would have thought that I would be more free and comfortable. Maybe that will come in time when this madness is over and I get to get more used to it.

It could be handy for me to get used to sprinting a bit more as I can just look ahead and keep going and look down periodically, while I like the sprints outdoors, I do want to get back into the longer runs and having a gym session on the treadmill to improving my lung capacity and to get the power and pace back into the legs seems to be a key positive of a treadmill. Again, I am an absolute novice to this world and unluckily for me, I will have to wait a little while to get back to it.

Hopefully, the fear doesn’t come back in that time!

 

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