Etiquette expert Lizzie Post reminds us that treadmills are perfectly acceptable–you don't have to defend your running habits to anyone.

Etiquette expert and runner Lizzie Post knows a thing or two about the rules of the road. The great-great granddaughter of etiquette’s original reigning queen, Emily Post, knows that we aren’t the only ones that need help with our behavior. When other athletes make rude comments about our running habits, it can be hard to bite our tongues and remember that we run the way we do because it works best for us.

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Why does everyone hate on treadmill runners? What’s a nice way to say that running at the gym is just as hard as running outside?

This question gets at something going on in the larger conversation about runners and running: why are we ever competitive about who is the more authentic runner? For example, I’d totally tell you that I’m a runner. I love to run. But over time, I decided I loved my runs best and was most motivated when I do intervals of running and walking. When I explain to people that I do run-walk intervals that aren’t designed for high-intensity training (I do a moderate 9-minute mile while I run and a medium walking pace during my walk intervals), I somehow feel like I have to justify it.

If what motivates you is being able to control your pace and incline or watch a movie while you run…or if you like a temperature-controlled environment and don’t want to worry about cars and dogs…or if it’s because that cute guy or girl you’re dying to talk to runs on the treadmill next to you…the point is, it doesn’t matter! Your run doesn’t have to be through driving snow for you to be a runner. Proudly be a treadmill enthusiast!

If someone makes a disparaging comment after you’ve told them you run on a treadmill, you can always say something like, “Well, I love it. It works for me.” Or try: “I’m pretty happy with my workouts.” A good blank stare with a couple of blinks and then a change of subject can also do the trick. Blink. Blink. “So when’s your next race?” Remember: don’t let someone else’s ego get in your way.

Related:

Mind Your Manners: Should I Tell My Friend She Has Terrible Form?

Is It Okay To Run A Half Marathon Without Telling Anyone?

Do You Have To Share Nutrition With Your Running Buds?