10 Stages Of Transitioning From Outdoor To Treadmill Running

As the wicked winter approaches, we basically go through four—okay 10—stages of 'mill grief.

treadmill lady

As the cold weather approaches, running outside becomes a bit uncomfortable for many of us. Sure, there are plenty of tough-as-nails, all-weather types who will run through subzero temps and feet of snow (more power to you!), and lots of runners live in places warm enough to run outdoors all year (lucky you!), but many of us eventually cave and turn to the treadmill for the winter months. Even though it means climate-control and the freedom to run in shorts in December, switching over to indoor running can be rough at first. If you’re planning on heading to the gym this winter, here’s a glimpse of the emotional roller coaster that is transitioning to the treadmill:

  1. Excitement: “This is going to be awesome!  It’s a change of scenery, it’s warm, and I can watch TV while I run if I want to?!  Why don’t I do this year-round?”
  2. Optimism: “Anything I can do outside, I can definitely do on the treadmill. There’s a button for speed, a button for incline, and did I mention TV? I won’t miss a beat!”
  3. Commitment: “I can easily keep up with my workout routine. I’ll just head straight to the gym after work a few days a week and then get up early on the weekends and drive over for long runs. Done and done.”
  4. Indifference: “Sooo this is a little dull, but it’ll be okay.  Only four months ’til spring and I’ll be back on the streets. Running is running, that’s all that matters.”
  5. Boredom: “Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right.”
  6. Despair: “Omg I haaaate driving to the gym just to run. And it’s only November. Spring is a kajillion months away and will NEVER get here. I will be stuck on this hamster wheel for the rest of my life.”
  7. Spiraling: “This is an injustice! Someone who loves running as much as I do shouldn’t have to be stuck in a gym four months out of the year. I’m a good runner! A good person!! What did I do to deserve this??”
  8. Negotiation: “Maybe if I double up on pants, buy a dozen thermal shirts, find some waterproof sneakers, and wear all the hats, I could get back to running on my trusty ol’ trail. Right? Snow isn’t even that cold.”
  9. Rationalization: “Four more months of 45 min a day, five days a week, that’s 60 hours of running, which isn’t even three days. I can do three days!”
  10. Resignation: “This treadmill is my fate. I accept it now. Perhaps one day I’ll again feel the warmth of the sun and breathe the fresh air, but for now, these four glass walls are my prison and I’ll….ooo a Law & Order marathon!  Long run, here I come.”

In case you’re still going through the 10 stages, here’s a treadmill workout.