Culture

Why Does Everyone Hate On Treadmill Runners?

The treadmill—or 'dreadmill' as some call it—often gets a bad rap. But, don't let that carry over to the runners themselves.

Etiquette expert Lizzie Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, knows a thing or two about the rules of the road—and the descendant of the famous decorum diva is a runner too!

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 a 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 and not 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 I feel like I have to justify it.

If what gets you motivated is being able to control your pace and incline or watching a movie while you run…or if you like a temperature-controlled environment and don’t have to worry about cars and dogs…or because that cute guy or girl you’re dying to talk to runs on the treadmill next to you…the point is: it does not 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 said 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 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.

Have a question for Lizzie? Email editorial@womensrunning.com or tweet @WomensRunning with the hashtag #ProperForm.