Monday, January 20, 2014

Treadmills Workouts in the Sport of Running

Ok, I’m just going to say it.

Do treadmill workouts count as ‘runs’?  Only partially.  

I know there are some people reading this who are already up in arms, but bear with me a moment before you bear down on me. 

The first question we need to ask is: What is running?

Is it merely the physical act of moving “swiftly on foot so that both feet leave the ground during each stride,” as it is defined in the dictionary?

Absolutely not. Instead, we need to look at one of the other definitions that state that running is “moving about from place to place” under your own power.

Unfortunately, “running” on a treadmill does not cut it.  A “real run” has to take you somewhere.  Along the way, you have to be interacting with the world around you.

You have to deal with cracks in sidewalks, make snap decisions on jumping over the puddle or running through it, go up and down hills. You also have to deal with the rain, wind, snow, freezing cold or blistering heat.

But most importantly, when you run places there will be times when you find yourself miles from home and tired, or with bad blisters, or just out of gas. And you will need to grow your character to get home. 

This is the sport of running. 

If you are someone who works out on a treadmill, please do not take offense. I realize your workout is hard and can be a great thing for your body. In this era when obesity and general unhealthiness continues to skyrocket, I applaud what you do.

But… I don’t want to hear you say or post on Facebook that you just got finished with a 10-mile run if it’s ON THE TREADMILL.  Of course, feel free to brag all you want about the workout you had on the treadmill and how long it lasted.

But just like a golfer who goes to the driving range was not playing golf and a batter who was in the batting cage was not playing baseball – you did not run 10 miles.  I respect your efforts and recognize your workout, but don’t downgrade running by making it equal to a treadmill workout.   It is so much more than that.    

More than I can express, running has sustained and buoyed me throughout my life. It is how I stay balanced, spiritual and healthy. It is one of the things that connects the me as a child to me as a young adult to the middle aged me. And Lord help me, it will connect to the old aged me too.

I know it’s winter outside right now and it’s damn cold. Get out anyway.  If you can’t, it’s just too cold for you, that’s ok.  Do something else.   

If you opt for the treadmill and the gym, that is a good choice. It is a great winter workout and can burn a ton of calories. It will probably help you stay in shape for when you run.

But every sport has some critical items, some fundamental elements that MUST be there for it to count as playing the sport.

My Dad loves golf. Living in New England, he cannot play in the winter. He will go to the indoor driving range where he can hit a couple of buckets of balls to work on his swing. He is hitting the ball, but he is not golfing. To golf, there needs to be greens, fairways, sand traps and water. He has to adapt to where the ball lands and do his best.

When my son goes to his indoor baseball practice, he swings the bat, catches the ball and improves his technique. But he does not play baseball until he is out on the diamond, there are two teams (even if it is just two boys!), they have to think on their feet, deal with the bad hops, the calls, the quick decisions and the weather. Yes, this also means indoor baseball does not count.

When Babe Ruth said if it weren’t for baseball, he would be either dead or in jail, he wasn’t talking about swinging in a batting cage.  The fullness of his sport was much more than that. 

There is way more to baseball than any batting cage can offer.  There is way more to golfing than any driving range can offer.  And there is way more to running than any treadmill can ever offer. 

One component does not make a whole sport.  Indoor machine workouts are great winter workouts. They offer good ways to burn calories.  And for some, the plethora of machines and classes offered at a gym may be their exercise(s) of choice – year-round.  I call them the fit, strong, gym people.  They certainly look more buff than me!  I’m totally cool with that. 

But let’s be clear, it’s not ever a run.

I encourage you to pick up a copy of my book, 7 Days to a New You, which is currently out on Amazon.  Let this guide you through not only a food cleanse, but an emotional renewal.  The new year is a great time for cleanses and I hope you pick up a copy today!

1 comment:

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