Saturday, April 9, 2011

On the treadmill

We were born to run. It's nature's transportation system for us humans! And then humankind came along and "innovated". We gave ourselves the treadmill.

This week I ran in two different gyms on the treadmill. I was in Vancouver, BC and had hoped to explore the city; but my running friend got sick, so I played it safe and hunted out the hotel gym. That's one of the pros for choosing a treadmill over outdoor running - if you're alone or it's dark and you're not comfortable outside, the gym offers a safe alternative.

There are pros and cons for treadmill running though, as I've discovered.

One con: running on a treadmill can be boring or uninspiring. (Especially if you are in a gym like the one my hotel had. Ick, look at that wall colour!) Another is that the treadmill isn't entirely natural - the machine sets the pace for you and the conditions are ideal (not like outdoor running if you're preparing for a race). In my experience, the upside to treadmill running is you can set a pace and stick to it; I have a routine so I know when I'm going to speed up and slow down. Running Planet has a explanation of the various pros and cons of treadmill running.

Been running shoe shopping lately? 

The question that always puzzled me is whether I need a neutral shoe or one for a pronator. I'd move awkwardly around the store as the salesman asked me to walk in my socked feet to "observe my movement". Then he'd say something like, "ah, you need this type of shoe." I didn't get it... until this week.

Thanks to my focus on running on a treadmill this week I discovered I'm an underpronator!

As I was on the treadmill trying to distract myself (my earphones weren't working and I was left without music to entertain me), I started paying attention to how my foot was hitting the tread. I run on the outside of my foot. Eureka! I finally know I should be buying a shoe with more padding on the outside edge.

Not sure if you have a neutral, overpronator or underpronator running style? Check out Runner's World's great article (with video!) "Pronation, Explained".

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