Traveling, Training, and Treadmills

I travel a lot.  Don’t get me wrong, I love being a professional speaker but it can definitely wreak havoc on my training – people who hire speakers are used to discussing things like transportation and honorarium but, it turns out, less used to discussing   the availability of a pool and spin bike.

Last week I was traveling to lovely York College in Pennsylvania.  By the time I arrived and got settled and ready for my interval run it was around 11pm.  As I walked past a hotel employee in my running clothes she asked what I was doing and I explained that I was going out for a run.  She freaked out and asked me to please use the treadmill in the fitness center. I agreed, but not without reservation.

The treadmill is a special kind of hell.  As if running wasn’t mind numbingly boring enough, and as if it isn’t frustrating enough to run miles and miles just to end up where you started, the treadmill gives you the experience of not going anywhere at all, with a bonus physics-bending situation wherein it feels like you are working harder to get less distance.

But since I had plenty of time going nowhere (not particularly) fast, I decided to try to think of good things about the treadmill.

  • I can run even when the sun is out and not get burnt to a crisp.
  • I don’t have to hold my iphone and ipod so I’m not dropping my iphone and ipod
  • I can easily indulge my obsession with checking pace and time since they are displayed in front of me instead of on an app on my phone.
  • There is way less street harassment. While I get the usual “how much weight have you lost” bs comments, nobody has ever thrown eggs at me, screamed “FUCK YOU FAT BITCH” out of their car, or tried to pray my fat away when I was on the treadmill.
  • There was a mirror in front of the treadmill and I was able to really focus on my stride.
  • I can watch some seriously questionable television (Outrageous 911 I’m looking at you.)

There’s a famous quote by Teddy Roosevelt – Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. There’s plenty of travel in my future (next month alone I’ll be in Cleveland, Austin, and Las Vegas) so I think it’s best if the treadmill and I just make friends.

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About Ragen Chastain

Hi, I’m Ragen Chastain. Speaker, Writer, Dancer, Choreographer, Marathoner, Soon to be Iron-distance triathlete, Activist, Fat Person.
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4 Responses to Traveling, Training, and Treadmills

  1. Marianne says:

    boy do I feel you on this one! Even if I’m not training for anything, I travel for work and it just is harder to keep on track with my exercise in general when I am. I like outside better than the treadmill, but I have to agree with your paranoid hotel desk gal…. Going running in a strange city at eleven at night just seems like kind of a bad idea. Aside from safety concerns (which it pisses me off to have to consider, but there it is) I live in fear of becoming lost in new cities, so I rarely run outside when I’m traveling. I find that with the treadmill I’m able to sort of get lost in my own head and in my music more, since I’m not having to focus on where I am, making sure I don’t get lost or run over. That’s kind of an upside.


  2. lsstrout says:

    I don’t know if it will help you, but perhaps you could ‘map’ the treadmill miles as a walk you are on in location you can’t really be at. I knew someone who kept track of her miles using the landscape in the Hobbit. You could do something similar either using a fantasy world, or just pick a part of our world that interests you.

    As always, good luck in your training!


  3. Pyctsi says:

    I’d say that one of the good points of a treadmill is that (unless it’s a poorly staffed one) you can put your headphones on and lose yourself in music if you want without having to worry so much about your surroundings. Much less chance of something happening that requires you to be fully aware of who is around you.


  4. ERF says:

    I personally prefer the treadmill. Here are my reasons!!

    1. Jogging or running outside, especially on days with a high pollen count, can seriously mess with my lungs. I don’t have asthma, but my allergies have caused me to finish an otherwise easy jog early because I started wheezing. I find I can breath easier, and therefore run longer and faster indoors without all those pesky allergens in the air.

    2. I can have a work out buddy, even if they are faster/slower than me, or have a different interval regimen. I find the time flies by and for whatever reason I have no problems having a conversation during the walk intervals and focusing during the jog intervals.

    3. I love obsessing about my pace and time, too!

    4. There’s a cup holder for my water/gatorade. All that talking makes me thirsty!

    5. Air Conditioning. Although this is bad if you are training for an outdoor event.

    6. I don’t get soaked if it starts raining, or frozen in the winter, or burnt to a crisp in the summer.

    7. Potty breaks are easier.


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