Treadmill Triage

I have to replace my treadmill.

Well, I don’t have to replace it. It no longer functions properly so I’m faced with many choices.

  1. Buy a new one.
    This seems wasteful, but I have had my current one for many years. I hope to get a slight amount of money in trade, and I also have gift cards saved up that I can use to defray the cost.
  2. Repair the current one.
    I thought this was going to be my option until I discovered that it would be 2/3 of the cost of a new one.
  3. Get rid of it and get a gym membership instead.
    I looked at this option briefly, but it really doesn’t work for me. I like the privacy of working out at home, as well as the convenience. It’s one fewer barrier to getting up and going. My spouse also works out at odd times, so it’s less likely he’d use it if he had to go to a gym. Also, one year’s YMCA membership for the two of us = the cost of one treadmill.
  4. Get rid of it.
    It’s not money I’d like to spend, so maybe I could just dump it? It takes up a lot of space and is really difficult to move. However, I can’t accomplish my running goals without it. Not with the winter weather we get up here.
  5. Leave it to collect dust in my basement.
    This is what I’d like to do, because I don’t like spending money, scheduling delivery times, or basically doing things that require effort. Any of the previous 4 options will require me to spend money and time I don’t want to, as well as deal with donating my broken-down Grand Am that’s been sitting in my garage since April. (The tuck-under garage is the easiest way to get a treadmill in/out of the house.) Actually I’d like to keep using it indefinitely in my basement in its broken state (it still works if I give it a manual push start), but that will eventually burn the house down, based on the smell of the motor if I run it too long. (I am aware this is wildly unsafe.)

So I’m buying a new one. I’m fortunate that I can, even though I probably should not. I wish I did not need a treadmill, but at the same time, I am very proud that I have gotten a lot of use out of it. I didn’t buy it on an impulse and then never use it again. It may have gone through several periods of disuse, but those periods of disuse didn’t cost me money, like a gym membership would have. I got in a couple hundred workouts I never would have if I didn’t have the treadmill. My spouse started working out and ran his first 5K, which he wouldn’t have done without the privacy and flexibility of an in-home treadmill. I’ve concluded it was worth it, and worth replacing.

(More justification on owning a treadmill here!)

Owning A Treadmill

I think the high today yesterday (forgot I wrote this late and scheduled it for the morning) was 0, but that’s a bit optimistic. Since I don’t have proper gear for running in really, really cold temps, and didn’t feel like improvising and trying to shuffle along in the bitterness, I reluctantly clomped down into the basement to run a couple slow miles on the treadmill.

I hate the treadmill so much. I just hate it. I hate that a slower pace for on the treadmill is harder for me than a longer run on pavement/trails. I ran a 13:30 average pace for 4.6 miles yesterday, and a 14:37 pace (with a little incline) for 2 miles on the treadmill today, and I was huffing and puffing the whole time on the treadmill while I felt great yesterday even with some little hills thrown in. There must be some kind of scientific reason for this, but that’s not the point of the post.

Even though I dread running on the treadmill, I’m glad I have it. I think owning a treadmill is a great decision for runners who can afford it and have space for it. This isn’t ground-breaking for most runners, I know, but for slow folk like me, or sporadic runners, also like me, it’s still a good idea. Even for folks who have had trouble committing to running (like me), it’s still a good idea.

It’s the same cost whether there’s one runner in a household or many, unlike a gym membership.

It will eventually become more cost-effective than a gym membership. It’s a lot of money up front, but that’s it. There aren’t joiner’s fees or contracts or recurring fees. Even after a lapse of months or years, there are no fees or hassles to jump back on the treadmill.

It’s there in cold weather or hot weather, when it’s icy or there’s rain, or when it’s Grandma’s Marathon weekend and I don’t want any actual talented runners watching me run.

I can wear dirty workout clothes, fart while running, blow my nose, or watch terrible movies and TV shows.

It’s there to walk on, on days I can’t fathom doing any other kind of workout.

I don’t miss “appointment television,” like hockey games. I’ve even lugged my laptop down to the basement to listen to a UMD women’s hockey game. I can scream at the TV (or stream) without disturbing other people.

So, bottom line, I love having a treadmill, even if I don’t love using it, and I try not to let its presence make me feel guilty or reproached if I let it get a little dusty.