I don't consider myself a running snob. I don't tsk-tsk at people wearing headphones during runs or even races (though I don't do it, myself), and I certainly don't turn my nose up at people struck by some crazy running fad (compression socks and kinesio tape, anyone?).
But I've always been down on treadmills.
It's not just because I've lived most of my life in California, where the weather doesn't get frigid enough to be forced inside by poor conditions. (I lived in upstate New York, and ran during blizzards and with three feet of snow accumulated.)
The reason, I think, is that 've always considered running an outdoor actvity where you commune with (or swear at) the elements -- yes, even if you're running on paved roads. It's that feeling of going someplace, not merely trudging like a hamster on a wheel without even a wedge of cheese to keep you going.
That's why I had to nod knowingly when the Washington Post asked Joan Benoit Samuelson (still the queen of American distance runners, in my book) about treadmills. Joan said:
You're asking the wrong person. I love to run because I love to be outside in a natural environment.
Feel free to argue with me, but there's no excuse -- even on a day like today, when it's raining hard in Sacramento -- to choose the treadmill over the open road. I will make exceptions say, if you're traveling in an unfamiliar city and it's night and you forgot your head lamp.
I know several elite runners who use the treadmill for hill workouts and even tempo runs. Yeah, it's relatively flat in Sacramento, but why not drive to Folsom/Auburn to the east or Winters/Vacaville to the south West and do hill work there?
OK, now it's your turn. Tell me why you opt for the treadmill, how often you use it compared to outdoor training and why you like it.