Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 28: Run Outdoors, Not on Treadmill

Megan: I want to go for a run, but it's soooo cold. But also I hate to waste electricity on the treadmill. Choices, choices.

Tony: The good thing about running indoors is that you don't need as much gear because it's a climate-controlled environment, so that saves money. Plus, we have a free gym through work, so there is no cost to go there.

Here's what happened to me this winter with the whole treadmill running issue. Since Dec 29, I was on a streak, running every day to see if I could do one month of daily running, and then hopefully to continue that as long as I could, just for fun. Well, we hit a cold snap in mid-January, so I moved to the treadmill for a few days when the high temp was in the teens and low 20s.

I find the treadmill to be boring, so I brought a book (see this posting about reading e-books). For four days, I used the treadmill - I was actually excited to have time to read my book uninterrupted, so I logged some serious treadmill miles. On day one, I ran 6 miles and noticed some blisters forming. On day two, I ran 4 miles, and noticed I was running different to compensate for the blisters. On day three, I ran 5 miles and I had a pain in my shin. On day four, I ran another 6 miles and was in complete pain in the shin and arch of my foot.

So much for the running streak. Went back to the road, and was fine in literally ONE DAY, after an 8-mile run. Go figure. I blame the treadmill for altering my gait.

Anyway, with respect to green issues, I am already annoyed with the treadmill for injuring me, so it is not too hard to rationalize against it for green reasons in addition to just being generally unhealthy. Every 30 minutes on the treadmill I was pumping out 2 pounds of CO2. So, at a 10-minute-mile pace, it took me 210 minutes to go those 21 miles, which is seven 30-minute blocks, which means I added roughly 14 pounds of carbon into the atmosphere. Shame, shame, shame.

With respect to Tony's issue of buying gear to run outdoors, he's right. I will agree that you need different gear if you run outdoors, no matter what season. In winter I wear running tights, long-sleeved shirts, different jackets, ear warmer head band thingie, and use a head lamp if it's dark. In summer I wear a visor and a singlet. In spring and fall I wear capri length tights. In all seasons I use a special handheld water bottle if I'm going more than 8 or 9 miles. None of this I would use indoors on a treadmill (I'd probably just wear a technical t-shirt and shorts).

The other bad thing about buying running gear is that you can't really buy it used. I mean, runners run and sweat in their gear. Buying a sweater from a thrift shop is one thing, but buying a pair of used running tights? Even if I could find the right size, I would be extremely hesitant to buy it. Ugh.

So here I am in Maryland, at a hotel, 1" of snow on the ground (and forecast for 6" more by evening), and I'm heading out to run. Wish me luck.

BTW, I will actually concede this point to Tony, and chalk it up as a pure 'win' for the planet column since I can't think of a way to make this a win-win.

Pocket: 4, Planet: 6, Win-Win: 18

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