Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Indoor vs. outdoor running.

In the past, I considered myself sort of a running purist. Purist, in that my first choice in running outdoors, rather than on a treadmill. Running outside in New England year-round obviously requires the right running gear. I have various singlets, shorts, sunglasses and hats to keep me cool and protect me from the sun. I also have cold running gear needed for running in the winter months of the Northeast - hats, gloves, warm running pants, and even a head lamp to wear for morning or evening runs!

While I continue to thrive on running outdoors in 55+ degree weather, my outdoor winter running has dissipated over the years. I would say close to 95% of my winter running is now indoors, on a treadmill. For example, while training for the 2006 Disney Marathon, I did a 20+ mile run on the treadmill! The convenience and time saved by running in my home, or during my lunch hour at work, now supersedes my desire to be a running purist.

You see, this time of year, Runners World magazine is filled with suggestions for winter running. The articles on running during winter usually contain a photo of a runner "frolicking" through a winter wonderland with powder-like snow sparkling on the ground and in the trees. I used to have that rose-colored view of running outdoors in the winter. That perspective has changed.

The reality: cold wind, slippery sidewalks and streets, and grayish colored snow from car exhausts!

Believe me, if I lived in the Vermont countryside or in a Colorado winter setting, I would probably enjoy many runs in the winter. For now, though, running on our treadmill in my unfinished basement with the simple comforts of TV or loud music serves me just fine.

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