Tag Archives: gym

Treadmill Vs Running Outside

22 Jun

I have finally bitten the bullet today and rejoined a gym! I really thought I could get through winter and not have to do it but I had a bit of an experience a week or two ago that made me rethink. I was running around the lake near where I live at 6am and a guy appeared in front of me. It kind of threw me a bit. He laughed and said some words in a language I didn’t understand, and I just kept on running.

It made me think. What if he hadn’t been as passive? and what if he had been with other guys? I got home a little bit shaken and took stock of it all, and decided that I wouldn’t run outside in the dark alone again. Need some tips on safety – read one of my previous posts all about it.

My issue is that during the week I have no-one to run with as my friends are dotted all over the place – weekends are not a drama, but weekdays are an issue. So I joined a gym! I’m quite excited to be going back for a while – it will be nice to be in the warm 🙂

Before I committed to join my gym I sat and really thought about the benefits of both the treadmill and running outside to weigh up whether I would use the gym. I decided in the end that I would likely use both – gym during the week and outside on the weekend. My notes that I wrote for myself are below for anyone wondering what the benefits of both are.


Benefits of running on the treadmill and running outside

Running on the treadmill

Great for speed sessions

Treadmills are really good for when you have specific training requirements – i..e if you are running a speed session and need to do x km per hour. You can literally program the treadmill for whatever speed you need to run at, and away you go which is very handy when working to a specific program with specific speed training requirements.

All weather training 

The treadmill is a great alternative when the weather isn’t going in your favour. Whether it is torrential rain outside or a heatwave – it really doesn’t matter if you are running on a treadmill inside.

Great for the solo runner 

If the only time that you can train is early in the morning or last thing at night, and it is dark – running on a treadmill is a great way to ensure that you don’t put yourself at risk by running alone in the dark. You can run at any time of the day on the treadmill without having to be conscious of where you run and keeping safe.

Better when you have an injury

The treadmill can be better if you have an injury than running outside, as you will have a consistent flat surface to run on, whereas outside the surface on which you are running may not be as even, the pavement may be harder which could worsen your injury. Although on the flip side it is good to ensure that your sessions on the treadmill are mixed up to ensure you don’t fall prey to injury from just pounding away on the treadmill session after session.


Running Outside 

Change of scenery and route 

Running on the treadmill can be very boring, seeing the same view time after time and not physically getting anywhere. Running outside is great therefore for alleviating boredom and mixing things up with your running routes, enabling you to change your routes, add hills and variation to your terrain i.e. roads, trails.

Save money 

The biggest advantage of running outside compared to inside on a treadmill is that unless you own your own treadmill it means that you save money on hefty gym membership fees. You can literally put on your running gear, step outside the door and go!

More realistic training conditions for a race 

The treadmill can often seem easier than running outside, and if you are training for something in particular it can often be better to run outside to get used to the conditions that you will be running in rather than running on a treadmill where it isn’t always an accurate reflection of true racing conditions.




A bitter taste in my mouth from my gym

4 Mar

Happy Monday everyone. Three posts in three days! That’s pretty good or me. I need to have a rant today which is why I am posting..

I have been feeling a bit unfit lately due to not being able to train as hard as I like and as much as I like due to a few health issues and so this morning I called my gym thinking if I book in for them to just do me a simple program it will help me get back on track…..the response I got was that it probably came under PT and I may have to pay for it and that I couldn’t book over the phone I had to go in. Having an assessment at the gym has always been something that has always been a bog standard part of the service at gyms I have been in – and I have been going to gyms since I was 18 (quite a while then and quite a few different gyms….). I didn’t want someone to push me I just wanted someone to ask me what my goals are and to just suggest a couple of machines that would be suitable.

I got off the phone feeling really flat, fat and not happy – so I did what any girl would do – I called my friend and moaned at her, she also happens to be a personal trainer – a pretty awesome one too and my solution is  now sorted – she is going to write me a program instead which is great for me but leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth over my gym. I kind of thought that the gym was about empowering people, service and lifting them up rather than money and protocol. So regardless of whether they now turn around and offer me a free program

….thanks but no thanks.

Am I over reacting?

It’s that time again: does the fan go on or off at the gym!

28 May

I love my gym. It gives me great pleasure to train there except when it’s boiling hot as there is no air conditioning, just fans, and when it is winter in Brisbane and it’s cold.

Oscillating Fan

I train my butt off at the gym especially on the treadmill when I don’t want to run outside, but the issue I face and the girls that I train with is often when we are running inside in winter and we are working hard and sweating, we put the fan on much to the annoyance of the people that think going to the gym involves sitting on a bike and reading a magazine and not raising much of a sweat hence they don’t really warm up and give death stares when anyone goes near the fans.

I had one of those moments the other day as I was running for the first time in a couple of weeks after being sick and went to put the fan on to discover it wasn’t working. I went to one of the guys on the desk who came over and said someone had had it switched off at the mains, he then switched it on for me and the guy in question didn’t look too happy and said I shouldn’t work so hard – in a nice way of course.

I am finding I now have an aversion to the fan. Everytime I think about switching it on I look over at who else is training and whether they are training hard, if so I will go and switch it on, but if not I just suck it up as I don’t like to upset people and I end up finishing my training early because I am too warm. Am I being crazy? I mean when I sweat I get really hot – and there are only so many clothes I can remove without getting in trouble!

Maybe I should stick to training outside!

Keep running even when you think you aren’t getting anywhere…

19 Nov

Haven’t written in a while as have been adjusting to a life as a lady of leisure after finishing my job. I decided to put a positive spin on things and have been at the gym or running every day this week and it’s been great. My rest day will be Sunday for anyone wondering if I am going to rest!

I never thought I would be a real gym bunny but I have enjoyed the classes this week. I have done Body Balance, Body Attack, Body Step and Body Pump – clearly a Les Mills fan!

Anyway I just had a quick look at my Garmin Connect account as I have been feeling a bit despondent with my running this week but you know what I didn’t realise but I have improved my average pace time vastly in the last 6 months and I didn’t even realise it until looking at the stats – the watch doesn’t lie (I sometimes wish it did!).  But according to my Garmin my average min/km pace at the beginning of June when I got the watch was 6.30 min/km and now it is 5.41 min/km on average! Thats almost a whole minute faster per km in 6 months! and the last race I did which was the Cool Night Classic in the city my quickest km was 4.37 min/km which is really good for me!!

So if you are feeling a bit fed up with your running at the moment and feeling that you are not getting anywhere – you probably are wrong! If you are a consistent runner and have been running a couple of times a week for a while you may not realise it but you are probably much faster than you were to begin with.

Tips for motivation

1. Repetition

Do a race that you did this year next year and see how your times compare – you might be pleasantly surprised. I plan to do at least the Townsville and possible the Gold Coast Half Marathon’s again as I would like to have a crack at improving my time to prove to myself that all these early mornings, hill sessions, p90x and speed sessions have helped!

2. Challenges

If you use a watch like the Garmin 405 cx or a Nike Plus (although see my notes on Nike Plus in a previous post) – set yourself challenges and compare and see how you improve. I’ve set myself a couple of different challenges on my watch such as times for distances and also improving distance over  a month period in order to motivate myself. The Nike Plus has some good challenge options. But if you don’t have either of these kinds of devices you could just do it manually – set up a running log and record times and distances.

3. Train with friends

If you find training alone is hard work then train with friends and work towards some sort of challenge be it a race or just times together – motivate one another to keep going and to improve. When I first started running 10 years ago I trained with a friend at work and we pushed one another and she actually got me into the running circuit and I never looked back – I was hooked!

4. Rest up

For those over-trainers out there have a rest. I found when I had a week off a few months ago when I was tired that when I came back to training I came back with a vengeance and was faster than before. I was sluggish before and couldn’t be bothered to train, so I decided no – I am going to have a week off and not train and it did me the world of good, and towards the end of the week I was dying to get back to training and my motivation had returned!

Hope these tips help. If you have any – please share!

Have a great weekend!

self consciousness

7 Oct

Tonight I went to the gym for my usual speed session on the way home from work. I decided I would switch and do a longer run on the treadmill and do my speed work another day. I always feel a bit self conscious running at the gym as now it is getting warmer I find I get hot easily as I am used to running outside and the gym has no AC – yuk. So I end up running in my crop bra top and my shorts.

I was on the treadmill tonight and there was a woman that got on the treadmill behind me to the right and she proceeded to eyeball me and continually look me over. I’d love to have known what the big fascination was. I mean I was running fast and the only thing I can conclude is she was wondering how a not so skinny person was managing to run so fast!

I guess thats the great thing about running, it isn’t always the really thin people that are strong runners. I’ve been overtaken by women twice my size in races not to mention superman and wonderwoman in the London Marathon!

Don’t let your size put you off running, I certainly don’t! but to the woman on the treadmill behind me tonight come up and say hello next time rather than staring at me!

Get down and get sweaty

22 Jul

So I work in an office full of guys, and earlier this week we got onto the subject of golf clubs and gyms. I used to work for a company in the UK that had me organise a golf day for the company each year. One particular year it was booked for the Little Aston Golf Club in the West Midlands and I couldn’t believe it but this club had separate male and female entrances. I told the guys how awful it was as a woman to feel you were not allowed to go through the main entrance, but instead had to go through a small side entrance.

Female only gyms vs. mixed gyms

We then moved onto the subject of female only gyms, and the guys said that they felt it wasn’t fair. I said to them that I actually prefer going to mixed gyms because it makes you work harder. I figure going to a female only gym makes you feel comfortable and perhaps relaxed and therefore not quite as determined and prepared to push myself.

I am sure there are those of you out there that disagree and I think it often depends on the gym you go to too.

I’ve been a member of gyms where the guys sound like they are about to self combust or have a serious constipation issue when they are lifting their weights….

And those that have the guys that see a woman on the treadmill and instantly race over next to them, look at what speed they are running and go faster in an attempt to be seen as a fit male…

I could go on….although women in gyms can be just as bad.

I’ve been in gyms where women are in the changing rooms applying full makeup before going out to wear it all off in the gym….

And those that go to the classes purely to check out the hot instructor and flock round him at the beginning and end of the class like a flock of seagulls…

Recognise any of these people?

My thinking is, I go to the gym to sweat and if I haven’t sweated like a complete pig – then I can’t have worked hard enough.

It makes me laugh the people that sit on the exercise bike whilst reading a magazine – if you have enough energy left to concentrate on reading your magazine then you aren’t working hard enough!!!

Sorry if I have offended anyone but that’s the way I see it.

To me, to exercise is to:

  • train to be fit
  • for fun (a certain amount of it)
  • to lose weight
  • and to generally improve your quality of living.

Who cares?

Who cares about the guy next to you trying to compete – chances are he will last 5 minutes and drop off, and who cares about the girl with her makeup now running down her face or the hottie instructor – sure he’s hot but he has worked damn hard to look that good – he should inspire you not distract you.

I love my mixed gym. The people are supportive and friendly. I am sure we have a number of people that fit into the groups I have described, but I make it my business not to notice. I’m there to train and to sweat.

Get in the gym or outside, be bold, be confident, enjoy it and keep going!

Got an opinion, disagree with me? Share it here…

How do you start running?

1 Jul

I am very excited as one of my very good friends who has always been a ‘non’ runner asked me for some tips on how she should start. How far, how much and generally just HOW.

I am not a trainer, I haven’t spent years at college learning about these things, but the only advice I can give her is by telling her how I started and that was a long time ago.

I was rather bigger than I am now and one of the girls that I worked with at the time invited me to run a 5k run to get us fit. 5k seemed like a huge distance to me who had never really wanted to step near a treadmill for any long period of time but I took her up on her offer, never being one to shy away from a challenge…I remember the first time we ran – it was for two miles and I almost threw up a lung when we finished. I am thinking we must have been running maybe 14 minute miles  back then and it felt like I had raced Linford Christie! But I persevered and carried on and followed a 5k training plan to get ready for the race. Well I remember the race day I felt like I was carrying the world around my stomach but I finished – I was compltely unprepared for what I felt crossing the finish line – complete elation! I found that running improved my mood and made me generally feel a happier person too.

After I did the 5k, we then decided to train for a 10k, then that turned into a half marathon and then for me it was the challenge of the full marathon. 20kg lighter and still running today I can look back and say it was the best thing I ever did. I found something I love and am relatively good at in the sense, the only person I challenge is myself and I can do it anywhere be it in a gym or outside.

So the suggestions I will be giving my friend about how to start running, how often and HOW are:

Prepare – first things first, make sure you have a decent pair of trainers. I am not encouraging you to go out and spend loads of money but running is quite harsh on the joints and I have had my fair share of injuries. I went into Nike and bought the prettiest looking shoes I could find and then found that they were  not at all suitable and struggled with blisters and rubbing all over my foot. Kit wise, something comfortable – I  run in running tights as I am not blessed with thin thighs and they rub together but I see other runners that are very happy in a tiny pair of shorts so it depends on what you are comfortable in.

Also, remember I am not a trainer – I am just giving advice based on what I did – so please ensure you consult a doctor or trainer before you start running if you have any medical conditions.

Location – Decide where you are able to run, are you planning on running outside or do you have a gym membership?  I used to run mainly outside, then went for the gym option and now do a mixture of both.

How far and how much – Start small, and just go by time. I still do this now. So many people are fixated on distance but I figure if I could run for 3 hours in a training run then that was fine – it didn’t matter to me whether that was 18 miles or 22 miles – time on legs is what my training friend back in the UK drummed into me. Maybe a 15 minute session, building up to 30 mins is a good start or just as far as you can do without being completely puffed out, this is where your training plans and trainers at the gym will be able to help. How much, well how long is a piece of string, depends on you and how much you want to do. A couple of times a week and then incorporating other exercise too to balance your training out – again – ask at your gym or use a training plan.

Follow a plan to help you see progress – the great thing about runing is you will see progress. You will find that running a km initially is the hardest thing you have done but a few weeks down the line you will be able to look back and see how far you have come.

If you haven’t run before you may need to start very slowly and start by walking and then work up to running for a while and walking for  a while each time you train to build up to be able to run without stopping. I know a few of my friends that started that way. Don’t go crazy if you haven’t run before!

Persevere – keep going. Everyone has bad days and when I was first running I found it so hard (I still do often) I wanted to quit many times. But it is so worth it and on those days when you feel great it makes you appreciate that sometimes you might have a bad day but you are able to pick yourself back up and do better next time.

Please see some websites that have beginners training programs which may be of assistance:

About.com running training plans


Runners World