Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Treadmills Suck, But I Still Want An Answer

The treadmill and I are not friends. It started when I fell off of the damn thing a couple of years ago. After that it was all downhill. In my opinion, the only advantage of a treadmill is that there is always a bathroom nearby so you don’t have to resort to using innocent parking lots or hollowed out trees as your canvas.[pooptree[4].png]

This is the actual tree I defiled. If you visit me, I will take you there.

I live in Colorado, no duh. I train outside throughout the winter. You can call me a BAMF if you want. It wouldn't be the first time I’ve been called names that included the "MF.” Fortunately, although we get a fair amount of snow it never sticks around for long and the air so dry that we don’t get layers upon layers of ice forming on the roads. The trails may be a different story, however. I tend to stick to the roads in the winter months. I use my Yak Trax when necessary.

That said, I heard something interesting today in the car.

A secret about me: I LOVE talk radio. I have an XM Radio and listen to it constantly (I drive a lot for work and sometimes I just drive around town to pretend I have somewhere to go). I listen to everything from Dr. Laura to Cocks with Patrick. I would listen to Howard Stern if I had Sirius. I don’t discriminate. 

Anyway, today on Oprah Radio (yes, I am admitting to that as well), Oprah’s fitness guru, Bob Greene, said that you should never run on a “flat” treadmill because that is the equivalent to going downhill on a real road. When the hell am I going to reach the point in my life where I know everything and nothing comes as a surprise? I guess I should have known this, but I didn’t. Did you?

This doesn’t really apply to me so much since I don’t dig treadmills, but if you use it as a major part of your race training, you might want to think about it. Then again, you probably already knew this.

Sometimes the things I don’t know I find out most people knew a long time ago. Like the fact that the word “asterisk” does not have an “x” in it and that jackalopes are not real.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTT?

Yes, three years ago on a trip to Jackson Hole (I said “hole”) we were in a gift shop and there were a plethora of fake/stuffed jackalopes around. I made some comment to Ken about having never seen one in the wild, and he was like, “Don’t f*ck with me. You are kidding me right? You don’t think they really exist do you? Maybe you should start a leprechaun support group.” Uhh, yeah, sure I was just kidding.

There is no way this little guy is fake

Back to the treadmill.   Did I tell you I once saw a jackalope doing a 49% incline on the treadmill? True story.

Do you always run with an incline on the ‘mill to simulate outdoor running?

What’s something you just learned that everyone else already knows?

Weirdest spot you’ve ever crapped?

SUAR

Don’t forget my Champion clothing giveaway. Ends Friday.

76 comments:

  1. I heard that about treadmills about a year ago so now I always run at 1% incline... stupid treadmills. I do use treadmills for all my "track" workouts though because I'm too lazy to drive to a track and I own a treadmill. Can't be lazy when all you have to do is walk 5 feet.

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  2. Heck no! I have a hard enough time staying on the treadmill at 0%.

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  3. I think the "incline" concept comparing a 1% incline on the dreadmill to outdoor running is to take into consideration the fact that when you're on the dreadmill, the "ground" is moving for you, whereas when you're running outdoors, you actually have to haul your carcass over a piece of ground that doesn't move for you. I don't entirely get it, but I never took physics. (Thank God for knowing fairly early on in high school that I wanted to be a Theatre major.)

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  4. I always set the dreadmill at 1. I was told it would simulate a flat road. But I actually loved that I could set the treadmill at a decline. I ran St. George which is downhill but had no long downhills to train on. I was so excited to find that the treadmill went to a -3% decline.

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  5. Do you always run with an incline on the ‘mill to simulate outdoor running?
    I read about the flat treadmill being downhill a couple of years ago so I always run at at least a 2 incline.

    What’s something you just learned that everyone else already knows?
    I can't think of anything right now, but that could be because I forget EVERYTHING!!

    I love that you crapped in a tree! I've never crapped anywhere weird, I have peed in lots of parking lots, roadsides and a playground (I was feeling feline).

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  6. Always run at a 1% or higher incline. I am jealous of Meg's decline treadmill. It's on my wishlist.

    I haven't pooped anywhere interesting, but I've peed in a paper cup a few times before races. It works GREAT when you are wearing a running skirt.

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  7. I find the treadmill a bit easier to run on. Maybe setting it at 1% will take that advantage away. I would choose to run outside, but sometimes I depend on the gym childcare when hubby isn't available. The kids are too young to be left alone, to big to push.

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  8. I hate the treadmill...

    When I first started running I used the treadmill but once I got a taste of what it's like to run OUTSIDE, I never looked back!

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  9. I had the same experience with jackalopes. I got called out on it a couple of years ago, and I was shocked. I still don't "get" why people are so obsessed with them when they're not real.

    At least I'm "book-smart", so I feel okay being a huge moron in everyday life.

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  10. Ken's reaction to your jackalope comment... omg... i am laughing so hard!

    I knew that about treadmills and inclines... but only because i read a lot of blogs and other bloggers talk about it a lot... at least lately anyway. Sort of like those Gotein giveaways.

    The weirdest place I've crapped? On a no longer in use helipad. If you come visit me, I show it to you... the helipad, not the poop... it's long since gone.

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  11. Yeah, I'd heard that about treadmills. I usually crank up to 1%. Sometimes I even go as high as 1.5...did I mention I HATE treadmill running?

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  12. i just wanted to say, your blog posts sure do brighten my days... thank you!

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  13. When I first started running on the treadmill I did NOT use the incline unless I was walking. Now I use the incline every time I run on it. I set it between 1-2%.

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  14. I have heard that about the dread mill. Only use it when its icy or blizzarding out. And I do a 1% incline or incline intervals when I am on the thing. Your jackalope comment brought up a vague memory of jackalope on TV in the 90's.... I might have to do some google research.

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  15. Treadmill: I was under the impression this was a Gawd-awful device used in therapy. People actually train on these things?

    Weirdest spot I've ever crapped is right next to a high school track in the middle of speed work. Luckily it was 5:00 AM and nobody else was around.

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  16. I usually run at a 2 - 3 for "everyday" running. I thought I knew that "flat" for a treadmill isn't the same as a "flat" distance on a road and since I rarely run anything that is flat, why would I do it on the mill? Plus for me mill running is physically easier so i want to make it a bit more challenging to make up for being a wuss and not going outside. Hey, sue me some nights I just don't wanna fight with the kids.

    As a runner is there really a weird place to crap?

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  17. I hate the treadmill but our apartment complex has a gym with two so I really have no "its too dark" excuse to avoid runs. I usually run at a 1-2% grade when I'm on the TM. I can't actually feel the difference when running but I'll take the word of all the "experts" out there...

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  18. I've heard that about treadmills before but I'm with you -- I hate the 'mill, and would much rather deal with the ice, cold, and snow. Plus, you're right: Colorado isn't too bad for winter running.

    Something I just learned? That jackalopes aren't real! Seriously. I mean, looking at that picture, I'm pretty sure I knew that...but I'm also pretty sure that I've called something out in the wild a jackalope and no one corrected me. WTF?!

    On that note, I had to inform a tourist in Steamboat once that moguls are not, in fact, made of plastic bubbles covered in snow, and no, we did not store them over the winter. I guess I provided that nice man with a brief "A-ha" moment similar to what I just experienced with the jackalope :)

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  19. I always run at 1% - there's a cool treadmill conversion chart for pace/incline out there if you search for it.

    I once crapped in a Wal-mart bag in my garage. Long story, but because of it I found out plastic bags are the way to go for outside crapping. No worry about pooping on yourself, easy clean-up. You don't even have to get into any weird load-dropping positions. Works like a charm.

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  20. I'm also in love with talk radio but don't have satellite so all I have airs in the morning on my way to work. After work it's all commercials and stupid songs so I listen to audio books at all times except the AM.

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  21. A friend told me about the incline thing a few months ago. Now when I train on the treadmill, I do the first half at 1% and vary the speed a lot, and the second one I run at what I think my pace should be, but vary the incline every minute or two between 1% and 4%. It gives me something to do, messing with the controls. I get bored, but if I try to watch TV, I get paranoid that I'm not paying attention to what I am doing.

    I also can't run outside with headphones. I get nervous and panicky that I am going to be run over.

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  22. I do run with an incline when running on a treadmill (checked with EMZ on this before I started) but still my outside runs suck in comparison to my treadmill runs.

    Jackalopes!!!

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  23. I once pooped in my pants, in Shopko. And I wasn't 4 years old, I was 20. I thought it was a fart but it was more like a fully loaded shart. I made my mom drive me home immediately. She then wanted me to tell my dad about my 'accident'. He thought I crashed the car because of that wording - I guess he was relieved to know that I had just soiled myself in a department store...

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  24. I don't really see why that makes since about the treadmill. How can flat equal downhill? I don't get it. But, no worries, I'm not a big treadmiller anyway. The things I never know that everyone else knows is how to pronounce things. Either I read more than I listen or I read more than I talk, i dunno, but at least my husband gets a chuckle every time i try out a new word.

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  25. I don't run on the treadmill much, but I do add a slight incline to accommodate. I still find it way "easier" (but not mentally) than running outside.... but don't tell EMZ I said that.

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  26. I crapped in the woods and a mountain biker rode right by and saw me. Oh well, I'll never see him again.

    Do you think that whole TM thing is TRUE though? I have heard that but I don't believe it. So many people think it feels harder to run on a treadmill than outside, so how can that be??

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  27. I love talk radio. I really love radical, crazy, insane opinion talk radio. LOVE.

    I never set the incline on a treadmill. I rarely use one anyway, but it sucks enough already. I don't need to make it worse.

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  28. Yep, known about the treadmill incline for a while. Always have it set at 1% for easy runs or recovery. I mostly like to vary the inlcine and incline to keep myself motivated to run on the treadmill. I love it for speed work and hill work because I control all the variables. It's necessary for me now with young kid's so I don't have an excuse not to get a run in but I prefer easy runs outdoors.

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  29. I had heard that before, and had always kept the treadmill at a 1-2% incline anyway. Why not add in a little bit of an incline to top it all off? Ha. But it does make sense..

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  30. I've been to that gift shop! My favorite was the squirrel in a gondola. I have heard similar things about treadmills, but they said to go to 1% to mimic the air resistance and to make up for the belt moving beneath you. Different explanation, same conclusion.

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  31. You always make me laugh! I did hear this about treadmills but I ignored it. Maybe I shouldn't? I don't care what anyone says, I love Oprah and I will admit it. I have been in a serious funk since she retired and I have nothing to talk about since all my conversations started with "so I was watching Oprah..."

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  32. 1. I run at a 0.5% as per my coach's directions.

    2. When we first got to Cali in 1999, I called the suburb of "La Jolla" just like it's spelled. My husband was all, "Are you serious? It's La H-o-y-a." I'm such a dumbass!

    3. I crapped under a tree in a random date farm last year.

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  33. I heard Bob Greene say that on her show (yeah, yeah). Our treadmill (c. 2002) does not go below a 1.5 incline so it was irrelevant to me (a slow, 5K-ish runner) but turns out, that's not always good. I have bursitis in my hips. Do you know how your hips feel when all of your training was (essentially) uphill (on a treadmill) and you run downhill? NOT GOOD, that's how. Screw Bob Greene. I want a downhill function on my stupid 'mill.

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  34. PATOM People Against Treading On Mills.

    I would like to go snipe hunting with you sometime.

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  35. I've heard the treadmill thing- I don't really care. I just ask myself if it feels like I'm running hard or not and adjust speed and/or incline accordingly.

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  36. I am OBSESSED with Cosmo radio especially Cocks with P. AMAZING!

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  37. I am a huge treadmill runner. This bummed me out majorly. I don't fully get it. Whenever I have it set at anything upwards of flat, I have a hard time and it is WAY harder than running outside. Maybe because of the mental aspect of running inside is just way harder. I have been close to putting a level on the thing to make sure it is flat. Apparently that is a no no. I knew about the wind resistance, (not nearly as big as the difference between the bike trainer and outside, though), and thought you had to be doing something upwards of 10 miles/hour for it to make a difference. Maybe I am just wrong. All I know is that for my last marathon, I trained during the weekday on the treadmill, using it for midweek short andlongish runs, mostly at slowest possible BQ pace, as well as for speedwork, and then did my really long runs outside in blizzards. I run on a lot of hills, and push a 90lb stroller a few times a week when I am outside, and to be quite honest, my avg outside is usually better than my avg inside, on my super flat flat leveled downhill treadmill. Take that incline. Some people run faster inside, some outside. I am one of those outside people and if I need my treadmill set at downhill to stay on there long enough to get my miles, that is what I am going to do.

    Ryan told me something the other day that was new and he was like, what kind of idiot are you that doesn't know that? I am the kind of idiot that already forgot this thing. I think it had something to do with the lawnmower, which is totally foreign to me from having a brother to do it while I lived with my parents, and then living in a condo until just recently

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  38. I only have a comment for #3.
    Isn't every bush and roadside the weirdest place? Ask any non-runner, I'm sure they'd agree. or the fact that I often go weeks without ever crapping in an actual toilet?
    This morning after my second crap (in only 10k) I realized that I rely on running to keep me regular.

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  39. moving from Phx to Flagstaff, went in the back of the Ryder truck and unloaded in the kitty box. Left it for end of the week clean out.

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  40. I've learned to love my treadmill. I run between 4-6 am, it's DARK, and I live in a rural country area with terrible roads and no sidewalks. My treadmill is the safest place for me to be. I trained for my 1/2 on it and now for a full in January. I try to schedule an occasional road run for my long run on weekends.

    I DO set it at 1% and have been thinking about moving it to 2%. Can remember where I read this, but it's been around for awhile.

    Never have pooped anywhere other than a toilet (sheltered, I know), but there have been a few close calls when I wasn't sure I was gonna make it (thank God for McDonald's - but that's the only thing they are good for in my book!) :)

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  41. I had heard about the 1% thing. I rarely go treadmill - $16 a pop for a casual visit at the gym! WTF? I think I'll run in the rain, thank you. Actually we have pretty nice weather here in Oz - no snow, no excuses.

    One of the joys of suffering constipation is you rarely have to poop in weird spots. But I have pulled the car over for hubby and the kids. The worst was someone's front drive (it was rural and behind a bush), but they were in for rude shock next time they closed their gate...

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  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  43. i think i read that you were supposed to run on them at a 1% incline. i think it was in runner's world so i usually do that when forced to run on the damn things.

    also, this jackson hole place must be the hot spot cause your like the 5th person to speak of it. and i live in florida so i'm no where near it.

    i thought kenny loggins was saying "hide away to the danger zone" and my sis told me it was "highway to the danger zone" whatever. it's in top gun so that alone should allow you to sing it however you wish.

    had to delete my first comment cause i had the song lyrics backward. lol damn you kenny loggins!!

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  44. You may like this little chart:
    http://www.hillrunner.com/training/tmillchart.php

    :)

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  45. My mom got us a stuffed jackalope head as a joke and I need both hands to count the number of people who thought jackalopes really exist.

    I didn't know about the treadmill thing but I keep mine set on 3-5 out of 10 because there's very little flat earth where I live.

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  46. I try to believe that treadmills don't exist, since I don't run well enough to run on one. Let's just say I had a couple of close calls. Both treadmill and poop. I'd much rather run outside year round.

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  47. I try to remember to set the treadmill to a 1% incline, but I try to avoid the treadmill except for short runs and the occasional speed work because it was the treadmill that effed up my hip a while back.

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  48. Yup, knew that for years. I LOVE my treadmill. I use 1% as the default (I've seen suggestions from 0.5-1.5, but mine only goes by whole %). 1% to walk for warmup, 0% to cool down. One of the interval DVDs I do (Coach Troy) tells you which incline to use for each rep which is nice. I've also read lately that very short reps of 8-12 seconds at 6-8% incline (you start with 1 rep and build up to a few a week then make them a little harder) is a really good way to strengthen your legs, I've done one of these on a a few runs, and I think I will do more - after my next race. I'd love a mill that declines to train for downhills, but there are only a couple and I decided to go with the one I have b/c it's really solid and durable - $ but I love it.

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  49. The people who say you should set the treadmill to 1% are stupid stupid stupid. Of course it's easier to run inside; There is no wind resistance and the belt is moving even when you're in the air(when you would naturally slow down a tiny bit outside). So, you get to run a little faster. ISN'T THAT THE POINT OF TRAINING? TO GET USED TO RUNNING FASTER? You learn to have a higher turnover/cadence, which is A GOOD THING. Of course you can't maintain the same speed on the road, but after the treadmill your road pace will feel slow, which is GOOD. Just set the 'mill at a higher pace than your normal outside pace. Good to go.

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  50. I knew that about the treadmill but I still don't do it. I only do short runs on it, so like running down a really big hill.
    I recently realized that "autobots" from transformers were named that because they turn into cars, like automobiles. I know, shocking.
    Not touching the last question but really because I haven't had the privileged to crap anywhere exciting.

    The Kidless Kronicles

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  51. As if running on the treadmill isn't tedious enough, now I have to add to the torture and add an incline?! Man, I may just *have* to nut up and run outside in the cold and rain. Probably be less painful.

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  52. i always run with it at least at 1%... I used to be able to run for hours on the mill, but now my body is just not happy with it. i much prefer the outdoors!

    i've been listening to jillian's podcast if that makes you feel any better

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  53. hhaa, this post is hilarious!!! lmbo! so yes, always run @ a 1%. then i try to run in my hilly arse neighborhood and want to die.

    and yes, moved to this wooded little subdivision and call my friend all excited: OMG< there is this freaky squirrel looking thing outside. looks like he has a tail of a fox or something?!?!?! she's like, um yeah, that's a FOX SQUIRREL!!!!! (duh.) told my hubby and he's like, yeah i see them EVERY morning. i'd lived there over a year and only seen ONE. felt like a total moron. hhaaaa. i think fox squirrels and jackalopes are BFF's!!!

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  54. I know that on the Biggest Loser they always make the contestants put their treadmills at an incline, but I was never sure why. They also don't let them put their hands on the rails.

    I like the treadmill for shorter runs because I can control exactly how fast I'm going. I could never do a longer run on a treadmill. I think I would lose my mind.

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  55. So, if the TM has the ability to do .5%, I generally do that. Reason being is that for extended periods of time the 1% actually bugs my achilles. It's weird. It's not that I get tired, it just starts feeling weird in the heel/ankle area. If only does whole percent, then I do 1% but will switch to 0% for a bit just to give my achilles a break.

    Weirdest crap place? When I was 13, in Italy on some mountain trail, I had to find a small rock cave since the trail was kind of exposed. I don't think I've pooped in-the-wild since then.

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  56. hi there.. you have a wonderful site.. i love reading your posts.. keep posting..

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  57. Apparently I am slow because I never heard about the incline for the TM.

    Thanks for sharing for us slow folks and not assuming we know it all!

    Now I'm more informed.

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  58. Learned my lesson on the 'mill for my first half marathon - trained on it all winter and sucked wind on the flat-ish street route for the race. One of my friends said "duh, you have to train at least a .5% incline to simulate streets." Check! Here in Nebraska, we get about 40 feet of snow that lasts all winter...me + treadmill = love.

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  59. 1) Yes- .5%-1%, depending on how much give the treadmill seems to have. I always wondered why my IT bands went crazy after a TM run and when I learned about needing to add a small incline, it all made sense.

    2) I was surprised to learn 2 of the 3 Hansons were, in fact, boys. And those chicks seemed SO COOL...

    3) Only had to go in the woods once on an overnight hiking and climbing trip. Otherwise, I pop immodium before a race. Don't wanna risk anything!

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  60. Hate the f*cking treadmill...but when I do use it (like, once a year) I have it on at 1 - 1.5 % incline. Unless it's the one in my basement, which is a piece of sh*t and is always at an incline/won't do 0% incline.

    I bought trailrunners for last winter, but maybe the Yaktraks would be a better investment...

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  61. I am headed your way and I do want to tour "your tree". Good information about treadmills and I like talk radio too.
    Do you do consultions and help beginning runners?

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  62. Peg, absolutely. Shoot me an email at beth@shutupandrun.net

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  63. I laways run on the tm with at least a 1% incline. I don't think that 0 inclide is like running down hill though.

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  64. I wish we had trees here that could potentially be defiled...palo verde trees give no cover...

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  65. When I have to use the damn thing -- I set it to fluctuate between 2% to 8%. I have yet to run at 0%.

    I am outdoors 98% of the time - so it really doesnt apply to me either.

    I would rather not mention the places that I have defiled. I am sure that they are still looking for me.

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  66. I'm so glad to hear that winter running in colorado isn't bad. I just started running this year and currently live in california. But in December we're moving to the springs. So nervous to run in that cold weather!

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  67. yes, i did know that about tm's and always run with at least 1% incline.
    did you know that 6% targets the glutes? yup :D

    i did not know that donuts were deep fried-thought they were baked like cakes until i started learning about nutrition losing weight.

    no strange crap stories but i have peed just about anywhere and everywhere.

    booking my flight to CO to get a tree tour.

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  68. I've always heard 1% incline to try to simulate the outdoors, but imho, that's stupid. You never stay at a certain percent grade outdoors. As long as you hardly ever run on it, I don't see that it makes a difference flat or not.

    I love Stern.

    Pooped outside in the snow once on a run. My dog attempted to eat it. Disgusting.

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  69. I invented treadmills and married a jackalope so...

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/52192/saturday-night-live-penelope-therapy

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  70. I used to love treadmills before I started running outside. Now I rather not be close to a treadmill ever. I heard before that you should run at an incline (0.5-1%) on a treadmill to simulate outdoor running.

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  71. There may be absolutely no scientific data to support putting the treadmill on an incline.

    In the last week I have heard trainers say 1%, 2% AND 3%. The statement goes something like, "Never run on a treadmill unless it is at least at ___%"

    I actually believe it is the personal trainers way of encouraging us to get outside and run.

    I did the treadmill for many years - I have ventured outside now more often and have seen the improvement. Who knows, the trainers may be know what they are talking about.

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  72. 1% incline on all my treadmill runs which I can count on one hand from this year. F that stupid thing.

    It's only good for hanging clothes from and my Dad taught that so it has to be true unlike the Jackelope.

    Love the leprechaun reference as well.

    Weirdest place I've ever crapped? The toilet. Who craps there....its all supposed to be outside in the wild right?

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  73. When my achilles were really inflamed post 50 mile failure, I set up my treadmill to be downhill (2x6's under the back feet). It helped a ton because I could still get in good cardio running time but not stress my injury. I also believe that it helped to strengthen my quads a good amount, which is awesome now that I'm into the bulk of ultra season and doing most of my running downhill and just hiking uphill.
    (me me me, but that's really all I have to add.)

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  74. A. I always run on a 2% incline, and I live in fear of falling off the back of the thing. I hang on like a mofo.

    B. I recently learned, in a public conversation, that the song was "Hang On, Sloopy" and not "Hang On, Snoopy." For some reason, I was very embarrassed. Everyone at the table looked at me like I was possessed or something.

    C. Having completed survival training and being properly trained in the art of digging catholes, I can assure you- I have done my business in some odd places. But I bet some Keebler elves were really mad that you defecated in their tree.

    I love this blog. I shall be back.

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