the gym vs. the great outdoors

I love my gym. Lovelovelove it. I have a membership at 24 Hour Fitness, and it’s been a totally worthwhile investment. Getting a gym membership convinced me to get healthy, and I’ve been working out on a regular basis since I got that membership three years ago.

When I began running about two years ago, the treadmills at the gym were a godsend. I was just self-conscious enough that I wasn’t ready to run outside, and always having those treadmills available pushed me to run until I was confident enough to run outside. It’s also invaluable on days when the weather is too cold, snowy/icy, or hot to run outside. Plus, since I am terrible with pace, it’s fantastic to be able to use the treadmill for speedwork.

However, I have to admit that going to the gym can be a struggle sometimes. Driving to and from the gym adds an extra 20 or 30 minutes to my workout, and the physical act of going to a different location can be a psychological challenge at times.

Running outside is so refreshing some days. When the weather is cooperating, it just feels so good. It provides a little extra resistance that I don’t get on the treadmill (from the wind plus the lack of a moving belt) and trains my legs to run on roads, which is what I usually encounter in my races.

Running outside has one other significant advantage. Some days, like today, I just don’t feel like going to the gym. It’s a struggle to get out of bed, and the idea of dragging myself to the gym just feels impossible.  But when the gym feels impossible, often I can convince myself to run outdoors. Not only that, sometimes the outdoors sounds downright appealing!

I am infinitely thankful for the incredible outdoors, for all the wildlife I see (birds, squirrels, and insects), for my home in a safe city, for my friendly neighbors, and for the opportunity to enjoy it all while I run!