Dread This: An Open Letter To Runners From Your Treadmill


This little gem from 2015 seems worth revisiting given the winter weather we’re experiencing in New England!



Dear Runner,

I know what you say about me.  I know you smirk when your twitter “friends” use the #dreadmill hashtag.  I know you’d rather be outside, in all that gorgeous fresh air, “actually going somewhere”.

You’d just love to be out there spraining your ankle on the ice while your eyes burn and your cheeks get frostbitten and cars swerve around you hoping their tires don’t lose traction.  That does sound like more fun than “going nowhere” staring at a black screen.

Why don’t you pay a baby-sitter for that honor, and go in the afternoon for the added adrenaline of hoping rush hour traffic sees your reflective gear in the dark.

Here’s the thing.

It’s not my fault you’re staring at a black screen.  You’re the one who knows how to turn it on.  TURN IT ON.  Or listen to music, or pod-casts, or audio books.  You could be staring at a travel documentary showing you the Caribbean for all I care, it’s not my problem you’re bored.

It’s one degree out, with a wind-chill below zero, and you’re cranky and cooped up and haven’t run in days, and you’re referring to ME as the “dread mill”?  Really?  REALLY?

Me, who has your back right now, who lets you run in warmth and safety less than 100 feet from your children who are cuddled up in cozy harmony watching Curious George?

Me, who helps you keep pace with a revolving belt that doesn’t slow down when you lose focus?

Me, who has a giant pause button and no “elapsed time” feature like Garmin that calls you out for cheating?

Me, who lets you avoid hills with a zero percent incline, or work your calves at more of an angle, all with the push of a button?

Me, who makes sure you can run safely, any time of day, any degree of weather, keeping YOU in enough running shape so that come April you can prance around giddily on your five mile loop past the windy river and the budding trees, conveniently forgetting who kept you in shape all freaking winter so you didn’t have to start over again at ground zero?

I am not the dreadmill.  I am the treadmill, and you ought to tread more lightly when you talk about the piece of machinery that has your back when it’s dark, icy and below zero in the winter, and when it’s 90 degrees and sunny in the summer.  I get you high on exercise endorphins and keep you ready to get outside when the weather’s better.

Until then, put a freaking television show on and stop complaining.

-Your Treadmill




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  1. That is hysterical! And I have been hitting the treadmill the past week because of those reasons! I guess we owe it a little more respect!

  2. That’s awesome! 🙂 I brought my running clothes to work with me so I can stop by and use my parents treadmill on my way home.

  3. Great one, Kelly! I really can’t stand when people call it the dreadmill. I am a perfectly happy gym rat and home treadmill user. Netflix saves the day!!

  4. well said!

  5. Thanks and happy treadmill running – I know it’s not the same, but it’s a really helpful tool when outside just isn’t going to happen!

  6. This definitely made me laugh! I admit, I have called my treadmill the “dreadmill” in the past. But after this winter, I am perfectly happy running on my treadmill this winter. I watch some Netflix shows only when I run, so some days I even look forward to it!

    1. I should say, after LAST winter. Maybe I need more coffee…

      1. Sorry to reply to this so late, but I wanted to chime in with a response to your critical question in support of coffee. I say yes, yes, yes, to more coffee.

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