Re: Re: Runners shunning treadmills

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it's just easier to know your effort level.

Please explain, help me to understand what you mean as I have found that it is not true at all. 

It is interesting how the article is perceived by what parts of the article are focused on for response.  To me, it was empowering to see that people in New England run outdoors through the winter essentially without skipping a beat.  I had imagined that others might read it and think, “Yeah, kick butt!  If they can do it then I sure as hell can, too!”  Where I currently live, I consider the winters to be much easier to train in than those where I used to live, in the midwest Great Lakes region.  (No, I am not in a hurry to move back there, either, so hats off to those of you who do get after it there.)  I have yet to face weather here that would keep me from training outdoors.  Of course, my outlook is neatly expressed by this line from Amelia Barr: “It is only in sorrow bad weather masters us; in joy we face the storm and defy it.”  Yet I often see first-hand accounts from people who consider it utterly impossible to train outdoors through the winters here.  Nobody is wrong to feel that way, and there is likely a clear basis for it, yet as George Bernard Shaw puts it: “People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”

I recall a conversation I had last winter with Scott Simmons regarding his prior coaching position at Minot State in northern North Dakota.  His athletes were out there in the toughest conditions – I am not sure that there is any other state in the lower 48 that has tougher winters (cold, snow, wind, wind chill) than North Dakota does – through the winter to get their training in.  Simmons's attitude is that it can be done anywhere, a sentiment he reiterated in his clinic presentation.  In fact, Simmons was able to actually find positives in training in such an environment, which made perfect sense to me.  He and his athletes (among many others) have proven that it can certainly be done, if one truly wants to.  I am always struck by how well Bill Rodgers was able to perform after training through New England winters throughout the height of his career in the pre-treadmill era.  This also reminds me of a Bill Bowerman sentiment that many runners know well.  For that reason as well as the physiological principle of specificity of training (the log book is neither an end nor an arbiter) I say it does indeed pay dividends in terms of performance to face up to small challenges from mother nature.  If one is at all reluctant to routinely face and embrace minor discomfort any other time then that mindset and tolerance level is not likely to magically alter significantly in the middle of a race.  This is simply an honest general assessment with no value judgment implied.

People who proclaim themselves “smarter” are no more right than those who feel they are more “real” for doing one or the other.  It is how the choice makes those individuals feel and should not rankle anyone who is sufficiently secure.  That people in my area would scurry inside at the prospect of even a little snow and cold is nothing to worry me.  Do what makes one happiest, that is all that really matters in the end.  On the level that almost anyone reading this is at in this sport, each is really only accountable to the self.