21 Things We’re All Thinking On the Treadmill

No single word in a runner’s vocabulary ignites a debate so fierce as “treadmill.”

In fact, the treadmill’s origins really can be traced back to torture, with its earliest form used at penitentiaries in the 19th century to reform stubborn convicts. One prison guard described it thusly: “It is the monotonous steadiness, and not its severity, which constitutes its terror.” (We couldn’t agree more.)

But while runners have plenty of derogatory terms for the apparatus (“hamster wheel” and “dreadmill,” to name just a few), it’s hard to argue against its usefulness. Whether you can’t get a babysitter or the weather suddenly resembles an Arctic tundra, the treadmill saves you from writing “unplanned rest day” in your running log—and, for that, we are grateful.

In any case, our inner dialogue upon approaching the treadmill goes a little something like this:

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