Sisyphus’ Gym

When I run on the treadmill, I understandably feel like I’m just… keeping up. That’s why treadmills are used as a metaphor for Sisyphean tasks; they’re a self-inflicted form of rolling a rock up a hill, except, in this case, you are the rock.

So, rather than feel that way, I chose to run outdoors through the winter as much as possible. I know that I am more interested, and less despairing, when I run outdoors. There’s something to think about, even if it’s as simple as ‘turn left’ vs. ‘turn right’. On top of that, I get to set my own pace, the air takes the sweat away better (I only feel sweaty after the run, vs. on a treadmill where it seems 15 minutes in that a faucet has opened above my head).

I know that I’m not the only person who has a love-the-option/hate-the-details relationship with a treadmill, but in a way I’m grateful that I felt strongly enough about it to keep myself outside. I feel like I stuck with my exercise better, enjoyed it more, and learned more about myself as a runner this winter by slogging out some runs in the cold and dark, vs. slaving away pushing my stone up a hill.

I’m thinking about this because the triumph of daylight over darkness is coming, and I’ve noticed myself just going for two layers for most outdoor runs these days.  There’s snow on the roads tonight, but I don’t know how much more I’ll have to struggle against.  In my secret, tragic heart, I think I’ll miss it.

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5 responses to “Sisyphus’ Gym

  1. I wish I could run outside more in the winter… I am working on that next winter. When I was younger, I use to run outdoors regardless now I have developed into a whimp probably because I have the easy out option of the treadmill.

  2. When I lived in a great neighborhood for running I wore Stabilicers, a product sold by 32 North. They are essentially cleats that fit over your running shoes (or in my case, trail runners). I think they call them “sport stabilicers” on their website. They’re great! They allow you to run on packed snow and sheer ice (I used to run laps on a frozen pond and never slipped once). And no, I don’t work for the company! 🙂

    • I’ve heard of Stabilicers and Yak Trax, but footing hasn’t been too bad; far worse has been narrowed streets and crazy drivers! I’ll take the endorsement though; I expect to need one of these devices in a future winter. Maybe I’ll find them inexpensively in the warm seasons!

  3. A word of warning – if you get them you might want to buy another pair of running shoes. I can’t speak for Yak Trax but once you get Stabilicers on your shoes it’s difficult to get them off again. At least there is comfort in knowing they are secure! LOL
    ps~ know what you mean about narrow streets and crazy drivers. I won’t run in my new town for that exact reason 😦

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