It is strange not to be running outside and restricting myself to maintenance runs on the treadmill. It seems more like work i.e. having the objective and carrying out a plan in a prescribed manner rather than an act of enjoyment (gyms are, after all, fitness factories). But it is not all joyless:
Any exercise makes me feel better. If I don’t do something to raise my heart rate and pump blood around the body, my mind tends to get sluggish and muzzy.
There is satisfaction to be had from the quantification of effort – i.e. know you are maintaining a steady, known speed for set amount of time. (When I run outside my speed tends to go up and down quite a bit).
It is easy to gradually vary the effort of each session, either speed or time, and set yourself little challenges – much more easily than outdoors.
However the major benefit is the result of a treadmill’s major disadvantage. It is dull and time passes more slowly so you have to work harder on strategies to keep yourself going. It is mental training, which I hope makes me stronger
The other good thing is that you can people watch. I have written before about people with disabilities determinedly trying to improve -they always make me feel humble. But there are also other people who make me think about what I am doing.
Perhaps because I am fairly stiff, I am unduly impressed by those who are flexible but watching them reminds me that even if I have no natural aptitude it is an area I ought to work at. I am convinced that most of the injuries I have had have been the result of stiffness in my calves and hamstring and they have always happened after I have neglected my stretches for a period. For some reason I am better able to discipline myself to stretch properly at the gym than at home.
So there are advantages to gym sessions but they do not give me a feeling of deep enjoyment. That comes from being outside where there is fresher air and a sense of freedom. There is no sense of freedom in a gym – perhaps that is another way in which they are a bit like work.