Sunday Confessional: Behaving like a Treadmill Snob

My fuel of choice this morning was my favorite pumpkin spice latte overnight oats. I caught up on some of my favorite healthy living blogs for about 15 minutes while eating breakfast. Some of the ladies I follow are so good about motivating me to get out the door and workout! Half asleep, I wondered to the apartment gym praying the only working treadmill would be available. It has been quite the competition to get on the treadmill recently.

As I made my way into the gym I breathed a sigh of relief because I had the entire gym to myself. I prayed it would remain empty since I needed the treadmill for at least an hour and I didn’t want to end up feeling bad about hogging it. I typically plan my long runs outside to avoid feeling guilty. However, the weather in Charlotte today was pretty gloomy and cold so I opted for the boring indoor treadmill run.

A mile into my run, I was finally getting warm and I could tell I was going to have an amazing run. I was feeling like a star, and no one could stop my shine. The gym was still empty. Then, moments later, the familiar guy that I’m 99 percent confident is a triathlete ventured into the gym. I’ve seen him before and he doesn’t shy away from any of the cardio equipment, but seems to love the treadmill when he can get on it. “Great,” I thought, “This guy is going to want to punch me.” Yet, he didn’t give off any sense of disappointment and opted for the pathetic little bike next to me.

Not too long after Mr. Tri walked in the door, the married couple I admire walked into the gym. They’re probably my parents’ age and workout together all the time. They seem to have the healthy lifestyle thing down. I am fairly certain the woman would have loved to have my treadmill but she immediately made her way over to the weights. A few minutes later, she walked out of the gym and grabbed a coffee from the machine in the clubhouse. “Good,” I thought. I convinced myself she was just lifting weights since she grabbed a coffee to sip on while working out. I don’t know of anyone that drinks coffee while doing cardio. In the back of mind I started to think, “Her husband might want the treadmill eventually, but he’ll approach me if he thinks I’m hogging it.” I managed to hit mute on my thoughts and kept running.

About four miles into my run, another man joined the four of us in the gym.  This man definitely had the look on his face like “I want that treadmill and I want it now.” He didn’t bother me so much because he had just walked into the gym and he had a glaring sense of entitlement. Plus, he had no idea how long I had already been on the treadmill. He eventually found an elliptical.

I already know what you’re thinking, “Ugh. One of those treadmill hogs.” You’re right, and that’s the reason for the title of this post. Today I was a treadmill hog but please hear me out. I left my headphones downstairs so I was completely approachable unlike the times when I have my headphones blaring with Rihanna.

Deep down, I knew the right thing to do was end my workout because surely one of the four gym goers wanted the treadmill; however, I continually convinced myself I wasn’t being a treadmill hog since no one was approaching me about wanting to use it.  Again, I was extremely approachable; therefore, it was their job to let me know I was being a hog (at least in my mind at the time).

I promised myself early on that I’d cut my run short if anyone approached me or gave me some of those subtle, yet nasty, glares indicating they were disgusted with my selfishness. As the minutes passed, I watched everyone as they moved around the gym. Mr. Tri went from the bike to the elliptical without a single look of disapproval. The husband shifted from weights to the elliptical. The coffee sipping wife kept watching FOX news while walking around the gym doing bicep curls. The older, entitled man remained on his elliptical and occasionally gave me a few glances, but I didn’t really care to end my run for him. In addition, his glances weren’t quite glares. There’s a difference.

I shrugged off the little bit of guilt I was feeling and kept running. I hit mile six and I was feeling incredible. I was content because no one had approached me and I no longer felt guilty. At this point I knew I was going to squeeze in seven miles.

Here’s where it all went down hill. I was six and a half miles into my seven mile run when I overheard the husband and wife start talking. I couldn’t hear what they were saying until the woman said in a gentle tone, “It’s really okay. I have all day and I can come back.”

Guilt struck. A dark cloud hovered over me. However, I kept running since the cute couple abruptly walked out of the gym and at this point I only had half a mile to go. That last half mile was five minutes, but felt like an hour. I couldn’t stop thinking about what everyone in the gym must have been thinking about me. She couldn’t have been the only one wanting the highly sought after treadmill. Finally I was done.

As soon as I hit stop, I thought to myself, “This morning, I behaved like the treadmill snobs I absolutely despise. I hogged a treadmill for an hour and ten minutes. I didn’t bother asking others if they would like to use the treadmill and, to justify my selfishness, I intentionally convinced myself they would confront me if they wanted it. Why did I think they would confront me? I would never confront anyone on the treadmill.  I really have been selfish and I can’t believe I was a treadmill snob today.”

I quickly wiped down the treadmill and quietly departed the gym avoiding eye contact with Mr. Tri and the older guy on the elliptical.

Ms. Treadmill Snob. I never intended to be that girl. It won't happen again!

Nine hours have passed since my run and I am still dwelling on the fact that I was so selfish in the gym this morning. I lacked gym etiquette. That’s ironic since I tend to think I have superb gym etiquette (obviously not). Although I still feel guilty, I am glad it was brought to my attention that I was being little Ms. Treadmill Snob. Had I not overheard that lady, I would probably think running seven miles in a fairly crowded gym is appropriate, which it’s not.

Even through my guilt, I am still proud of how strong and powerful I felt this morning during those seven miles. I am starting to believe a half marathon won’t be so tough after all.

Today’s takeaways:

  • Plan long runs outside. Push myself to go outside no matter what the forecast looks like for the day that way I know I can finish my runs. Since I live in Charlotte, it’s never unbearable to run outside. It may be less than desirable somedays, but there’s no excuse not to run outside. I know if I run inside I’ll be tempted to behave like I did today and I want to avoid experiencing this guilt in the future!
  • Don’t expect others to approach me  to tell me I’m hogging the treadmill. From now on, if I’m running on a treadmill and people start venturing in, I’ll ask them if they want to workout on the treadmill because, as I learned today, they’re probably not going to approach me. Then, I’ll let them know I’ll wrap up in a reasonable amount of time.
    (Note: I’d never cheat myself of having the treadmill for 30-45 minutes, but I’d hop off once I hit that time limit. Then, if it’s a long run day, I can take the rest of my run outside.)
  • Don’t be afraid to politely approach someone in the gym. If I’m the one wanting a treadmill, I’ll politely ask the person when they’ll be finished with it. I don’t think it’s being rude; it’s simply asking a question. Hopefully once they know someone else wants the treadmill, they will be generous and hop off in a timely manner. Maybe they won’t be so nice, but I like to think people genuinely want to do the right thing.  If they’re a true treadmill snob, they’ll tell me in some way or another “tough luck, I was here first.”  If that’s the case, at least I won’t be wasting my time waiting for the person to get off the equipment I want.
  • Invest in a treadmill. This isn’t a short term answer since they’re expensive. However, I know I’ll want a treadmill in my house when that day comes. I don’t love treadmill runs but they’re nice to have around for super early morning workouts and evening workouts. I’m not one to run in the dark and during the winter months getting outside can be difficult since daylight is so limited.

What are your gym etiquette tips? Have you ever been the treadmill snob?

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