I have to laugh at a newsletter I just received from my former unhealth plan, Harvard Vanguard, which debates the topic of running outdoors vs running on a treadmill. I felt the information in the article was accurate, except for one big incorrect assumption.
Does running outdoors mean running on pavement?
Ha ha ha. Harvard Vanguard serves and overpopulated urban area, namely Boston and suburbs. So all roads are paved, usually full of traffic congestion and rude drivers.
However, I have relocated, and of course the poor quality of “care” I received from Harvard Vanguard was a factor in my decision to run fast away from Boston! I live in Uruguay outside of Montevideo. Where do I run?
On the beach. On dirt roads. Some days, all the roads I run on are not only dirt, but full of ex-puddles as well. Dirt roads are awesome for older folks like me who can develop joint problems from too much pounding on pavement. It seems that outdoor running on dirt roads combines the best of both worlds: the softness of a treadmill and the enjoyment of nature.
The article left out the sunshine factor. We have a lot here. Sunlight is healing and helps the body deal with Vitamin D. I usually wear a hat with a visor so I can see better, avoiding too much sunlight shining in my face or on my nose. I sure dislike looking like Rudolf! And I’m awfully glad I am not on Thorazine. This would totally prevent my ever running outdoors as the drug caused photosensitivity like I’d never known before. I love a nice beach run along La Rambla.
I run with my dog, mi perrita, Puzzle. Can you see her in the above photo? My dog is the color of the sand. That was another thing the article left out, that our dogs aren’t going to be too thrilled to run with us on a treadmill. Back in the states, I assumed that hours of training would be required to teach Puzzle to run beside me. I found out otherwise a couple of weeks ago. It took about 30 seconds or less for her to catch on. Agreeably, she had to learn not to run with her nose to the ground. This causes her to run too slowly. It didn’t take long before she learned that sniffing the ground while running wasn’t cool. It’s not at difficult for her to keep up with me. I suppose I need to be forgiving of Puzzle if she finds a certain tree rather tempting. We even ran my usual 10k yesterday. Of course, I have to be careful and not run in weather that’s too hot. What I’ve learned is that since I quickly become dehydrated to the point of discomfort in temps over 70, same goes for Puzzle. So if it’s not okay weather for Puzzle, it’s not okay for me.
Of course, after a run, it’s nice to lie on a pillow and veg out, isn’t it?
Adios, Harvard Vanguard. I’m here having fun, and living healthy, too, in spite of your non-care.