The Stages of Doing a Long Run On a Treadmill, In GIFs

If you're an outdoor running fanatic and the precise agony of doing a long treadmill run is familiar to you, welcome.

If you're an outdoor runner, there are few things that make your blood run cold quite like looking out the window the morning you have a long run scheduled to see freezing rain, hurricane-level winds, or a blizzard that's dumping feet of snow on the ground every hour. Why? Unless you're super brave and a little bit irrational, those are the only extreme weather conditions that are going to force you to hit the gym — and the dreadmill...sorry, treadmill — instead of the wide-open roads.

Slogging through a half-hour run on the treadmill is bad enough, but when you have 13-plus miles on the schedule? Ugh. Unfortunately, your pain sounds all too familiar. These GIFs pretty accurately depict what you can expect (and hopefully make light of your bleak situation).

Stage 1: "I've got this!"


So you'll be on the treadmill for a couple of hours. That's just, like, five episodes of Friends, or one viewing of your favorite movie. You can read a book on your Kindle! You're good. Toootally good.

Stage 2: "I've got this..."

Boredom is setting in. You quickly peek under the towel you have covering the monitor to check how long you've been jogging — and it's been five minutes. That's fine. You're fine. You can turn on the peppy running playlist you made for this exact situation.

Stage 3: "I really, really hate this."

Nope, this is going to be even worse than you thought. Your legs hurt, your lungs burn, and the safety rails on the treadmill are closing in on you. But you can't stop already; the hottie on the treadmill next to you who's casually pounding out six-minute miles saw you come in, and they'll know you barely lasted a mile.

Stage 4: "I hate everybody."

Okay, they're hot, but they also have the loudest effing sneakers of all time. You have to restrain yourself from reaching over and hitting the emergency stop button on their machine to shut it up. And don't even get you started on the person sitting on the hip abductor machine, chatting on their cell phone — do they not see the "no cell phones" signs everywhere? Just thinking about your non-runner friends sleeping in or making plans for brunch is enough to make you Hulk out...

Stage 5: "I think I see light."

Okay, there's hope. Your legs have loosened up, you've settled on a happy pace, and you've found E! on your treadmill's built-in TV. You're a quarter of the way done! You've got this.

Stage 6: "I feel amazing!"

The beginning of a runner's high washes over you. Why don't you run on the treadmill more often? This is amazing — you're sheltered from the elements, you don't need to carry anything, there's eye candy all around you, there's TV...what more could you need?

Stage 7: "No, wait, I hate this."

You make the mistake of peeking under your towel again. You're a quarter of the way done...still. Is this thing broken?

Stage 8: "I get to eat when this is over."

Daydreams of your post-run meal bolster your spirits. Maybe you can try a new lunch spot after this. You won't even waste time showering, you'll stagger off this terrible machine and straight there. Who cares if you get funny looks — you just finished a long run on a treadmill, dammit!

Stage 9: "Remember outside?"

Maybe if you visualize exactly where you'd be on your usual running route if the weather weren't keeping you indoors, this will be less mind-numbing. First, you'll just have to check how many miles you've logged...

Stage 10: "Dammit."

Will this agony ever end?

Stage 11: "Is this person racing me?!"

They're totally racing me. That's not really fair, given that they just came in and I'm more than halfway through a long run, but fine. Maybe I could bump up my speed just a little...

Stage 12: "Ugh."

Despair. The person who you were racing is gone. That hottie is gone. It's just you and the relentless, unforgiving pound of your own footsteps on this soulless machine. The TV is blasting a Keeping Up With the Kardashians marathon, and you can't even muster up the energy to change channels. Life is bleak.

Stage 13: "I can do this."

Finally, a glimmer of hope. You're in the home stretch — just a few more miles and you can get off the treadmill. You resume fantasizing about all the things you'll eat to re-fuel and recover after this harrowing experience.

Stage 14: "I can do this!"

Now you're cocky, even beating yourself up for not running faster or setting the incline a little higher. You're still running, but the pain of the previous two hours is already fading away.

Stage 15: "...I can't do this."

It's back. The pain is back. You grit your teeth. Just one. More. Mile.

Stage 16: *wordless bliss*

You're done! You made it. You can't wait to get off this stupid treadmill, but you don't trust your legs to support you on the step down. You'll tolerate a five-minute cool-down walk.

Stage 17: "Never again."

You don't care what the weather is like next week, you're not ever doing another long run on the freaking treadmill. Whose idea was this?

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