Some runners love treadmills, others prefer them only slightly to thumb screws and dentist drills. We believe treadmills are wonderful inventions for saving time, for coping with stormy weather, and sometimes just because they’re so good at what they do.

Here are some specific uses of treadmills that play to their strengths:

Run in the Worst Weather

Of course. The freezing rain may be blowing horizontally out there, but indoors you can run in shorts and a t-shirt.

Warm Up for a Strength Workout

10 minutes easy jogging, or walking up a steep incline, may be all you need to get the muscles warm and limber.

Train for Hills When You Live in the Flatlands

Most treadmills have an adjustable incline of up to 15%. Grades between 2% and 8% are useful for standard hill training. If you’re a trail runner, you might find use for 15% grades when running hill intervals. One advantage of the treadmill over actual hills: there’s no downhill, so your body gets spared the stress and impact.

Train Yourself to Hold a Steady Pace

The treadmill enforces it. You will always be running at the precise speed of the treadmill. If you deviate, you’ll quickly find yourself somewhere besides the treadmill.

Enjoy Creature Comforts

Treadmills make it trivially easy to eat and drink while you run. Most have a shelf for your provisions. The shelf can also hold your music player. Or maybe you’d prefer to watch a movie?

Run Accurate and Repeatable Interval Sessions

When you use a treadmill for interval training, you have precise control over your speed, time, and steepness of grade. You can’t accidentally slow down a bit when you’re fatigued.

Give Your Joints a Break

Relatively speaking. Most treadmills’ platforms are designed to flex. They absorb shock much more effectively than pavement.

Avoid Traffic or Other Real-World Dangers and Distractions

You don’t even have to watch where you step. The treadmill lets you enter a deep meditative state. Or watch a movie, listen to a podcast, or get immersed in an audiobook.

We hope you’re willing to look at the treadmill with new eyes-this winter, and beyond.