The Treadmill Is Possessed or I’m Crazy

half marathon training

I’ve logged a lot of treadmill miles during my half-marathon training. Part of it is that it’s been so hot and humid that I don’t want to run outside. And some of it is just that it’s what is most convenient for me: I can hit the pool with the kids for an hour and then drop them at the gym childcare and get some miles in.

The boredom of the treadmill is legit, so I either have to have some good tunes, or as I’ve gotten up to 8-mile runs, I’ve had to pull out the big guns: Netflix. I set my phone up on the treadmill, hit play on Scandal and do my best to forget that running on a treadmill is tedious. When you’re running through two episodes of Scandal, though, you decide that you’re also a legit runner.

However, I’ve had some weird things happen during a couple of my treadmill runs. Last week, I was coming to the end of my run and slowed down to walk. I was messing with my phone when the treadmill stopped. Now, usually the “finish screen” pops up so I can check out my final distance and adjust my TomTom watch to the correct distance, but my stats were just — POOF — gone. I thought it was weird, but I knew I had run 6.25 miles — give or take a hundredth of a mile. Weird, but I shrugged it off.

Another time I was running intervals while listening to Pandora when I realized that it had been half a minute or so since I’d heard my tunes. I figured I’d just bumped the mute button, so I hit play again and turned up my jams. But the volume kept sporadically muting and turning up and down — I would have sworn there was a hacker across the room laughing at me while watching me try to get my volume to cooperate and then finally giving up and going music-less. (Never a fun option.)

And here’s where I really start feeling crazy. Recently, I paused Scandal and slowed down midway through a run to check a text that had come through. As I pulled Netflix back up, the treadmill stopped. Started it back up and tried again with Netflix and it happened again. It was only when I left my phone alone completely that the treadmill got going again — and then I was very careful to resume my show. Note that this wasn’t during a long run (2 miles is no longer “long” for me!) and the treadmills don’t have a timer shutoff anyway.

So guys. I’m confused. Is it possible that my phone is interfering with my treadmill? It’s one of those treadmills you can plug your phone into, but my phone hasn’t been plugged into it during any of my issues. I’m not finding a lot with Dr. Google, but the one thing that has given me hope is that this one Kindle user swears her device shuts off the treadmill.

Could my phone be communicating with the treadmill? Could doing intervals on the treadmill jack with the volume on my music? Could shutting down an app shut down the treadmill? Someone? Anyone? Bueller?

I’m not crazy right? Maniacal laughter. —Erin

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6 Comments

  1. Wow that sounds super buggy! I usually need a good distraction (like podcasts or music) while on the *dread*mill and end up convincing myself to power through the heat (or rain) outside – headphone free!

    The longest I’ve run on a treadmill is 5 miles and I can’t say it was easy, focused, or really productive. I felt like I *could* have powered through the downpour outside (yeah! if I was also ready to deal w/ pneumonia.. but apparently I’d take a cold over an hour on the dreadmill) Another time I planned to do 4 miles on the treadmill and out of nowhere, my phone jumped from the machine, landed on the tread, and shot back across the gym with my earbuds pathetically bumbling after. Unless I’m doing a high-intensity-interval work out that includes one mile repeats in the gym, I steer far, far away from the treadmill and opt for outside. That machine truly has a mind of its own and a sick sense of humor. 🙁

  2. Is this all recent? Could be a Mercury in retrograde thing. See if it stops happening in another week or so on its own.

  3. Hello Erin!

    I think you re reading my mind…At some point in time I feel like all of my electronics that I own are plotting against me…In weird ways. I say when the “dreadful” is acting funny it is time to take a break outside. Get up early and enjoy the Indian summer days…And the air on your face will feel so good. Heck – if yo are single you may even run into a single guy or gal out on their run experiencing the same woes as you! As a runner I have been there too! Enjoy the run!

    Amy

  4. Erin,
    I just wanted to tell you I really enjoyed this article. I definitely think your phone is interfering with the treadmill…or is it?

    I have never been really good at running, especially on a treadmill. I live in Las Vegas and as you probably know, it gets ridiculously hot. My cardio workouts really take a dive in July and August when the heat is near unbearable. Then come September I have to almost start from scratch to get back my lost progress. Is there any suggestions you may have on how to get acclimated to running on a treadmill?

  5. Didn’t know cellphones can interfere an operating treadmill, unless it has bluetooth connectivity or something. Nowadays all treadmills are connected to your mobile devices one way or another. But the question is the phone was not connected at the time.