TRAINING FOR LIFE! – a journey on the treadmill
What motivates her to keep running? It was the main question my road-running mates had about my virtual treadmill-running friend.
So bear in mind that the question was posed with a bewilderment as to how and why a runner would actually prefer the treadmill. Because to some, the ‘dread-mill’ or the ‘hamster wheel’ (as it is often referred) simply seems like brutal, mind-numbing punishment.
Ironically enough, and as the history of the machine would state, in the 1800s, it was used as just that! Subjected almost exclusively to Britain, male prisoners had to spend a large part of the duration of their sentences- hours a day on a ‘torture’ device that would later be called the treadmill (true story, check it out.. meanwhile, I’ll get back to my story…).
Doesn’t she get bored? That may have been the true question my runners really wanted to ask. What I find interesting is that it’s what most non-runners often wonder about any runner in general- treadmill or not!
The same way the non-runner cannot relate to what keeps a runner motivated and how a runner achieves the much talked about ‘runner’s high’, the outdoor runner cannot seem to grasp how a person can literally find enjoyment accumulating miles while staying in the same place. And although the treadmill may seem to be monotonous and it may lack the potential psychological satisfaction that running outdoors can bring, it consistently remains the most frequently bought piece of exercise equipment (it says so here).
Enter Ludgina Dieujuste, a speech language pathologist by profession, a treadmill run coach by passion and a burst of sunshine and energy by personality! And in a very short time, Ludgina has been able to capitalize on the already popular treadmill- now, due to the onset of the pandemic, will only increase in popularity.
And in an effort to be clear, it’s not that she prefers the treadmill… “I’m an advocate of both indoor and outdoor running,” she firmly states, “I think both have their place; I‘ve had to realize the versatility of the treadmill.” And it’s realizing the versatility that has enabled her to acquire 2.5k YouTube subscribers in less than 18 months.
“I’m an advocate of both indoor and outdoor running,” she firmly states, “I think both have their place; I‘ve had to realize the versatility of the treadmill.”
Ludgina, initially known to me by her Instagram handle, Treadchic (pronounced TreadSheek and not TreadChick) wasn’t always a treadmill runner; in fact, she started out as an outdoor runner 20 years ago. “I was very big in high school. I was the big kid; I was the kid that they always made fun of,” she recalls. “I lost a lot of that weight but gained some again during my freshman year in college.”
Her father, realizing that his daughter was completely inactive (and it showed) casually invited her out for a walk. Dad’s gesture awakened an athlete within her and there’s been no stopping her since.
Treadchic is Tres Chic
When a friend asked, “What are you training for?” Ludgina’s instant and energetic exclamation was a resounding, “I’m training for life!”
Fast forward 10 years: married, with a toddler and in a new neighborhood, Ludgina’s natural joy for the run was still the driving force behind her consistent excursions. When a friend asked, “What are you training for?” Ludgina’s instant and energetic exclamation was a resounding, “I’m training for life!” (I absolutely love that, btw, don’t you?!)
She didn’t realize what her friend was asking. Ludgina had been running an entire decade and was genuinely unaware of the slew of races and competitions open to runners. Convinced by her friend to run a race, the two women trained for 3-4 months and Ludgina ran her first race- a half marathon.
Naturally, I was curious about her thoughts on possibly running a full 26.2. Although not off the table, her plan to train and run her first full marathon by the age of 40 didn’t happen. However, she did playfully admit, “I love to smile when I run and I don’t see myself smiling after 13.1!” (OMG, I totally relate.)
So it’s clear to see that Ludgina was an avid outdoor runner, however, life gradually disallowed her consistent access to the calling of the outdoor run. Being a military spouse and now a mom of three (ages 5, 8, 11), the runner was finding it a bit more challenging to go out and run. But out of care and respect for the priority she places on her health and fitness, Ludgina found other means to keep training.
Ludgina was introduced to treadmill running when she and her family were stationed at their most recent base in Illinois. At Ludgina’s previous location, she had started an outdoor “Couch to 5K” program to prepare participants to run a 5K and she helped raised approximately $18K while creating 5k athletes! So now, at her new gym in Illinois, she inquired about starting the same program. They agreed! A few people joined; however, with the changing of seasons and dropping temperatures, she found that not many people wanted to run in the cold. Ludgina was then invited by the gym director to coach and lead their first indoor treadmill class– it’s not hard to see where I’m going with this… it was an incredible success.
The runner’s innate disposition as a leader and motivator combined with her big energy inspired and allowed her to establish a YouTube Channel where “treadmill users of all levels have a place to go for challenging treadmill workouts, tips, motivation and more.” Whether you’d like to power-walk your way through her program or you’re training for your fastest running pace, you’ll immediately find her sincere intentions for her classes right there on her Treadchic channel.
Besides the basic interval training, or even ladder and fartlek trainings, this creative tread runner incorporates warm-ups, stretches, dancing, calisthenics, strength training and even bands all on and from her treadmill! “The treadmill,” she says, “takes me to new heights!”
The many functions of the treadmill are endless. That one piece of equipment serves her and her followers in countless ways. Because of the treadmill’s ‘controlled’ attributes, Ludgina can creatively and consciously manipulate its many functions to assimilate as best as possible, the great outdoors- all while focusing on her form and function and not her watch. And with intentional focus, she gets it all in:
- Speed work
- Consistent pacing
- Hill repeats through incline
- Cardiovascular training
- Core engagement
- Endurance Training and more!
Ludgina, military, wife, mom, speech pathologist, athlete, run streaker, entrepreneur started her YouTube channel in January 2020 and in one year had already monetized and today, she is the movin’ and groovin’ instructor to a channel on which 2.5k people around the world are subscribed. Congrats Ludgina!
As mentioned earlier, in about 18 months to date, the Treadchic Coach has quickly been able to monetize her channel with an impressive 2.5k subscribers with over 4k hours of ‘watch’ time. Although she admits that the pandemic played a huge role in the success of her channel, there’s no doubt that her big energy, fresh content and genuine desire to reach those that are looking for her guidance played an even bigger role in the retention of her viewers. And her biggest blessing is her ability to have reached so many so far- her followers check in from all over the world including the UK, Ethiopia, Ireland, Australia, Mexico, Venezuela and Ireland (as well as the US). Yea, she’s killin’ it.
And then I did it- I had to… I trotted carefully as I posed the question: how do you feel about the term ‘dread-mill?’
She belted out a hearty laugh with a beautiful smile so big! “My husband heads out at 5:30 am every single day; my children have been home since March 2020; if it were not for my treadmill, how would I train? There are people that just can’t get out. And the messages I get on a daily basis are touching, I mean they are touching: ‘Ludgina, you helped me through this lock-down!’” Ludgina spit out examples and one-liners from the messages of gratitude she’d received in the past year from her loyal class participants. “Or; ‘I didn’t think I’d sweat like this walking,’ or ‘you helped me heal from my injury,’ or ‘you saved my life!’”
And then she concluded so powerfully and passionately that she literally took my breath away: “For those that can get out, it’s easy for them to say, ‘dread-mill.’ It is NOT the ‘dread-mill’; it’s the saving grace for so many!” Preach on, sistah!
“For those that that can get out, it’s easy for them to say, ‘dread-mill.’ It is NOT the ‘dread-mill’; it’s the saving grace for so many!”
So what does motivates this tread chick (wink) to stay on that ‘monotonous’ moving belt? “ When I’d get on the treadmill, I would put on my music and I would be vibin’ and dancin’ and I would get into it and It’s just so much fun! I would be on there backwards!” And when she instructed the treadmill class in the local gym, she got the participants pumped in the same way- music and her own passion for the sport.
However, recording her YouTube entries is different. The instructor records to no music and then adds the music, post production before it’s uploaded onto the platform. But as she’s recording, she proudly declared: “I make my own music! I get pumped knowing on the other side that someone else is watching me; that I’m helping so many people- I’m excited about it!” How about that for a Rock Star! If those British prisoners had Ludgina as a prison mate back in the1800s, they’d all return to society as the happiest bunch of reformed criminals in history, for sure!
Parting words… Ludgina, please share some drops of insight.
“There is no final destination when it comes to your health and fitness….it’s a journey! Remember to take it one day at a time and enjoy the ride! Give yourself grace, don’t compare yourself to others and have fun! If things don’t work out the way you want….really…just keep moving! Finally, treat your journey as a way of life and not just a way to lose weight or fit into your next outfit! If you stay consistent those things will come on their own!”
“It’s not about weight loss but about giving yourself grace and filling up your cup.”
“Inclusion, Inclusion, Inclusion! Being a military spouse, I’ve been part of different running groups and I’ve seen a lot. It’s so important that we accept more and not judge people that we don’t know. We must treat each other the way we would want to be treated. Continue to discuss uncomfortable topics, educate ourselves, listen and be kind.”
Her three children are her cheerleaders and accountability crew that, at times have even served as the life support of Ludgina’s running streak. The streak which came to a full year on May 15, 2021, started out as a 41 day run streak as challenged by Runners World Magazine. For 41 days (and beyond), this supermom committed to a minimum of 1 mile each day (sometimes she runs as much as a 10k!) and that challenge has carried her all the way around the sun. Congratulations Ludgina, you truly do shine like the sun! Keep shining your light on those you serve.
P.S. Our #1 Treadchic superstar hasn’t decided yet if she will continue with the streak but what she does know is keeping this streak going is what helped her keep her mind, body and soul in check! And by example, her children, her followers and her subscribers see first hand that Ludgina is a warrior, a soldier, an athlete ready for whatever oppositions life hurls in her direction because she’s luminously trained for it.
The POWER-COUPLE. Ludgina here with her husband Marck Dieujuste, (active duty, Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, Scott Airforce Base, Belleville, Illinois). “We support each other but due to our schedules and the kids, we typically aren’t able to run together.”
A Family Affair. Ludgina’s Family celebrates the 365 day Run Streak.
An undeniably amazing accomplishment – kudos to you Ludgina and Marck!
Ludgina: “Bringing you Fun, FatBurn, Speed & Endurance with
my Free Treadmill Workouts!”
But she provides more that that too! Knowledge, motivation, inspiration and tips on exercise and nutrition (something she cares A LOT about) #nutritionmatters .