minutes per mile blog

tips for beating treadmill boredom

We are off to sunny, warm Orlando this morning — and as I depart, I thought it’d be a good time to share some treadmill running tips for all of you stuck in this cold snow!

I have a very love/hate relationship with the treadmill. I appreciate it for the freedom and flexibility it provides to runners who need to stay at home or in the gym when things like life, family, and mother nature get in the way. But on the other hand, I find the treadmill extremely boring. Remember when I even did a boring treadmill video to show how extremely boring it is? And let’s not even discuss how boring of a blog photo subject the treadmill is. Here is photo 978 of my 12,398,290 treadmill shoe photos:IMG_4686 The longest treadmill run I’ve ever done was 14 miles and I almost went crazy! That being said, I do have a few tactics to keep my sanity in check when logging miles on the “dreadmill.” And I wrote them down so that you can keep your sanity if you have to run indoors during these snow days too.0219150657a

  1. Remember that “no running” is the alternative. When I use the treadmill it’s typically because the weather or darkness (I don’t run alone in the dark when I travel) won’t allow me to run outside. When I start hating the treadmill during these runs (usually at about mile 0.5), I try to remember to be grateful that I have the treadmill because it’s better than the alternative — not running at all. #blessed
  2. Pretend you’re somewhere else. This is probably one of my favorite treadmill tricks. When I have a mile or two miles or a half mile left to go, I imagine myself at a place in Nashville (or even DC!) that’s the same distance from my house, and then imagine running that distance along the streets in my head until I make it “home.” Or I’ll imagine I’m on the track with only two laps, one lap, etc. left to go. I know, I’m crazy.0825150638
  3. Play with speed/incline. This one is a no-brainer but I feel like I have to list it just because. The treadmill is perhaps the most monotonous machine on the planet. You can overcome its boringness by changing the incline and speed of your workout. There are a million different existing interval/speed/incline treadmill workouts so I won’t recreate one here!
  4. Race someone. This is a fun one. Grab a treadmill near another person running at the gym and race them. I find this particularly fun if you’re a lady that runs faster/longer than a guy! (ps remember those “Girls Dominate” shirts from the 1990s? I just tried Googling for an image of one but they seem to have vanished. I miss those.)
  5. Cover the monitor. If you get distracted by the slow-ticking seconds and miles on the treadmill screen, cover it up with a towel or jacket so that you can let you mind wander!0209160704
  6. Mix in strength exercises. Take advantage of your environment by breaking up your treadmill run with some strength exercises. A real killer is run a mile + squats + run a mile + lunges. Your legs will thank you the next day :)
  7. Run by a window. I personally am not a big fan of watching TV while I run — I find it too distracting and annoying. But, I do love running by a window! It gives you the feel of being outside without actually being out there :) For example, somehow this seemingly fugly window at my gym is actually really beautiful to me when it’s 6 o’clock on a Monday morning.IMG_5167
  8. Listen to playlists & podcasts. I *wish* I could listen to podcasts while I run but I also find those distracting and annoying, ha! But I have a lot of friends who love listening to them while they run. For music, I usually stream Google Music (we have a family account which is awesome — better than Spotify Premium IMO).
  9. Embrace the sweat. Something about a good sweaty run just makes me feel extra accomplished — does anyone else feel that way? In cold winter months, a sweaty indoor treadmill workout can actually feel like a real treat :). Be grateful for it!
  10. Run with a friend. This week my friend Katie and I were able to shift our usual East Nashville run indoors, and run on side-by-side treadmills together like real champs. Since it was a snowy day her gym’s front desk people took pity on me and allowed me in for free as her guest — and I’ve found that other gyms tend to bend the rules a little bit on snow days in the past, too! Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 6.09.26 PM

CaptureNow go give your treadmill a hug!DSC02833And stay warm this week!

  • Farthest you’ve ever run on the treadmill?
  • Most common reason you choose to run on the treadmill?
  • Another tip for beating boredom?!

6 thoughts on “tips for beating treadmill boredom

  1. It’s so true, running on a treadmill can really be boring sometimes (most of the time haha)! I’m lucky enough that my gym has TVs on each treadmill so that usually helps distract me a bit… except for during commercials…. or if I get stuck on a treadmill with a broken tv :(

  2. I have only made it 7 miles tops on a treadmill! I get so bored! I only use it when it is too bad outside, or too late at night to run.

    I have a treadmill at home (a free gift!!) and I hung a photo my husband took of my marathon route in front of the treadmill so I can look at that and feel like I am outside. It is a great shot of a path thru the woods at the Chickamauga Battlefield, and there are leaves all over the ground. I blew it up to 16×20 size and hung it in front of the treadmill. Plus my medals are hanging by the treadmill too, so it’s encouragement to not stop running and finish my workout.

  3. I often like to race the guys next to me. They don’t know I’m doing it, but there’s something so satisfying about “flying” past the guys in speed, even if it’s on a stationary treadmill.

  4. I actually love the treadmill. I know, weird. I got sick a few years ago with c. diff and couldn’t run without being near a bathroom. So it was either treadmill or nothing. After a month or so of only treadmill running I really grew to love it! I still alternate now but long runs on the treadmill make me stronger mentally because I don’t have constant stimulation of changing landscape. I usually watch shows whole I’m running, but nothing with a plot. I like cooking shows, hgtv, sometime reality tv. Something that if I miss part of what they say or zone out it won’t really matter later. Longest run on the treadmill – 24 miles.

    • wow, what a story! glad you found what works for you. if a TV is on i can also kind of follow non-plot shows. my gym has one tv that’s on HGTV and i semi-watch the home decorating shows sometimes :)