The other day I mentioned my running vacation and how that basically equated to still running all the miles, but doing so inside where I would have an easy out if I wanted to stop. I have always viewed the treadmill as a friend rather than a foe and actually enjoy it whereas it seems most of the general running population prefers to reserve the “dreadmill” for times of extreme inclement weather and sometimes not even then. For those of you who do reluctantly choose the warm gym over running on a sheet of ice or in the midst of a tornado, I have a few suggestions of things to do while on the treadmill that might make the whole experience not-so-terrible.
Salt’s Top 5 Tips for a Less boring Treadmill Run
Run with a friend.
El Niño keeping you and your running buddies inside? Group runs are totally possible on a treadmill. Sara goes to my gym and we’ve had some great conversations while on the treadmill before. I even made friends with an elderly gentleman once who was walking on the machine next to me.
And yes sometimes I do compete with the people running next to me although they probably don’t realize that I’m doing it. This is also a fun way to pass the time.
Sorry. Almost 3 years of running and I still giggle at the word fartlek.
I’m a big fan of the speed interval function. Once a week I will do a few miles of repeats and toggle between run and jog every 400, 800, 1200, etc. meters, but sometimes I like to use my music to do fartleks on the treadmill rather than pay attention to distance. For example: I will kick the speed way up and run as hard as I can through the chorus of a song and then dial it back when that part is over. I feel like it makes my workouts fly by!
And speaking of intervals…manual hills.
I am also a big fan of the hill function and if I’m just doing a regular treadmill run, this is the setting I use most often. (For those of you not familiar with this, it will give you an elevation change every minute.) However, sometimes I like to use manual mode, but constantly adjust my hills throughout the run rather than let the treadmill change it for me. It keeps me a little more awake and involved in the run rather than just zoning out.
So this one might be a little weird. My gym has a bunch of TVs mounted in front of all the cardio equipment and sometimes I’ll plug my headphones in and watch something. Most of the time I’m listening to music though and when I get in a particularly tough spot such as my treadmill is suddenly taking me up a massive fake hill, I’ll focus on reading the closed captioning until I get through it. Or sometimes I will read it if I’m on there for 9 miles and just feeling a little bored.
My gym is full of characters, especially right now with all the new resolutioners that have joined. The treadmills are set up in such a way that I have a very clear view of other cardio equipment and also the entire free weight area. Many a treadmill run has been made more interesting with a little bit of people watching. This might make me sound totally creepy, but seriously…if your workout includes dancing on the treadmill, I’m going to watch you. Or if you are so jacked that you can’t even put your arms down completely at your sides and you are wearing a three-sizes-too-small Superman shirt that looks it’s about to explode off your body…I am going to look at you. And be very confused by your fashion choices.
How is your relationship with the treadmill? Have you ever tried any of these things to make a treadmill run more interesting? Do you have any other tips to share?
I hope everyone had a great weekend!