10 Tips to Make Running on the Treadmill More Enjoyable
Ahh the dreadmill.
It’s the bane of many a runner’s existence. A handful actually like it. I’m quite neutral to it. But, at the end of the day, it’s likely a tool all runners will have to utilize at some point in their running lives.
The common negative I hear from fellow runners, is that the treadmill is simply BORING, and I can see why. You don’t have the same mental stimulation of actually going somewhere, as you do when running outside.
To many, it might not feel as fulfilling.
To help cure you of your treadmill woes I have some recommendations to try that have worked for me in the past!
You’ll appreciate having these tips handy when the running conditions are less than favorable, and you’re forced to get your runs accomplished indoors. I promise, if you combine at least a couple of these suggestions, you’ll feel much more at ease with getting those treadmill miles logged!
1) Hide The Screen
This is the #1 recommendation I’ve personally ever heard of.
For me, it was actually very unsettling when I first tried it. I am definitely one to rely on my stats too much mentally. “Am I going too slow? Too fast? Is this mile almost finished?!” …etc.
Honestly, because it was so difficult to bring myself to do it at first, probably meant I needed to do it more than anyone. Covering the screen is good practice for me mentally. It teaches me just to run, regardless of the mile I’m currently in, or the pace I’m currently running at. I definitely recommend giving it a try, if you haven’t already.
2) Focus on Breath
This is another one that is ultimately very useful for improving your running technique; however, for me, it was a bit difficult until I got used to it.
Focusing too much on my breath would sometimes cause me to over think my speed, cadence, etc. However, it eventually gave me a meditative outlet during my runs. Focusing on my breath control allowed me to feel much more relaxed and “in the zone”. This is an extremely helpful running technique to have as it teaches you to be more in control of your breathing.
Or any other video streaming service.
The best part about watching television/movies during runs, is it gives you a passive timer without ever actually having to look at the time. This is the ultimate tool to take the pressure off your daily runs, and to instead make it a relaxed, “you time” environment.
[Life Hack: This might sound strange, but I oftentimes will turn my Netflix treadmill ritual into a sort of drinking game (without the alcohol of course). Except, instead of taking a tequila shot, I’ll do a minute of sprinting every time a character in the show says a certain word or phrase. 🙂 )
4) A Killer Playlist
This one is pretty obvious, although, it does require some preparation. Take the extra time to find (or make) the best, tailor-made playlists that are customized to YOU!
Some great Spotify playlists to check out:
You can also look up playlists according to your BPM!
Trust me, taking the time to form your playlists helps more than I can express!
5) Buddy System
If you can find that perfect running buddy who can keep you accountable and also entertained then you’ve won the running lottery.
While running is technically an individual sport, it has the same camaraderie as a team sport. Not only is having a friend run with you more enjoyable, but it makes the time pass by much quicker. It might just give you that extra push of motivation you need.
If you’re still not sure if you like having a running buddy, join a local running group and try it out!
This is one that I’m personally newer to, but I absolutely love running to a thought-provoking podcast these days. Maybe (almost) more than music. If you can find a good podcast that actually piques your interest, you’re in for an entertaining run.
I’m partial to health/wellness or news-related topics, but there are podcasts covering literally ANY topic of interest you could think of! I promise, there are more than a few that you’ll find entertaining enough to get you through your runs NO PROBLEM!
7) Virtual Running Trail
So this one’s a little out there, but I personally find it very entertaining.
There are now apps available for download which can virtually mimic the sensation of running on a trail. I’m not new to this concept, but these days the apps have much more of a “virtual reality” feel.
The one I’ve tried is Zwift, so check it out!
I definitely recommend at least giving virtual running a try to see if it works for you.
(Sidenote: Most apps require a footpod in order to function properly.)
8) Intervals / HIIT
This is probably my ultimate go-to.
Normally, when I run on the treadmill I’ll take advantage of the time by doing some much-needed speed-work.
When doing speed intervals, it requires you to break up your running into segments based on changes in pace. For some reason, breaking down my run into time-slots makes it easier for me mentally.
Also, time-wise, it makes it go by MUCH faster!
Why not pass the treadmill time by working on your next PR? 🙂
9) Perfect Your Running Technique
While passing the time on the treadmill, you have the opportunity to tweak your running technique to the fullest. For me, running outside poses way too many distractions to really work on perfecting my running technique, while the treadmill allows me to focus on ONLY running.
This sounds silly, but if you can take video-footage of yourself running on the treadmill, or have access to a mirror, it can really give you perspective on what areas of your running need work!
There have been times when I think I look like a total running bad-ass, and I look over at the mirror to see a hunchbacked overstrider who needs to work on her running form.
To be honest, I mostly prefer to read tangible books, but there are definitely times when I enjoy a good audiobook every once in a while. I’ve heard of fellow runners who exclusively listen to these instead of music!
This could also be another way to passively track your time.
Instead of running for 3 Miles, or 30-minutes, why not just run for 3 chapters instead?
Definitely another good way to take the pressure off of the running clock.
I truly hope that these tips will serve you when you’re forced to insert the treadmill into your weekly running regimen.
To be honest, I no longer hate running on the treadmill.
I actually look forward to it!
While running outdoors gives me that freeing feeling (which is ultimately why I love to run), there’s something now about the ritual of running indoors that I would miss if I decided to take it out of my running routine.
There are so many customizations that I can make to my treadmill runs, that they truly end up feeling like much-needed “me-time”. 🙂
P.S. I would love to hear from you!
If there’s anything in this post that resonated with you, or anything you’d like me to touch on further, don’t hesitate to let me know! 🙂
You can reach me by commenting beneath this post or by entering your email in the box below (and receiving your free gift)!
Till next time!
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