How to Enjoy Running on the Treadmill (Almost)

5 Feb

With temperatures dropping into the teens last week (and even lower for my poor sisters north of Chicago), running outside was not happening.

I’m not sure where this snobby attitude towards cold weather came from. In high school, I remember finishing runs in northeast Ohio with ice-covered eyelashes. In college in southwest PA, we ran through snow and slush for most of our training for track season. But now that I’m a Recreational Runner, I’m liberated by the fact that I don’t have to run out in the treacherous elements! I have a choice! I have FREEDOM!

Unfortunately, that usually means that I find myself stuck on the treadmill more often than I’d like.

Lately, I’ve been actually – dare I say – enjoying my treadmill runs. I reflected on how I managed this feat and thought I’d share my tips on making the treadmill slightly more enjoyable (or bearable at least!).

  • Find a running buddy. As with most forms of exercise, strength in numbers usually work. My normal running partner is also averse to cold weather, so we’ve moved our weekly running dates indoors. It’s the accountability factor, both for showing up at the gym as well as not pressing the “Pause” button the treadmill. Plus, you can run at different paces so you don’t have to worry about holding the other person back or leaving them in the dust snow.
  • Don’t look at the numbers. I literally put a sweatshirt or towel over my treadmill. Watching each minute or tenth of a mile tick up is excruciating. Cover up the dashboard and only let yourself look at it at predetermined times (after 4 songs, at 8:30, etc.) to check your progress.
  • Run your own pace. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous bullet. The good – and bad – thing about the treadmill is that you can see exactly what pace you are going and it never changes (unlike in normal outdoor running). Set the treadmill at an easier-than-normal pace (for me, I start at 6mph or 10 minute miles) and as you warm up, start pressing the button to increase it gradually but don’t look at the pace on the dashboard. As you settle into each new pace, pump it up or bring it back depending on how you feel rather than how your mind reacts to seeing 8:24 pace flash across the dashboard.
  • Get new music. When all else fails, putting new music on my iPod or just creating a new playlist of old music always motivates me. I don’t listen to the playlist when I’m not at the gym so it’s almost a treat when I go to the gym because I get to hear the songs that have been stuck in my head since my last run.
  • Set goals. If you need to stop, set a goal first. Sometimes I’ll break up a run by telling myself, “Okay, after 2 miles I can jump off and grab water but then I have to run for 3 when I get back on.” Or tell yourself you’ll run until the end of the next song/TV show/commercial break, etc. Setting mini-goals (and achieving them!) always seems to motivate me through my workout.

Hope some of these tips help! Do you have any to add?

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2 Responses to “How to Enjoy Running on the Treadmill (Almost)”

  1. Molly February 14, 2013 at 9:09 am #

    I do the exact same thing as you – I put a towel or even a magazine over the treadmill screen so I can’t see my time or distance. I just want to RUN. If I focus on the numbers too much, I think it psyches me out. I’m also DESPERATELY in need to update my iPod. New music always tends to pump me up :)


  1. Treadmill vs. Outdoor Running | Just Your Average Athlete - February 14, 2013

    […] How to Enjoy Running on the Treadmill (Almost) ( […]

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