As winter sets in, I have less and less of a chance to get my runs in outside during the daylight hours. I'm up super early to commute to work and by the time I get home it's dark out. Not only is it horribly depressing, it also means come winter time, I have to spend a lot of my running time on the treadmill.
I hate running on the treadmill. It's boring. There's no change of scenery. And I sweat like a pig because the gym is so warm.
But for safety reasons, like not wanting to get mugged or not wanting to trip over uneven sidewalk and sprain an ankle, the treadmill is a necessary evil.
I know some other runners out there are in the same situation so I thought I'd share my five tips for staying entertained on the treadmill.
1. Make sure you have your music. Listening to the drone of the treadmill will put you to sleep (and then you could potentially fall off the back and that's just embarrassing). If you don't like to run with music, try to find a treadmill in front of a TV and set it something you like.
2. Race the guy or girl next to you. Sometimes I don't have much of a choice when it comes to treadmill location, but when I do, I try to pick the one semi close to a guy who looks like he's sprinting and then I try to match him because there's nothing like chicking a guy, even if it's not in a real race and your just on the treadmill.
3. Use the default programs on the treadmill. One of my favorite ones is the auto-hill program on the treadmills in my gym. You set a workout time limit, then pick a level of difficulty between 1-20. (I tried 15 once and had to knock it down to 10 after about five minutes). Then the treadmill kicks out some killer hills raising and lowering itself at different intervals. It keeps you on your feet and since most climbs and descents only last a few minutes you can focus on that minute, rather than the 30 remaining in your workout, and next thing you know the workout is done.
4. Bored with the defaults? Then create your own program. Increase and decrease speed every minute or every 30 seconds. Set the speed at a comfortable pace and then see how fast you can push it before backing off again. You can do the same thing with the incline. Play around with all those buttons and time will pass more quickly.
5. Mix it up and do the occasional run outside. It's really hard to do every winter run on the treadmill. Try it find a time once a week or once every two weeks when you can get outside. The fresh air will do you good and it will give you something to look forward to as you pound out more and more miles on the treadmill.
Hope those help all the indoor runners survive winter without massive amounts of boredom.