Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Treadmill survival guide

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.

19 comments:

Susan said...

Thanks for the tips! I joined a gym just in time for winter, so I may be hitting up the treadmill...even though I haaaaaaate it!

Lisa said...

Great tips. Even still, not sure I can endure more than 20mins on the treadmill

RunToTheFinish said...

I have so much fun running against someone.. I get this like oh I'm a runner I can totally outlast them thing going in my head. And I do a lot of the every 2 minutes I switch either speed or incline on days when I really need to be entinced to stay on

Carolina John said...

i like it, i like it a lot. i'm also going to be on the treadmill all winter long. but that's just the way it goes 'round here.

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

Right now I'm doing two runs a week on the treadmill and two runs outside. I'm pretty sure within the next few weeks thats going to turn into three on the treadmill and one outside :-( Boo. I hate the treadmill!

I do like to switch up my speeds and do a lot of sprinting, that keeps things more interesting. I also usually don't run more than 3-5 miles on the treadmill, although that might have to change come winter :-(

teacherwoman said...

Great tips on running indoors. Even I could use some of those. With living in ND, I spend a good portion of my running on the "dreadmill".

Tricia said...

Great tips. Man I hate the treadmill. When I have absolutely no choice but to use it I do interval training to keep it fun.

Laura said...

sooo there's no turning back... Nate and I just signed up for the Celtic 5 miler this December! AHHHHH

Marisa said...

great tips! i love racing the person next to me, except i feel bad peeking at their speed/incline :D

Jamie said...

Excellent tips. In fact I used a default small hill program this evening ;) I still hate the treadmill but at least it mixed it up a bit.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

I can't believe you didn't include doing this as one of your treadmill suggestions.

By which I don't mean the dorky dancing.

I mean DRESS LIKE THAT while on the treadmill.

Jago Holmes said...

Some really useful comments. Although to add a more positive note for the case of using treadmills, you can chart your exact sessions and results. Making small exact changes in your pace and incline and after all, where would we be without them.

Unable to get out and run at times - not good

Jago
www.couchto-5k.com

Badgergirl said...

Nice suggestions! I agree the music is a must have. And it helps that the treadmills at my gym have their own TVs, at least I can choose what I stare at.

But like so many others, I still dread my time on the treadmill. It's a necessary evil though.

Meg Runs said...

OMG, I would need to be paid to run on a treadmill. I just can't stay in one place that long, I SOOOO admire all of you that can train on one. Truly, you are all so mentally strong!

X-Country2 said...

I can't do treadmills no matter how hard I try. It's too easy to quit for me.

Jess said...

Those are good tips. They would help me get maybe a mile in.

lindsay said...

Great compilation of tips. I would also suggest putting a movie or sporting event on if a tv is available. Movies have distracted me and watching a soccer game (or something) motivates me a little since those people are all running too. The tm and I are going to become good friends soon I feel... Or well hopefully it will be nice to me anyway!

Jill said...

Hey...I found your blog and have enjoyed reading, thanks!

I have been forced to run many miles on a treadmill before; I even ran 18 as a long run once before Boston. I know, yuck! But I broke it up in segments and made it into a game (one mile faster, one slow, one up, one down, etc) and it was so convenient for water and bathroom stops.

I'll enjoy reading up on your journey!

Emily said...
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