Monday, January 10, 2011

A Fun Treadmill Mind Game

It's funny how just the other day I talked about how I avoid the treadmill at all costs, and then over the weekend, the D.C. area gets hit with just enough snow to make the sidewalks too slippery for me to run on and I'm forced into the gym to do my long run on the treadmill.

New Year's Resolution: 36/365(Source)

Running on the treadmill is boring, there's no doubt about that, and nothing is worse than doing a long run on the treadmill.

Since I was looking at an hour and 20 minutes on the treadmill, I came up with a mind game to keep me entertained.

I wanted to share it because I know a lot of other runners are forced to use treadmills in the winter and maybe a trick like this will help the time fly faster for you too.

Jess' Treadmill Mind Game:

Before you get on the treadmill, visualize a route you want to run. I recommend selecting a route that you very commonly run outdoors, something that you are extremely familiar with.
Then get on the treadmill and start running.
As you watch the time on the treadmill tick by, adjust the incline to mimic the hills on your actual outside route. So if in the first minute of your outside route, you have a flat path, hike the incline to 1 and run along until you hit your first uphill. If at five minutes you run up a steep hill in your outside route, mimic that incline on the treadmill.
Do this for the entire length of your run.

This works for two reasons.

First, you re-create outside conditions to the best of your ability. In the outside world, hills aren't pre-programmed to come one right after another like they are on the treadmill setting. Outside some are big, some are small. You have long, slow climbs and steep, short climbs. By manually adjusting the incline to mimic an outside route, you challenge yourself by mixing it up.

Second, this plan forces you to constantly think about what's coming next in your outside route so you can program the treadmill according. Paying attention to that takes your mind off the monotony of running in place. If you're picturing your outside route, visualizing the hills and the scenery outside, it makes your treadmill run that much more bearable.

Running on the treadmill won't ever live up to a run outside, but this little mind game can help you get through those runs when you don't have any choice but to use the treadmill.

What mind games do you use to make treadmill running more bearable?

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