If you're not a fan of running, the treadmill can seem like the worst invention ever. But if you're training for a race or just trying to keep up your cardiovascular health, there's nothing wrong with using one—as long as you find ways to make it less miserable. Here are four ways to make your treadmill runs less miserable:
Use the treadmill with a clear goal in mind.
To make the most of your time on the treadmill, you should set a goal. Your personal trainer may have suggested this to you in the past, but it's worth repeating: if you don't know where you're going, how will you know when—and if—you get there?
This could mean setting a distance or pace goal for one run. Or it could mean setting a specific calorie burn goal for each workout. It doesn't matter what type of objective or target motivates you; just choose something that resonates with your fitness goals and makes sense for your health level so that when it comes time to assess how well things are going, there's no confusion about whether or not progress has been made.
Run alongside other people.
Working out with others can be a huge motivator! If you’ve had a long day, you’re tired, and really not looking forward to your planned run, it’s a lot easier to skip it if the only person you have to answer to is yourself; we can all find ways to justify it to ourselves and tell ourselves we’ll make up for it. If you have other people relying on you to turn up, you’ll get it done.
Experiment with your playlist.
Maintaining a consistent running schedule is difficult enough without having to deal with the monotony of listening to your favorite song on repeat. Here are a few ways you can change up your music to help make your treadmill runs more enjoyable:
- Try different types of music. If country isn't doing it for you, try pop or rock. Maybe even some rap!
- Experiment with new genres, artists and playlists. Music has the power to inspire and motivate us by helping us tap into our emotions, so there's no wrong way to go about this process—as long as whatever genre or artist feels right at the moment will get you motivated for that run!
- Test out different speeds and tempos with different volume levels too!
Adjust the interval length.
Short intervals are more intense than long intervals, so you'll be able to run faster and harder than if you have longer periods between each set of repeats. If you're just beginning to run, start with shorter intervals (like 30 seconds) and work your way up as your fitness level increases. For instance, if your first goal is running a mile nonstop three times in a row without stopping at all, then do this by alternating walking for 1 minute between each run segment until you can do it without stopping at all. Then increase the length of each run segment by 5 minutes until it's 10 minutes long, then 15 minutes—and so on until you reach 20 minutes total!
You can be happy on a treadmill!
Yes, you can be happy on a treadmill. The Treadmill is not the enemy. It’s not your nemesis and it’s not even a cruel mistress. The treadmill is an instrument that you can use to achieve whatever goals you set for yourself – as long as you don’t think of it in terms of “I hate this stupid thing! I want off!” Instead, think about how much better off you will be when your goal is achieved and what physical improvements will come from your hard work during those hours spent on the belt-driven torture device. Also try taking a BCAA supplement during your run to avoid sore muscles.
The key to making treadmill running less miserable is to turn it into a game, experiment, and have fun. You’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to get through those long runs when you’re enjoying yourself on the treadmill!