Running on the treadmill gets a bad rap. With a nickname like “dreadmill,” it’s not always (or ever) easy to drag yourself to the gym when you know you’re going to spend half an hour on the noisy conveyor belt of doom.
I’m all for running outdoors — nature is good for the body and soul — but indoor running can be a necessary evil when weather or safety conditions make it impossible to run outside.
But treadmill running doesn’t have to be as awful as it’s made out to be: With the right podcast, app or shift in your workout style, your treadmill run will be over before you know it. You may even find yourself extending your run time to finish up your new favorite audiobook.
Podcasts are a great way to pass the time while learning new, fun and interesting information. Many podcasts feature hosts and guests who have journalism or comedy backgrounds, so they’re just the right mix of inquisitive and hilarious. These nine running podcasts offer a wealth of information on health, fitness and life.
Podcasts are great and all, but sometimes you need a little extra “oomph” to get you going, especially on a treadmill. Having a coach is a surefire way to add that oomph to your run — I mean, someone’s counting on you to finish that run and do the best you can. If you don’t have an in-person coach who can stand by your treadmill, enlist one of these guided run apps for a digital coach.
This isn’t a guided running app, but an audiobook app. If you’re a literary nerd or just love a good story, Audible can take you through a run faster than any digital coach could. Audible is especially great for long runs on the treadmill, because you can totally zone out of the real world and into a mythical one.
Other ways to make your ‘mill run more interesting
If podcasts or streaming apps aren’t your jam — maybe you just really don’t like someone talking in your ear, or you’re a music-only type of runner — you can try these other fun ways to beat boredom.
Spice it up with intervals: If you already think running is boring, then chugging along at the same pace for 30 minutes will make it much worse. Instead of a steady-state running workout, try adding intervals — for example, run one minute fast and one minute slow. Not only do intervals make treadmill time go by faster, they’re a fantastic way to increase your cardiovascular capacity.
Make a mental checklist about form: Maybe you don’t want to think about running while you’re running, but making yourself aware of your form can be a great way to both pass the time and make yourself a better runner.
Mentally take note of your neck, shoulders, core, arms and legs. Is your head held high or are you looking at the ground? Stop scrunching up your shoulders. Keep your belly tight. Are your arms moving in sync with your stride? How is your stride, by the way? Take long, powerful steps instead of doing a shuffle.
Cover up the monitor: You know the old adage — a watched clock never turns. Or something like that. It can definitely feel that way when you stare at the clock on a treadmill monitor, so do yourself a favor and just cover it up. Set a time goal at the beginning of the workout and don’t look until the treadmill stops.
Stop running: Yep. Stop running, but don’t stop moving. Try spicing up your treadmill workout with intervals of incline walking, high knees, butt kicks, side steps and even skipping. Sprinkling other forms of movement throughout your run can make it much more fun.