A lot of runners refer to the treadmill as the “dreadmill” due to the boredom that is often associated with treadmill running, however, the treadmill can be a useful training tool. It can be utilized for tempo runs, hill work and long runs when it’s too cold, dark or wet to run outdoors. With that being said, many people still find the treadmill tedious.
What steps can you take to try and beat the boredom of running on the hamster wheel that is the treadmill?
You can create a playlist of your favourite songs or put together a specifically designed running playlist. Playlists can consist of either motivational songs (high tempo) or songs which match your cadence or speed (songs which start with a slow tempo for warming up and then gradually increase as the distance goes on). Spotify allows you to create your own playlists, or listen to a playlist created by the community.
There are podcasts on a range of different topics which can be streamed from the internet, or downloaded to your smartphone. Simply find one on a topic which interests you and away you go. The Apple store also has podcasts which can be downloaded, or for Android you can use the Google Play Music app.
If your treadmill has a built in TV aerial you could catch up on your favourite shows. If you have a smartphone or tablet you could stream your chosen show live or use the time to catch up on shows you may have missed. Some people only allow themselves to watch certain shows whilst on the treadmill as a way of motivating themselves to get on it and run.
Mix It Up:
Switch your pace or incline every so often to challenge yourself and keep things interesting. If you always have your treadmill runs at the same settings then your training may be stagnating lead to boredom. Doing the same thing over and over can be mentally tiring and can prevent you from making progress. Up the pace every now and then or throw in some runs at a higher incline than usual to challenge yourself. Most treadmills come with pre-built workouts included, which can be fun as you never know what they are going to throw at you or when the session is due to end.
Don’t Clock Watch:
It can be hard to avoid looking at the stats displayed on the treadmill screen, but over monitoring them can be torturous as it feels like the clock has stopped, or that the distance is going up too slowly. I find it easier when I hide all of the data from the treadmill, as it prevents me from facing a mental battle when I feel like I’ve been running for ages, but it turns out to only have been 90 seconds when I check the clock. The less you think about the process of running, the easier it becomes.
Repeat A Mantra:
Stay focused on your goal and repeat a mantra or two to yourself. Positive thinking is a powerful tool, and by repeating a mantra to yourself, you may be able to push yourself a little further. I often repeat “as long as you’re moving, you’re improving” to myself during my runs, and think back to where I first started to see how far I’ve come and then visualise where I want my training to take me (a marathon finishing line).
For me, treadmill running plays an important part in my plan, and I embrace that – I often run without music (just the quiet background music from my local gym), and with no TV or podcasts. I like to focus on my form and just take some time to think about what I’m doing and what I want to achieve.
I have spent a lot of time on the treadmill, but I never feel bored as I set myself a training goal before the session and ensure that I achieve it. If I’m struggling to find motivation for my treadmill workout, I will pick an audiobook or TV show and allow myself to watch that whilst running. For speed work I often find that I can push harder or longer if I have some music on.
Find what works for you, and if you still can’t find motivation for treadmill running, perhaps you should review your plan and see if you can find a local track or hill to get some practice on instead.