Winter's in full swing, and for many of us that means being barred from outdoor running days due to snow, ice and the like. That means trudging to the gym to hop on the treadmill, otherwise known as the dreadmill. But with these running tips you can come to survive your treadmill workouts, and maybe even enjoy them... hey, it's better than putting on 50 layers and getting honked at by skidding cars, right?
8 Treadmill Running Tips
1. Bring music or entertainment. Whether you're one of those gifted people who is blessed with the ability to run and read or you just like music, come prepared with something to distract you from staring at the numbers slowly creep on the treadmill. I like to listen to my running mixes and turn the songs louder as the run goes on. But that is me, the uncoordinated runner who cannot read or watch shows at the same time as running.
2. Do a speed workout. Mix up your treadmill run by varying the intensity. It will make the time go much faster by breaking it up into small segments (for instance, run 2 minutes fast and 2 slow, etc). There's nothing worse than creeping along at the same pace and staring down at the numbers go up slower than the outdoor temperature.
3. Race the person next to you. Ok, maybe not literally, but playing mind games definitely helps pass the time. Bring a friend to run with and you can distract each other and motivate one another...or enter a silent race with the person next to you. Just try not to fall if your competition is super fast.
4. Give yourself incentives. For every treadmill run you complete, reward yourself. Try to be semi healthy and not pick something like a whole pizza, but treat yourself to your favorite drink, a bath, or something small you've been wanting. After all, conquering the treadmill is cause for celebration.
5. When all else fails, mix it up. If you can only tolerate the treadmill for a mile or two, add cardio to your workout by alternating the treadmill and the stationary bike (I know, I know, so exciting) or elliptical machine (hey, physical therapists recommend it for your joints!). Mixing up your cardio machines in now workout is great for us ADD gym goers.
6. Take this time to get strong AF. Winter is the perfect time to strength train, work on form drills and prepare to be in top form for spring. When that ice melts away, you'll be tearing it up on the track (or at least looking strong while trying).
7. Do virtual hills. I know, I know, adding incline to your treadmill run probably sounds as appealing as never-ending winter, but hear me out. Varying your incline is better training for outdoor running, as it simulates the natural ups and downs we hit running outside. Also, incline variation, as with speed changes, will mix up your run and add variety. And isn't that what we all want on the treadmill, a break from the monotony?
8. Pretend you're somewhere else. If you're lucky, your treadmill will have a virtual reality option that lets you "visit" places like a California beach or the Alps. Take advantage if this is an option. Even if you're uncoordinated like me, you'll be able to stare at that changing scenery ahead of you and frolic among Swiss people or antelope. And if your treadmill is the run of the mill type without this alternate universe where you can fly by virtual creatures? Well then, we can use our imaginations (that thing we used to use back in the day, before cell phones). Envision yourself running each mile in one of your favorite places, and you'll trick yourself into an amazing run. Just don't smile too hard or you'll lose the treadmill race.
If you're in the market for a treadmill, check out these treadmill reviews.