Let’s face it: running on the treadmill can be b-o-r-i-n-g! Whether you run religiously on the treadmill or use it as a place to store laundry, you may find that a good distraction is all you need to pick up the pace (or unbury your machine and get moving). Since I’m starting my training for the Blue Cross Broad Street Run, I decided to ask my coworkers how they get through their treadmill runs.
Here are some tried-and-true tips to make your next treadmill run more fun:
1. Up your screen time.
Couch potatoes, rejoice! You no longer have to feel guilty about binge-watching your favorite shows. In fact, you have an excuse for watching more, as long as you move it to the treadmill. Use a TV, a tablet, or even your phone to find a new series and only allow yourself to watch it on the treadmill. Just think, you can run a marathon (or walk really far) and watch an entire season of Stranger Things or Gilmore Girls or The OA — or whatever your guilty pleasure is. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the new streaming shows coming out, let alone catching some of the oldies you missed, so it’s time to start multitasking.
2. Learn something new.
If you find it hard to focus on a screen while running, a podcast may be more your speed. Listen to stories, get career advice, learn something new, or just LOL with one of your favorite comedians. I promise you, there’s a podcast for everyone. Here are a few to check out during your next treadmill run: This American Life, How I Built This, TEDTalks, and The Ricky Gervais Show.
3. Make your own game.
This one’s especially fun because it’s only limited by your imagination. The idea is to create your own high-intensity interval training (HIIT). You alter the pace and incline to keep your treadmill run interesting and maximize your results. Here are some HIIT treadmill workouts you can try, but it’s more fun to create your own. Give one of these ideas a try:
- Create a playlist that features one of your favorite artists, then up your incline or speed every time you hear a song by that artist. Lower it when that song is over. Try this Broad Street Beats playlist to get you started.
- Choose a word that is used frequently in a song and increase your speed every time you hear it. Go back to your original pace when the song is over and pick a new word.
- Watch your favorite game show and control your speed and incline based on how you answer questions. Up the speed or incline when you miss a question and reset to original pace when you get one right or during commercials.
- Play “I Spy” with objects or people in the gym. Run at a higher pace while you look for five people wearing green shirts and then lower it while you look for five people with Nike shoes (or whatever you can think of).
- Compete with someone next to you or through an app. Running with a friend who can help you keep pace is an easy way to stay motivated, but you can also try “keeping up” with someone on the treadmill next to you or even someone on a treadmill far away. There are plenty of apps that allow you to compete with a friend, another user, or complete a friendly challenge (check out Strava or MapMyRun).
No matter how you pass the time on the treadmill, you’ll find that it’s best to keep switching up your routine. And don’t forget to track your progress! There are so many different apps and smartwatches and fitness bands to make it easy and oh-so-satisfying when you reach a new goal.