How to Run on a Treadmill and Not Get Bored

Love running but hate the cold? You aren’t alone. Many marathoners and other long distance runners can’t stand training during the winter months. In addition to wearing extra layers in an attempt to fight off chills, running on ice and snow isn’t exactly ideal. Plus, your chance of getting injured escalates in these conditions. Your only option if you want to continue to train is to run on a treadmill, which can be a complete drag for someone who’s used to running outside.

Luckily, there are a number of ways to make running on a treadmill less boring and something you may even look forward to.

  1. Add Some Hills

Trick your brain and legs into thinking you’re outdoors by adding a few hills to your treadmill routine. Increase the incline little by little throughout your run or opt for a pre-programmed workout that adds incline intervals for you.  This way, you won’t have to worry about pressing buttons during your run. Plus, the integration of hills will present you with challenges to overcome throughout your run, giving you the motivation to keep going.

2. Try the Around the World Routine

Another effective way to switch up your run and avoid boredom is to try the around the world routine. This method will help to increase both coordination and speed and keep you on your toes during your run. Begin with a five-minute warmup. Then, side shuffle for two minutes, switching sides halfway through. Next power skip for one minute, perform lunges for another minute and then jog for another minute. Repeat as many times as you’d like, increasing the incline each time.

3. Run in Sets

You might also take your training off the treadmill and only run in sets. This would require you to run for a few minutes then hop off the treadmill for a few full-body strength exercises. These might include planks, kettlebell swings or pushups. Once you’ve completed your exercises, hop back on the treadmill for a few more minutes. Repeat multiple times and be sure to plan this routine beforehand so you’re able to stick to it once you’re at the gym.

4. Complete an Interval Workout

If you’d rather not repeatedly hop on and off the treadmill, try completing an interval workout instead. This routine is simple yet effective in blasting fat and improving your stamina. Begin with a short warmup, then alternate between short sprints at your max speed and longer jogs at your typical pace. Max yourself out during the sprints and allow yourself to recover in between. This will help you to break free from the monotony of running on the treadmill.

5. Entertain Yourself

Finding ways to distract yourself on the treadmill is the holy grail to preventing boredom. Download or make a pumped-up playlist that will motivate you to go hard and press on. Listen to a podcast or watch a tv show on your smartphone or the gym’s television. You might even read a book or listen to one on audio to take your mind off running in a stationary spot for hours on end.

6. Turn Your Focus Inward

If you’re someone who tends to lose themself in the simple act of running, however, turning your focus inward may be a better option. Opt for a simple music playlist and turn your attention inward to the sensations and emotions within yourself. Do a body scan, paying attention to your breath and how each party of your body feels during the run. Doing so may be effective in distracting you and also revealing more about your habits, strengths and weaknesses.

7. Run With a Friend

Bringing a friend or running buddy to the gym with you may also be a great way to avoid boredom. Bonus points if they’re also a long-distance runner. Turn your workout into a competition or simply hold conversations throughout your run. This will help you both keep each other company and motivate you to finish your routine strong. You might even forget you’re running on a treadmill.

Keep Your Goals in Mind

While the above boredom busters may be effective at first, any routine can become monotonous after some time. Therefore, if running on the treadmill is your only option for the foreseeable future, it’s important to keep your goals in mind. Are you training for a race, trying to stay fit or attempting to beat a personal record? Let these goals motivate you to keep running, even if doing so does get boring from time to time. Remember, you’ll be outside running again soon enough.