It’s winter, and that means that some days are just too cold or too icy to get outside for a run. When this happens, you may reluctantly turn to the treadmill. Let’s be honest, for most of us, the treadmill isn’t fun; it’s just a way to get workouts done. But you don’t have to hate it. We’re not here to tell you that we can make the treadmill as fun as running outside, but we do have some tips to help you get through your next treadmill run without dying of boredom.
Do a workout
If you only take it easy on the treadmill, you might actually end up hating yourself and the machine by the end of the winter. Mix things up and complete your regular workouts while on the treadmill. This will keep you focused on your goal, the boredom will be replaced by effort and pain and when you get off the treadmill, you’ll feel satisfied and maybe even happy. Even on days when you’re supposed to take it easy, try mixing things up by adjusting the incline, just to add a bit of spice to an otherwise boring day.
When you’re running outside, listening to music or a podcast can be enough entertainment, but when you’re inside on the treadmill and staring at the same spot on the wall, you might need a bit more stimulation to keep the boredom at bay. Grab your laptop or tablet and set up a movie or your favourite TV show in front of you, so you can distract and entertain yourself while running. Even better, watch old race highlights (or if you’re running on an actual race day, try to find the livestream). Seeing other people running, and running well, will inspire you to keep powering forward, and it’ll make your time on the treadmill a lot easier.
Invite a friend to the gym
If you have a gym membership, take a friend and use the treadmills there. Working out next to someone else won’t necessarily make running on the treadmill easier, but being able to chat with them will certainly help the time fly by quicker than if you were all alone. A bonus is that you’ll never run out of things to talk about, because even if you exhaust all other topics of conversation, you can always revert back to saying how much you hate the treadmill.
Zwift is a virtual running platform that takes you into the magical land of Watopia, the program’s simulated world. There, you can run along the streets and watch the kilometres click by. You can join group training runs with other Zwifters, and even enter races. A virtual run is no replacement for the real thing, but Zwift is a good distraction from your time on the treadmill.
Don’t watch the clock
This isn’t something you can do to help pass the time on the treadmill, but rather something not to do. If you stare at the clock the entire time you’re running, just wishing you could get off, then it will feel like the longest run of your life. Avoid looking at the time as much as possible, or even block the treadmill’s digital timer with a towel so you don’t accidentally catch a glimpse of it. Trust us, not knowing how much longer you have to go will actually help.
This story originally appeared on runningmagazine.ca