Monday, December 19, 2011

Making Treadmill Running Suck Less

I used to hate treadmill running. No wait, let me rephrase that. I used to HAAAAAAATE treadmill running. But these days, thanks for a tricky little combination of technology, training tweaks, and xanex mixed with wine, I actually kind of love it.

The truth is, a girl like me has little to no chance of avoiding the treadmill all together. Between momming, working, coaching, and living in the frozen tundra called Maine, it's almost impossible to exclusively run on the roads. During the summer, when it's light until 9, I do 95% of my running outside. But this time of year it flip-flops and I'm almost entirely inside.

Last night I ran 12 miles on the treadmill, and believe it or not, I was pretty content while I did it. Seriously, I was. So, in an effort to make the world a happier place, I give you my tips for making treadmill running enjoyable...or at the very least, not homicidal.

1) Get yourself a decent treadmill. I bought mine from a guy on craigslist. When I bought it, it was 4 years old and had 39 total miles. It was originally $1,800 (I saw the receipt), but I paid $500.

2) Put your treadmill where no one will bother you. Mine's in my 1970s wood paneled basement. Sometimes, I'm not even kidding, we get wood peckers down there. Don't be jealous.

3) Vary your workouts. If you run 3 miles at an 11 minute mile pace every single day, you'll need psychotropic medication within 3 months. Vary your distance, incline, and speed during every run. Try changing something about your run every 2 minutes--the variety really pushes the time along. You can find some good ideas for mixing it up here and here.

4) Keep your cross-training gear nearby. If you can reach it, you're more likely to use it. I also like to grab a set of weights and do some upper body exercises during my easy recovery runs--lateral raises, curls, tricep extensions, overhead presses, you get it.

5) Keep your kids busy while you run. There's nothing worse than straining to scream ideas to bored kids over the roar of a treadmill motor. For example: I SAID PLAY WITH YOUR BLOCKS, NOT EAT YOUR SISTER'S HAIR!!!! I keep some extra cool toys in the basement that my kids are only allowed to play with while I'm running on the treadmill. The stump-shaped tent? Amazing. For tiny babies, a swing is the perfect solution.

6) For the love of all things holy, watch some tv! Nothing shocks me more than hearing people talk about what they listen to on the treadmill. People, the treadmill is not a place for simple listening--it's a place for watching the smuttiest reality trash ever produced in the history of mankind. My favorites? Sister Wives, Ruby, Sixteen and Pregnant, Coming Out Stories, Jersey Shore...okay, I'm starting to embarrass myself.

(Psst. Keep your remotes close by.)

 7) You can access said smut for the low price of $59.99 with a Roku Box. This little beauty lets you stream Netflix and Hulu right through your tv.

8) Make a regular effort to run at and uncomfortably fast pace for a few minutes here and there, this makes your regular pace running feel so much easier.

9) Don't be afraid to eat some Skittles while your run.

10) And finally, give yourself time to get used to it. The more you run on the treadmill, the more natural it starts to feel.

How about you? Any good dreadmill tricks you want to share?


  1. Skittles! That's what I'm missing! ;) If I could hear the tv, I'd do better with the treadmill. It seems like no matter where I am, I can never quite hear what they're saying, and it makes me mad. I mean, if they're pulling each other's hair on jersey shore, you've got to know why, right?

  2. I watch tv on my laptop with headphones. Drowns out BOTH the sound of the 'mill AND the incessant fighting between my boys :)
    That's also the time the boys are allowed to either watch a show or play on the computer (or, after Christmas, play wii. I know. We're like the last family ON EARTH to get one).
    Also, I've been known to either (a) drink Coke (long runs mostly) or (b) eat chocolate while running...maybe...

  3. I threaten to stab myself in the eyeball with a rusty butter knife if I don't do run on the treadmill on days I can't manage to run outside (during a nor'easter, for example). Seriously, I'm trying to give the dreadmill a little love, but boy oh boy is it hard. So far speedwork (a la HIIT)is the only time I can stand it because I know it'll be over soon:) At least I'm still trying though!!

  4. Wow, didn't know you ran everyday with the 11mmp. That's good to know. I figured you be running daily at a 6/7mmp... I thought the only way to get fast is push harder/faster. No wonder I'm consumed with injury. Your blogs are full of good info and shared humor!