Living in New Orleans for many years and having to deal with the blistering summers, it was always a struggle to find alternatives to running outside. The solution seemed simple; go to the gym, get on the treadmill and just run.
But I hated the treadmill.
The sheer monotony of running in place and staring at a wall or a television made me frustrated. I loved running and preferred to do it outdoors. However, when the weather refuses to cooperate with you, the next best thing is this stagnant machine. I would often just stand beside the treadmill, mentally psych myself out even before getting on just to end up leaving the gym.
It doesn’t have to be that way though. For long distance runners, an effective treadmill workout can:
- Improve your speed
- Build your endurance
- Burn more calories quickly
- Give your knees a break from pounding the pavement.
It took me some time to stop dreading my time on the treadmill. I went looking for ways to overcome the boredom I faced on a treadmill, because for me the alternative—not working out at all—was worse.
Here are some tips on how you too can conquer the dread and make the treadmill more fun:
- First, I stopped being negative. I found that part of my problem was my negativity. Even before getting to the gym I would talk myself out of it by finding all the reasons why it was so challenging to get there. So, by the time I found the strength to actually go to the gym, I would make it to the edge of the treadmill and leave. The negativity can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- Next, come with a plan. This was where I struggled most. Part of what I love about running outside, is that I don’t have to really think about it. I put my shoes on and go. There is some planning when I am training for a race, but most of the time I run because I love it. There are various types of running plans to fit your needs. I found that interval training on the treadmill made the most sense in breaking the monotony I hated. Alternating between running and walking on an incline makes the time fly and provides a great workout.
- Finally, it’s all in the playlist. Get pumped up with a fun, upbeat playlist to help you rock your run. I am a big fan of the Rocky Balboa soundtrack. Audiobooks and podcasts are other options. I can get so distracted with a podcast that I do more sets on the treadmill than I initially intended. Moral of the story: get a playlist that works for you. The goal is to get you engrossed in something other than the big screen telling you how much longer you need to go. Side note: it sometimes helps to take a towel and cover the screen.
Bottom line, the treadmill can be boring and it may not be for everyone. However, technology is really changing the way treadmills are made and how we use them. While I still prefer running outdoors to indoors, I have managed to find ways to get in really good workouts on the machine. The key is finding what works for you to get it done so you can be in your best shape for the Marine Corps Historic Half in Fredericksburg on Sunday, May 17. And if you haven’t registered yet, don’t worry, there’s still time.
Written by Veronica Gutierrez
Veronica Gutierrez is a proud military spouse. An avid runner, she joined the MCM Organization as a marketing specialist in October 2019.