It seems like everyone is always bashing the poor treadmill! Some call it the ‘dreadmill’, oh, that makes it sound so painful! While most of us do find that running outside is more pleasurable then running on a treadmill, there are those times that simply call for it. If you live in an area of the country that gets a lot of snow, there may be some days when running outside is just not practical or safe. What about runners with small children? Sometimes the only way to get in a run is to sneak one in during a nap or while the child is distracted with another activity. Then there are those of us who for example may be on call for work and it would be impractical to carry a laptop during the run in case we got a call. Whatever your reason is, fear not, because you are about to find out how to turn the dreadmill from something you loathe into something you anticipate. I discovered that the key to looking forward to the treadmill was distraction. Here are some ways that I distract myself from reality while running on a treadmill.
- Plan workouts around a favorite TV show, movie or sporting event. Think about it, lets say you have a 1 hour run planned, but have to do it on the treadmill, and you also planned on catching an hour of ‘La Tour de France’, or maybe its Sunday and you want to watch football, plan to do your run and watch it at the same time. Now you’ve not only distracted yourself from focusing on the ‘dreadmill’ but you’ve just gained an hour in your day where you won’t be sitting in front of the TV!
- Catch up on podcasts. If your an avid podcast listener, then no doubt you’ve got several shows in the queue, and if your not, then get over to iTunes and start searching for podcasts on topics that interest you, its a great way to learn something new, get inspired or get up to date on all the celebrity gossip. What ever your interest, there’s a podcast for that!. Here’s a tip, while listening to a podcast on a treadmill, turn off the TV monitor. Yes, that’s right, turn it off! Why? It will distract you from immersing yourself in the podcast and will defeat the purpose. You want to be immersed in the sound you are hearing as it will transport you and you will forget that you are actually indoors running on a treadmill! And if your not a podcast listener, never heard of a podcast and don’t own an MP3 player or iPod, then learn more here and then start shopping
- Play the hill game. Lets say I need to run 6 miles on the treadmill, but that number sounds so dreadful and I can’t imagine completing it, that’s when I play the hill game. The objective is to alternate between running on an incline and running flat, I have to keep increasing the hill grade or the speed every half mile. If I miss an increase at any point because I forgot or I felt it was too hard, then I don’t get the reward at the end. The reward here is important, I usually choose something tasty like treating myself to some Gelato after dinner. Now, you may be thinking that this sounds incredibly hard, but its not! Let me tell you why. You will start out at an easy speed and a 1% incline, after the first half mile, you increase the incline to 1.5%, then the next half mile, increase again to 2%. When that half mile is complete, reduce the incline back DOWN to 1% and increase the speed from where you started, let’s say 6 mph to 6.2 mph. Now you will notice that the pace feels easier than it did when you started. Ok, so this is how a 6 mile run might play out.
Speed Incline Distance 6.0 1% 0.5 6.0 1.5% 1.0 6.2 1% 1.5 6.2 2% 2.0 6.4 1% 2.5 6.4 2.5% 3.0 6.6 1% 3.5 6.6 3% 4.0 6.8 1% 4.5 6.8 3.5% 5.0 7.0 1% 5.5 7.0 4% 6.0
The hill portions will feel hard and get harder, but you only have to tough it out for a half mile, then you get a reprieve for a half mile. You’ll see how easy the flat portions of this workout feel, you may even notice yourself wanting to increase the speed, your legs are going to want to fly! If that’s the way you are feeling, an alternative to the workout above is to save the last mile for some fun. After you’re finished with the hills, put the treadmill back down to 1%, then start increasing the speed for the last mile. Your legs are going to feel great now, so just keep increasing the speed as long as it feels comfortable to hold it. Remember, you don’t want to reduce the speed otherwise you lose the game and no reward! So don’t go too crazy right away and have fun!