Since I started running oh-so-long ago, most of my miles have been dedicated to roads, sidewalks and paths outside. I have very rarely run on the treadmill and for good reason. I have never understood the people that can knock out mile after mile on this machine… I have hated it so much that I call it the “dreadmill.”
The thing is, the treadmill is a useful workout tool. If the weather sucks or if you are traveling and have no other options, spending some time on the treadmill can help you get your miles in and not compromise your fitness goals.
Since our fitness center opened at our apartment complex (wahoo!), I have been trying to spend one day a week on the treadmill. I know that the Texas heat this summer will be killer for my Norwegian blood. Treadmill running will give me a much needed option on those days when my blood is boiling just from walking out the door.
I must say, over the past few weeks, my feelings for the treadmill have changed. The first time I ran on it, the time ticked by ever so slowly. Since then, I’ve learned a few strategies that have helped me fall in love with treadmill running:
1. Set your goals before you even start a run. There have been times where I have gotten on a treadmill and been like, I’ll just run until I’m done. Maybe 7, maybe 5… but just until I am ready to get off.
WRONG ANSWER. Because I feel like the treadmill is such a mental game, not having a plan of attack beforehand can set you up for failure. Either set a time or distance goal before you even hit start on that treadmill.
2. Keep your mind intrigued. Like I said earlier, I feel like treadmill running is a mental game. Starting at the same thing gets so. boring. I can’t even keep my mind happy with some bad reality television. That being said, I’ve learned that playing with the incline and speed helps a TON. I usually increase the incline every .25 miles, then decrease after .25 miles (unless I am trying to recreate a “hill”). It gives my mind something to look forward to without challenging my body too much.
3. Use it for speed work. Kara wrote a great post about how she uses the treadmill to set a speed and run. While she says she feels like she’s cheating in doing this, she’s SMART. How else can you precisely dictate your speed? And after all, the only way to get faster is to run faster. I have been pushing myself to hit those speeds that I need in order to reach my goal of PRing at every distance this year.
4. Switch things up. Sometimes I feel like when you run in different locations (treadmill included) it feels like it’s been awhile since you’ve worked out once you hit your “normal” running route. I like that the treadmill gives me a break from my typical running and switches things up for a day. It helps keep things interesting.
5. Build up mental strength. When it comes to the last few miles of a marathon or that “hard” part of a race, having mental strength makes a world of difference. I am beginning to appreciate how the treadmill helps you build up mental strength throughout your run, which can help you get through those tough runs. Reminding yourself that you made it 8 miles on a treadmill can make those last two miles in the open air not feel so bad.
Are you a treadmill runner? What’s your favorite part about it?
What are your tips for running on a treadmill?
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