The problem with running in place is it can feel like running in place. Killing your time with exertion can make you wonder why you wanted to live longer in the first place.
Treadmill manufacturers are aware of this and have created apps and whole platforms to keep you motivated and/or distracted during your workouts. However, not everyone's into solving problems with technology.
So we offer some great ideas gleaned from around the internet for those of you who prefer to generate your own enthusiasm and make your treadmill workouts more fun.
Explore Your Workout Options.
Self.com lists 20 treadmill workouts that use interval training and a treadmill's speed and incline settings to keep you challenged, goal-focused, and energized. The short bursts of activity incinerate calories and bolster your cardio health. By comparison, the slowdowns between these bursts feel like you're resting, although you're still exercising.
As a bonus, most of the workouts on the list can be completed in 10 minutes – so you don't even have time to feel like you're working. The variety of exercises also diminishes any sense of a repetitive grind. You can switch your focus between fat-burning, cardio, glute development, and building your speed and endurance.
Take a Page from Outdoor Running's Book.
Interval training isn't the only way to go. Two other run styles are adaptable to the treadmill.
The first is tempo running. Unlike interval training, tempo running asks you to maintain a reasonably high pace for a longer period of time, like 20 to 30 minutes. The pace is supposed to be comfortably challenging but not an all-out sprint.
If you like your run a little more free-form, consider a fartlek run. Sure it's a funny-sounding word (some English words sound funny in other countries, too), but it actually is about fun. The Swedish word translates to "speed play," and playing with speed is literally what you're doing.
You might break into a sprint when you feel like testing yourself, then slow down when you think you need a rest. You can pre-select when and how long you do each in more structured forms, but many prefer romping at their whims, like an unleashed dog.
Necessary reminder: You'll want to make sure your heart is up for either type of run. So take your first jog to the doctor's office for a check-up.
Once you're cleared, you'll discover trying these running workouts on your treadmill is a bit of a trade-off. You gain the advantage of not stopping at crosswalks, etc., but you lose the scenery, interactions and hills to conquer. However, there's a simple way to reclaim that feeling – and you've been able to do it all your life.
Use Your Imagination.
"Visualize a route," Very Well Fit advises on its list of 14 Tips for Treadmill Running. If there's a route you regularly run or drive, you can easily transport your indoor run outdoors – even change the weather, if you like. If your treadmill has incline and speed settings, you can even accentuate the hills you climb and the flats you sprint through.
Your imagination can do more than transport you. A recent study documented how a technique known as Functional Imagery Training (FIT) helped non-runners complete an ultra-marathon. Multi-sensory mental projections of achievement can propel you through the adversity of getting tough things done. The more accurately your mind can detail the sight, sound, feel, smell, taste and emotion of a post-triumphant moment, the more likely it will happen for real.
Of course, this method is just as effective with negative projections, so the choice of feeling upbeat or beat up belongs to you.
There's an excellent list at rundeepmag.com documenting common sense ways to keep your mind on the right track for a great treadmill workout. These include:
- Go in with a plan, so you'll know what your workout's supposed to accomplish and how you'll get it done.
- Move your treadmill so you're facing a window instead of a crack in the wall.
- Let fresh air circulate whenever possible.
- Keep yourself pumped up with motivating music or at least distracted by fascinating podcasts and video content.
- Promise yourself rewards for finishing workouts.
It's worth noting that workout planning, motivational media, and rewards are vital components of the leading training apps for exercise equipment. Their inclusion is the result of tons of user feedback.
Those leading programs also offer instantaneous console tracking of your progress, heart rate, calorie-burning, etc. Here's where Run Deep makes a surprising recommendation: Hide your screen under a towel.
There's wisdom in that idea that may apply to several treadmill users. Watching things like seconds ticking down can remind you that you still have work ahead of you, and it can make hitting that pause button more inviting.
Take Your Workout in a Whole New Direction.
Ironically, no one's come up with a new way to say, "Variety is the spice of life." Maybe that's because the phrase is universally applicable – even to treadmill workouts.
You can find nine high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise options on self.com designed to make those exercise sessions more exciting. There are fresh ideas on sharpening your focus, improving your posture and form, and testing your speed and endurance. One regimen involves stepping off your treadmill for some intermittent strength training.
But that's not this list's most radical departure from the usual treadmill workout.
Have you ever considered treading your mill sideways? Lateral movement, lightly supported by but not leaning on your safety rail, can bolster your heart health, glute development and balance. Don't worry; you won't have to run sideways. But, as any beach crab will tell you, you can get an awesome workout just walking like that.
Remember Your Workout is Important Work.
Gratefully accept your time on the treadmill for what it is – a vital resource for a long and healthy life. It's there for you when the weather outside is dreadful. Having that option means you can always get in your recommended 150 minutes of exercise each week. That, in turn, means a stronger heart, a trimmer body, stable insulin levels, more immunity from diseases, and more energy to enjoy the real fun in your life.
Talented people who design treadmills and treadmill exercises can definitely lighten your workload. But, of course, you're the one who decides what you're working to achieve.
Take Your First Treadmill Step at Flaman Fitness.
Finding the right treadmill for you is another crucial part of keeping your workout regimen on track. Our showroom features top treadmills from leading manufacturers like Assault, Bodycraft, Bowflex, Nautilus, Schwinn, Spirit Fitness, Star Trac, and Xebex.
Call or visit your nearest Flaman Fitness location. Discuss your needs, budget and available space with our treadmill experts. They'll be glad to help you find the machine that keeps you interested, in step, and in shape.