Surviving Treadmill Workouts

The past couple weeks have been mostly treadmill workouts for me. I’ve done everything from easy runs to speedwork to long runs on the treadmill. I went out on Saturday to run in the snow and came home with shin splints so that won’t be happening again.

Where the magic happens
Where the magic happens

A lot of people tell me I am crazy for doing so many runs on the treadmill and others don’t know how I can do it. When it comes to not getting a good workout in outside verses getting a good one inside on a treadmill I’ll always choose the good workout.

Here are some of my treadmill surviving tips.

1.) Put a towel over the screen. Otherwise you will be looking down every 10 seconds expecting minutes to have passed when only seconds have. I actually don’t put a towel over the screen anymore but I used to when I first started treadmill running.

ebibsminontreadmill2.) Distract yourself. I have a TV in front of the treadmill, mounted on the wall. I find something to watch where I don’t have to pay much attention. During wedding planning it was Say Yes To The Dress but I’ve graduated to anything on HGTV. Big fan of Property Brothers and House Hunters International. I’ll watch TV for the first 3 miles and then if I want to I’ll put my head phones in. Make sure you have a killer playlist! Mine includes Pump It by the Black Eyed Peas, Get Busy by Sean Paul and Pon on De Replay by Rihanna. Yes it is 2014 and I still listen to these!

Hello Property Brothers, let's go break down some walls
Hello Property Brothers, let’s go break down some walls.

3.) Constant Change. Since you are going to be tempted to keep looking at the screen you might as well keep changing the pace. Start at a 6.0 (Or whatever is comfortable for you) and increase .1 every 4 mins and don’t stop until you get to 7.0. Next time you come to the treadmill start at a 6.1 and every week increase where you start (6.3, 6.4, 6.5 etc).

4.) Google Treadmill Workouts. There are tons of them out there Catching my Breath had a good one a few weeks ago but there are even ones that are only 20 minutes. One of my favorite workouts I saw in a magazine. It’s probably supposed to be done outside but I’ve done it inside and loved it.

Injury Proof Workout
Injury Proof Workout

I realize the picture isn’t that great but the workout is to warm up and then do 12 x 3 minutes at marathon pace. Sometimes I do a 3 mile warm up and then do 20 x 3 minutes at marathon pace with 30-60 seconds recovery inbetween. It makes the miles click by!

5.) Water and snacks if you are going longer than 45 minutes. I take Nuun and Clif Shot Blocks with me. I tell myself I can have water every so many minutes and shot blocks every 40 minutes or so. Obviously I have water whenever I am thirsty but it’s that little reward that helps to get me through the run.

Nuun Hydration
Nuun Hydration

6.) Day dream and think. This is one of the easiest things for me to do while running. I imagine myself running a specific race, crushing my time and how if would feel to get that goal. Before I know it a mile has passed. Then I pretend I am Fergie from Black Eyed Peas when Pump It comes on so I imagine my routine when I take the stage. Sounds a little crazy but it makes the miles go by. Think about the accomplishment of how good it will feel when you are done! Sweaty and done!

Sweat and make no excuses
Sweat and make no excuses

My two cents on the “1% rule” is that I really don’t think it makes a difference. I did most of my training for my first 2 marathons on a treadmill and never used the incline but I did qualify for Boston! When I did use the 1% incline regularly I ended up injured. If you want to do a hill workout I think the treadmill is a great spot. However, I don’t think putting the treadmill at 1% for every run will make a difference.

I do highly recommend getting outside when the roads are clear and a little warmer. The pounding of the treadmill and the pounding outside are different on your body. You will want some road running on your legs before your race comes up. It will hurt if you don’t.

Do you run on the treadmill? What are some of your tips?

10 thoughts on “Surviving Treadmill Workouts

  1. The towel over the screen is SUCH a good tip. Must remember to start putting a towel in my gym bag. I read a good interval tip in either Runner’s World or Self (I can’t remember which) for when you’re watching TV on the treadmill: run at normal pace while the show is on, and then increase the speed during commercials, going back down when the show returns. For me, it works out really well!

  2. Great article. I started running on the treadmill again over the past two weeks. Haven’t done it in a couple years. I actually enjoy it.

    Also, coincidentally enough I was just reading Runner’s World and they have an article debunking the 1% rule to mimic the outdoors. The original study said it only worked on people running 7:09 minute per mile pace or faster.

  3. Great tips, and thanks for sharing my post! I really don’t mind the treadmill, albeit I wouldn’t mind some nicer weather so it would be easier to get some more runs in outside right now. I am 100% with you on the daydreaming and thinking thing, I do that all the time no matter if I am on treadmill or outside..Visualize races, runs, finish lines… I make to do lists in my head.. all of it. Definitely helps make the time pass quicker!

  4. Thank you SO MUCH for the idea about the towel over the screen. I’ve been doing all of my running inside because the weather has been so bad and while I don’t think that treadmill running is nearly as bad as many runners make it out to be (and I have a short attention span too!), I definitely do catch myself looking at the screen far too often. That’s a great tip!

  5. I found that when I used to get on a treadmill, I would get quickly bored and rarely pushed myself like I should.  A friend told me about some killer treadmill workouts on iTunes.  They basically have a top-notch trainer taking you through a HIIT routine for the treadmill.  Seriously kicks my butt every time, in just 20 minutes: http://bit.ly/TreadmillExpress_iTunes.

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