Surviving the Dreadmill

Oh, treadmill, aka dreadmill. How I love to hate thee. I was super excited about our treadmill in the beginning and welcomed the opportunity to be able to run inside at home without having to go to the gym. The treadmill was a faithful companion to me while I was pregnant, and I logged lots of miles walking away while watching my all-time favorite show, Gilmore Girls. (Gilmore Girls makes all forms of exercise palatable, I think.)Β  However, the current treadmill setup does not allow for watching DVDs, and I seem to have somehow lost the adapter that allowed me to hook up my mp3 player to the treadmill. I tried running on it with my headphones, but I got so sweaty that they kept coming out. (Ew, gross, I know.) All that to say, I’ve been running in silence, which is a new thing for me. And it’s a struggle. This morning the last thing I wanted to do was get on that dreadmill again, but with it being so dark in the mornings, I haven’t felt safe running in my neighborhood with its limited supply of streetlights. So the treadmill it was. I’m sure I’m not alone with my mixed feelings regarding this piece of exercise equipment, so I’ve compiled a list of tips to help you survive that time on the tread.

1. Set a minimum goal, either time or distance. This morning I told myself I HAD to run for at least 10 minutes and then I could stop if I wanted to. Once 10 minutes came, I decided that I may as well run a full mile since that would be less than 2 more minutes, so I did that, but then I decided hey, why not run for 15 minutes? Then I decided to go for 1.5 miles, and before I knew it I had clocked 2 miles on the treadmill when all I’d planned was 10 minutes! (FYI: this little tip works for any kind of exercise. Give yourself 10 minutes, and odds are you’ll more than likely do much more than that.)

2. Change it up. Setting the treadmill at one pace and leaving it there the whole time is a surefire recipe for boredom. I love to change up the pace or the incline when I am feeling like quitting. I’ll even change the pace every 10 seconds or so if I’m really desperate, and it makes clockwatching more enjoyable.

3. Finish faster than you started. This is a good general rule to follow when running anyway, but I have a hard time gauging my pace outside. However, the treadmill tells me exactly how fast (or rather slow, as the case may be) I am going. When I’m on the treadmill I make sure that I increase my pace so that I am not ending my run at the same pace that I began it. This also ensures that I will have negative splits. This morning, for example, I started out at 5 mph and ended at 5.7 mph. I finished my first mile in 11:45 and my second in 11:15. I’m pretty proud of that.

4. Cover up the display. If I am looking at the display on the tread every.single.minute, I know it’s time to cover it up or I will go insane. Just throw a towel on there and resist the urge to peek underneath it every other second.

5. Use music to motivate. Even though I am not using music right now, I’ve used it a lot in the past and have found it to be HUGE boost when I need it. Tell yourself you can’t look at the clock until you’ve made it through 2 whole songs, or change the pace every time a song changes. If you create a playlist, put some of your favorite workout songs in the middle or toward the end, to give yourself the drive to finish strong.

Now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear how you make it through a boring workout!

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7 thoughts on “Surviving the Dreadmill

  1. I'm not sure if this will work in your situation or not, but my treadmill actually faces a wall & up against the wall is a bookcase filled with my DVDS. I purchased a portable DVD player and even though its a small screen, it's what I play my DVDs on while I'm walking (don't run…yet). It's not as fun as having a big TV but I found I'm not good with music – I have to be watching something. I'm a TV addict. I know portable DVDs players are around $50 I think. Mine has lasted forever so a solid investment in my opinion. For my sanity!

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  2. Oh sorry – most important part – the portable DVD player sits on one of the shelves. Now my suggestion probably makes more sense. πŸ™‚

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  3. I have my indoor bike set up to watch TV. But I also walk the neighbourhood with the dog – who keeps my pace brisk – and I enjoy that also.

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  4. Sometimes instead of music, I listen to a podcast like This American Life, The Moth, Joy the Baker, or Wait Wait Don't tell me. That way my brain is entertained by a narrative, and it's a little harder to guess how much time has gone by.

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