We get it: Running on the treadmill might not be the most enjoyable activity. However, treadmill workouts offer many benefits. They provide a more forgiving surface than pavement and thus, are better for your joints in the long term. Treadmill running gives you the ability to run in front of a mirror and check your form. The treadmill also makes it easier to see exactly how far you have run and at what incline.
Finding fun and manageable ways to get on the treadmill will increase your chances of reaping the benefits of these workouts. Fortunately, there are many ways to switch it up and get creative with the treadmill.
Going in with a plan of what you want to accomplish can help you focus while you are on the treadmill. Having a plan such as running three miles or running for 45 minutes can keep you motivated enough to make time fly by.
Thinking about running while on the treadmill makes everything go in slow-motion. So distract yourself by running through a mental checklist of your form.
You can check your neck and correct your posture by imagining it is being pulled up towards the ceiling. You can correct your shoulders by not slouching them or think about driving your knees towards the ceiling to help lengthen your stride. You can also try to streamline your stride so that your knees, hips, and ankles all are all centered.
Many people find that when they focus on their breathing they start to forget about the other things they are doing (i.e., running on a treadmill).
Synching your breath with your stride can help pass time faster and help with your overall performance at the gym. You can try breathing in for about three strides and breathing out for the following three; and as you do that, count your breaths for a surprisingly relaxing experience. Deep breathing is great technique that can lower your blood pressure and heart rate while helping you focus during your workout.
If you run at the same incline and pace for a while, chances are you will get bored and lose motivation. Try doing intervals instead where you alternate between running and jogging or walking. Interval training even has benefits of its own—short bursts of high intensity can help burn more fat as well as improve your overall fitness.
To keep things interesting when you are not particularly excited about your treadmill workout, break up your run by rotating between running and going on the elliptical, bike or stair climber. For example, if your goal is to run four miles on the treadmill, run two miles, use the Stairmaster for 15 minutes, and then hop back on the treadmill for your final two miles. Spitting up the run makes the full workout more manageable and helps it go by faster.
6. Up the Incline
The treadmill does not only have to be used for running—you can get an amazing workout by simply walking on an incline. After your warm up, you can alternate between one-minute intervals of slow walking at maximum inclination and jogging or running at a slightly lower setting. You can repeat the intervals as many times as you are willing to and achieve great results.
Sometimes you are going to have to trick yourself: sure, you do not want to run, but if you only allow yourself to watch your favorite TV show while on the treadmill, you will motivate yourself to get on with that workout. So reserve your favorite shows for the gym, and you might even find yourself running even longer just to finish that episode.
8. Turn Up the Music
A good pump-up song can turn even the most boring of workouts into a fun exercise. In fact, studies show that listening to music while working out can significantly improve workout performance. This is because when it comes to endurance training, such as running on a treadmill, your brain is the main driving force behind feeling fatigued. When your brain is motivated by a strong stimuli like your favorite song, it does not preoccupy itself as much with warning you of fatigue too far in advance, thus allowing you to have a better, more manageable run.
Use these ideas or come up with your own ways to get creative on the treadmill--your body will thank you.