Winter Weather Making You Hate Your Treadmill? Here are Some Tips to Break up the Monotony!

 

Let’s face it, I love to run…..outside! I hate the dreadmill! I mean treadmill ha ha. But at this time of year, and with the insane winter weather currently reeking havoc on the United States; the treadmill is a necessity. So I think I should’ve titled this blog, “How to make treadmill running not suck!” Your treadmill can be a great training tool. They can also make running incredibly monotonous and boring. Here are some tips to help you not loathe treadmill workouts.

 

1. Intervals. Running at a constant pace is the definition of boring. I almost always do some kind of interval workout on my treadmill. Some days that is five minutes of running with 1 minute of walking, then repeat. Some days it’s increasing pace then increasing elevation. This is a great way to work at race pace and to dial in your mile repeats pace. Make a goal for your intervals and then just set the treadmill to switch back and forth automatically so that you concentrate on the current interval, and stop thinking about the overall workout. If you are watching television, you can simply do commercial intervals. Run at a steady pace during the show but when it breaks for commercial, increase to 80% effort or at least 2 mph faster than your jog pace until the commercial break is over. Make it simple! Suddenly you realize your workout is done and you have gotten your sweat on!

 

2. Distractions. Art is constantly watching a movie when he is on the treadmill. I often watch sports. Set your DVR for a movie you’ve wanted to watch or the game you missed the day before. Then set your time and get after it! It’s amazing how fast the workout gets done while you are screaming at a basketball or hockey game! Music is another great distraction. Make yourself a killer playlist with an upbeat tempo then sing!

 

3. Strength training intervals. Another trick I like to use is to doing run:strength intervals. What I mean by that is to run for 10 minutes then get off the treadmill and immediately do 25 push ups, 25 crunches, 25 side crunches, 25 lunges then get back on the treadmill and do it again. It can be as simple as 5 minutes running to two minutes of interval strength training then repeat. Don’t feel like doing push ups? Then how about 5 minutes running on the treadmill and then get off and run the stairs of your house for 2 minutes, then repeat. The purpose is to break up the workout! Try to do four or five sets. Breaks up the monotony and gets another goal done!

 

4. Hill Training. Living in Texas we don’t have a plethora of good hills and a treadmill is great tool to use to work on your hill strides. Start with a 5-minute warm up jog. Then increase the elevation by 3 percent for 1 minute. Then back down by 1 percent for 2 minutes. Then back up to 3 percent and increase effort by 1 mph for 1 minute. Then drop the elevation by 1 percent but keep the pace for 2 minutes. Repeat increasing by 1 mph until you are now at 3 mph faster than your jog. Keep repeating until you have done your time or distance goal. You can creep up the elevation as well with the pace, but don’t go about 6 percent.

 

5. Work on your stride count. You may not realize that most elite runners run around 180 steps per minute. The more steps per minute you take, the more efficient you run. Focus on counting your strides by counting how often your right foot hits the treadmill belt in a minute, then double. That’s your stride count. Try to improve it and pick up your feet and knees. No marathon shuffle or you will trip! (Not pretty, I’m sure you’ve seen the You tube videos)

 

6. Have a virtual treadmill coach! Not crazy! I use Spinervals DVDs when I’m on the bike trainer. They also have a series of runervals. It’s a great DVD workout complete with music and Coach Troy yelling at you to pick it up or take it down a notch. Think virtual class! A good option if you need more focus during your workout. For more info go to www.spinervals.com (not a paid endorsement, just a user ☺)

 

Inclement weather and short winter days make the treadmill a necessary evil! Use these tips to make your treadmill runs not suck!

 

Yes, we are still on the quest to run 2015 miles in 2015! Only 1774 miles to go as of today!