Simple Ways To Utilize The Treadmill

I’m going to be real honest here.  I haven’t run outside in a few weeks.  We were “gifted” a heavy share of snow.  I tried running one day, shortly after we received 20+ inches and it was a miserable mess (or perhaps I should say that was miserable mess).  I slipped and slid everywhere. I cried during a few points.  I shouted profanities at other times.  It was ugly.

Since then I have been utilizing the small gym in our hometown when I have a quick chance, the treadmills at the gym where I work, and my parent’s stationary bike when I have no other option.  It is less than ideal, but I am not ready to get back out there.  Did I mention the double digit, below zero temps too?!

Boston Marathon training should be a blast!


Many runners hate the treadmill.  I don’t mind it.  I certainly don’t love it.  But there are ways to make it less miserable.  Below are a few tips:

Create a workout:  The biggest complaint I get as a coach is that the treadmill is boring.  It certainly isn’t exciting.  But there are ways to break up the running into segments that cut down on the boredom.

Try doing a pyramid run:  Start at a nice and easy pace and bump the intensity up every minute until you hit a pace that is difficult for you.  You can then either go back to the start by slowing down each minute or just go right back down to your easy pace.

Create an interval workout:  After a brief warm up, try doing fartleks or intervals.  Start out with shorter intervals of hard intensities and longer bouts of easy paces, and then eventually begin lengthening your amount of time at difficult paces.


Slow it down and enjoy the view:  It might be hard to flip through a magazine at your normal pace, but who says you have to run that way?  Slow it down a little and flip through something fun.  When I first started using a treadmill I relied heavily on US Weekly and People Magazine.  I used to have so much knowledge on celebrity gossip!

Keep in mind that there is no rule that says you must run fast.  In fact, there is a ton of added value in slower running.  Go ahead and enjoy a lighter pace.


I also love watching episodes of HGTV while I am on the treadmill.  Cooking channels are also great because even if you can’t hear what is going on, you can easily follow along.  By the time you finish a workout you might know how to make a full dinner out of a basket of pasta, gummy bears, and Spam!

Keep it nice and flat:  Remember that rule about running on the treadmill and needing to increase the incline?  Great news!  Reliable research shows that is not the case (unless you run faster than 7:09 minutes/mile).  If you don’t feel like bumping it up, that’s not a problem.  Keep it at a happy zero!

Enjoy the sweat:  During this season of over indulgence, I feel like I just need a good old sweat to get out all of the crap I have been putting in my body.  Sometimes during cold runs, I come back feeling chilly.  Running inside almost guarantees that you will sweat all those extra work party cocktails out!


Don’t fret the pace:  No two treadmills are created alike.  And one thing I have learned over the years is that you can almost never replicate your normal outdoor pace on a treadmill.  I often run 30 seconds to a minute per mile slower on the treadmill.  Sometimes it is even slower!  So find a pace that leaves you feeling comfortable and don’t worry about where you are.  Cover the console with a towel so that you can’t see it if need be.

No matter what you choose to do, just getting on the mill or heading outdoors is a step in the right direction.  Enjoy your run!

7 thoughts on “Simple Ways To Utilize The Treadmill

  1. I know lots of people use the treadmill to get their workout, and I drive by a Planet Fitness every day that has plenty of them in use … and the bottom line is that whatever gets you moving – great! 🙂

    I definitely think that entertainment – TV, tablet, music, whatever – is key for anyone who is more used to running outside … when running in the snow last week I was thinking about how much mental energy you need to expend just getting around safely. It is there year round, but in the cold and snow, even more so.

    Enjoy 🙂

  2. I love having a treadmill but have been trying to get outside at least once a week right now. We have very little snow at the moment so I’m taking advantage of that 🙂
    Honestly, when I’m on the treadmill I just run. I run at at incline of 1 and increase my speed when things get easy. When that is too hard, I decrease it. I’ve never used any of the training functions on my TM. You’ve encouraged me to do so, thanks!

  3. Great advice! The only way I can manage a treadmill workout is 1. if I literally have no other choice, or 2. if I do an interval workout. Intervals break it up so nicely, and you’re focused more on how hard it is than the fact that you’re not running outside!

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