Do I skip my running workout or do I run on a treadmill? For some (including me), this question comes up each time the weather is bad or my workouts can’t be completed outside. How do we overcome our hatred for the treadmill?

The first thing to remember is that missing a workout is much worse than having to spend time on the treadmill. Even a less than expected workout is better than no workout at all.

Treadmill, why do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.

Come to an understanding with the reasons why you dislike running on the treadmill. Funny, for all the reasons why someone might dislike the treadmill, others will like treadmills.

I personally find it more difficult or laboring to run on the treadmill, running at a slower pace on the treadmill than I do outside. I also have difficulty remaining motivated, as the scenery never changes on the treadmill. Being unmotivated to run on a treadmill translates to me not putting in the appropriate mileage during a treadmill workout.

Staying Motivated on the Hamster Wheel

Knowing what you don't like about treadmill running will allow you to change your running workout to make it effective when running indoors.

One of the benefits of a treadmill is the ability to change speeds and/or inclines at the touch of a button. With some having automated programs, like a random or hill program, you can automatically change up your running workout to keep it fresh, and you motivated.

I, for example, use the treadmill to do more hill workouts, running at a slower pace but with random hill inclines. The inclines help to build leg strength and the randomness of the incline keeps me challenged and motivated.

Another great treadmill workout is interval training. This is when you run at a certain pace, then speed up for a period of time, then back down to the original pace. Repeating these intervals help to build speed to your running. For those new to running, set your speeds to walk, then run, then walk, repeating throughout your workout.

Come up with a couple of different workouts that you can perform on the treadmill, so when you have to use one, you can insert your treadmill workout in lieu of not being able to run outdoors or skipping your workout altogether.

When you just can't do it, do something else.

OK. You have tried and just can’t get motivated running on a treadmill. What do you do? You cross train. Use a different piece of cardio equipment that incorporates your leg muscles like an elliptical machine or an exercise bike. My recommendation would be an elliptical machine, as it is probably the closest to mimicking a running motion. Try to choose an elliptical machine that also incorporates your arms in the motion. This will simulate your arm movements when running and get you a better overall body workout.

Runners learn to adapt. We may hate the weather, feel uncomfortable running hill routines or dislike working out on a treadmill. But as a runner, we learn to understand that each conquered challenge brings us closer to our goals and makes us stronger in our running. So, keep that hatred for the treadmill, but next time you need to use it, look it in the eyes and conquer another workout.

Do you like or hate the treadmill?

How do you keep motivated while running on a treadmill?

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