5 Ways to Have a Better Treadmill Experience


Climate, convenience, rehab — no matter WHY you choose treadmill time, the fact remains that stationary running can become tedious in a hurry. Here’s a quick list of ways to improve your treadmill experience.

1. Entertain Yourself

Treadmill workout time doesn’t have to mean just staring blankly at the gym wall. Keep your mind engaged or distracted to help pass the time and prevent (or lessen) boredom. Some facilities position their stationary equipment with a view out the front windows. This makes for great people watching!

If you run on a treadmill at home or don’t have the luxury of a window to the world, try using your usual running jam playlist or even an audio book. It’s a great opportunity to catch up on those books you have been meaning to “read,” and you don’t have to worry about cross traffic. Depending on how your treadmill is structured, it may allow space to safely watch streaming video on a smartphone or tablet. Personally, I enjoy catching up on Skillshare classes while held captive on stationary machines. Exercise your mind right along with your body.

2. Mix Things Up

Many modern treadmills offer the ability to vary your “route” by randomizing speed, resistance and incline. This helps simulate a run out in the world and provides a much more effective workout than just plodding along at a flat rate and effort level. I suggest starting off slow to get warmed up, then increase it incrementally from there and throw your body a few curveballs along the way. Remember to allow yourself a good cool-down period, just as you would with your everyday run. Your body will reap more benefits and the added challenge level will hopefully keep you interested enough to stave off boredom.

3. Inclined to Succeed

I mentioned incline in the point above, but it bears repeating here. A slight incline of 1.5 to 2.0 degrees will add just enough resistance to really boost the effectiveness of your workout. Your indoor treadmill trek saves you from such things as natural rolling terrain or heck, even wind resistance. Bumping up the incline will help restore a little sweat and burn to your indoor run.

4. Monotony Loves Company

You need not suffer alone! Just as with outdoor running, having a friend or two along can help you pass the time, compare results and keep you motivated and accountable. Grab a couple of adjacent treadmills and share the same banter and camaraderie you would out on the road. Unfortunately, this method doesn’t work as well if your running companion is canine.

5. Adapt to Indoor Conditions

Depending on how the workout room is set up, you may heat up faster during a treadmill run than you would in the great outdoors. And there might be insufficient ventilation to help your body’s cooling system work at peak performance. Utilize a fan to help simulate wind and natural breezes that evaporate sweat and cool your body. Be sure to drink even more water than you would on an outdoor run.

No runner truly thrives on treadmill running, but by mixing it up a bit and keeping your mind engaged (and your body hydrated!), you can beat the slog until your next outdoor run. You might even have an enjoyable time.