Avoiding Boredom on the Treadmill

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When I first started running last year I spent most of my early runs on the treadmill. I didn’t think I would make it very far and liked the comfort of being able to stop when I wanted to. Over the summer I spent the entire summer running outside. On the rare occasion that it was too hot, too late or pouring rain I hit up our local YMCA for a quick treadmill run. I very quickly got used to the idea of running outside. Generally I had no desire to head back inside for a treadmill run.

I signed up for the Glass City Half Marathon and thought for sure I would be able to train outside. The training was in the Winter but let’s be honest, what is a little snow? We used to run in it in high school all of the time. Right?

Then winter hit and it was cold. Oops

After a lot of back and forth we decided it was time to invest in a treadmill. My husband wanted to to use it and I knew that it would be best for me time wise. My days outside were few and far between thanks to Mother Nature and it would be a lot easier to schedule my runs 4 days a week when everyone was sleeping.

Starting out on the treadmill after taking more or less a month off of running I was faced with a harsh reality. I get bored easily staring at a concrete wall. Thankfully there are running blogs everywhere these days. I took to the internet and came up with a few different ideas on how to stay occupied while running on the treadmill.

How To Avoid Getting Bored While Running on the Treadmill

1. Intervals

While running outside, interval running doesn’t amuse me. I don’t get to enjoy the scenery. They have been perfect for the treadmill because it gives me a reason to change up my run as I go along. One of my favorite training runs from the Glass City Half Marathon was an interval run and I still run a variation of it once or twice a week.

Instead of counting down to the end of your run you’ll be so occupied with getting through each interval that you won’t notice the time flying by.


2. Cover the Treadmill Board

When I first started running on the treadmill again I became a time watcher. I felt like runs were dragging and I could never get past the fact that only one minute had gone by. I’m not going to lie, it made me not want to run and I started to dread running on the treadmill. Once I started covering up the board on the treadmill after a few of my runs I stopped watching the time go by. It forced me to focus on something else in the room and helps my workouts became a lot more fun.

3. TV Show/Podcasts

I cannot get into watching TV shows or podcasts while I run, but a number of my friends said that it makes their runs go so much faster! Pop on your favorite TV show or catch up on podcasts. According to my friends who choose this method time goes even faster.

4. Favorite Music

Very rarely do I run without music anymore. By the end of my run I usually can’t tell you what songs I listened to. Just the beat in the background is enough to keep me going. Usually I get sucked into a daydream or planning my day that the music just becomes something to get me going. Every once and awhile I get lucky and a song that just gets me going comes on at the right time.

Related: My Running Playlist

5. Run early enough in the day that your brain doesn’t have time to figure out that it’s supposed to be bored.

You laugh, but I’ll be honest this is my game plan most days! I do 3 runs a week at 5am. It is a nice way for me to wake-up, start the day and clear the cobwebs. Usually by the time I hit the halfway point I’m wide awake. That fresh morning feeling gives me time to make my game plan for the day.

If these five options don’t work, I just remind myself that I’ll be close to my 10,000 steps for the day before even walking out the door.

How do you deal with being bored on the treadmill? What songs get you going?

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.

Comments (3)

  1. Great tips! I love watching my recorded shows while running. I end up spending more time on the treadmill, but it seems to go by faster!

    1. I stillllll can’t figure out how to watch TV and not get bored lol. I wish I could do that!

  2. Hi Kristin,

    Your tips on how to stay focused while working out on a treadmill and avoiding the boredom are very insightful. I will try these tips in the near future and see whether I will be able to revolutionize my working out experience.

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