In case you hadn’t heard, we got some snow here in New England. And just when I was starting to enjoy my outdoor long runs – even in the cold. Now it’s going to take weeks for the snow to melt off the sidewalks enough for me to feel comfortable running on them. Grrrr.
Hello, Mr. Treadmill.
I usually do a few treadmill runs during the week, but as any gym runner knows, it is boring. There’s really no other way to describe it. So you have to find ways to make it interesting, to spice things up a bit.
My trick? Let your music be your guide.
Okay, so it’s not like this is a revelation or anything, but trust me – if you use music the right way, it can be incredibly motivating. So here’s what you do: Think of the choruses as a built in kick in the pants, as a trainer or coach yelling at you to go faster, run harder. That’s what I do. For days when I’m doing speed work, when the chorus kicks in, I crank it up, and then back it down when the chorus ends.
My favorites are songs like “How Far We’ve Come” by Matchbox 20, where the chorus continues to build and swell. Again, I let the music guide me, upping my speed at the musical prompts to the point where I feel like I am losing control (usually around the 7:30 min/mile mark), and then I back down when the chorus ends to my comfortable, 8:10 min/mile pace. It’s like a built-in interval training plan, but instead of watching a clock you’re just listening to your favorite tunes.
Sounds easy, right? Try it. The run goes by so much faster because you’re so focused on your music. I find it also makes it more fun, more like a game, which helps keep me engaged – especially on those early mornings when there’s no one else there on the treadmills with you.
I try and do the same thing for hill work on the treadmill and, I’m not gonna lie, it’s not easy. I hate hills. And even the best old school Britney song, or a little P!nk, can’t make that any less painful. But at least it forces me to do it.
Wanna know what’s on my playlist? It’s a little random, but it works and all of these songs have swelling, dramatic choruses that work really well for this sort of strategy.
Countdown to first race of 2013: 27 days!
Do you have any tricks or strategies to preventing treadmill boredom? Share in the comments below and let’s all help each other out through the rest of this winter!
Disclaimer: Just to put it out there, remember that I am not a personal trainer or fitness instructor. I am just a gal who enjoys running for fun. So my advice/suggestions are certainly not that of an expert.