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9 Tips for Preventing Boredom During Treadmill Workouts

9 Tips for Preventing Boredom During Treadmill Workouts

Treadmill workouts are a convenient way to complete your cardio sessions, especially during inclement weather. But let's face it: Running on a treadmill can sometimes feel monotonous and uninspiring. As the minutes tick by, it's easy to find your mind wandering, counting down the seconds until you’re done. 

However, treadmill workouts don't have to be dull and tedious! With a few simple strategies, you can turn your treadmill sessions into engaging, motivating, and even enjoyable experiences. From personalized playlists to virtual running adventures, there’s something for just about everyone to spice up their indoor runs.

It’s time to say goodbye to the “dreadmill”!

Woman running on treadmill

1. Create a Playlist or Podcast Playlist

Music is a powerful motivator during workouts. Curate an energizing playlist with your favorite songs that keep you pumped and motivated while running on the treadmill. 

In general, opt for faster-paced music, which can keep your intensity higher for longer, according to a March 2012 review from International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology. But as a June 2021 review in the Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology points out, it’s equally important to enjoy the music you’re listening to.

Alternatively, you can explore podcasts or audiobooks on topics you find interesting, making the time fly by as you immerse yourself in engaging content.

 

2. Interval Training

Break up the monotony of running by incorporating interval training into your treadmill workouts. Interval training not only keeps you engaged but also boosts calorie burn and improves cardiovascular fitness in a shorter amount of time than steady-state cardio, per a July 2021 review in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

To do this, alternate between periods of high-intensity running or sprinting and active recovery at a slower pace. For example, try 30 seconds of sprinting, followed by 60 seconds of walking. 

Alternatively, you can adjust the incline on your treadmill periodically to simulate uphill running or walking. Changing the incline engages different muscle groups (more incline means more glutes!) and adds variety to your workout routine.

 

3. Set Challenges and Goals

Challenge yourself during each treadmill session by setting specific goals. For instance, you can aim to run a certain distance, beat your personal best time, or climb a certain elevation. Having targets to work toward can make the workout feel purposeful and rewarding.

 

4. Virtual Running Apps

Try using virtual running apps that simulate outdoor runs with various terrains and scenic routes. These apps often come with interactive visuals, allowing you to explore different locations around the world virtually. 

Try Treadmill TV, Swift, or Zombies, Run!. They’re a great way to transport your mind beyond the treadmill and keep things interesting.

 

5. Treadmill Classes or Videos

Many fitness apps and platforms — including Nike+ Run Club, Aaptiv, and YouTube — offer treadmill classes led by professional trainers. Joining these classes or following guided workout videos can make your treadmill sessions more engaging and enjoyable. 

There are also some fitness studios that offer in-person treadmill classes. The trainers provide motivation, fellow participants support your efforts, and structured workouts keep you focused.

 

6. Mindful Running

Practice mindfulness while running on the treadmill. Instead of letting your mind wander or dwelling on the boredom, stay present and focused on your breath, form, and movement. Mindful running can turn your treadmill workout into a form of meditation and help you maintain a positive mindset.

You can focus on your breath (inhale… exhale), your muscles (think: push forward with your quads and pull back with your hamstrings), or do form checks periodically (neck neutral, core engaged, arms swinging front to back, etc.).

 

7. Incorporate Strength Training

Add strength-training exercises into your treadmill routine. For example, after a few minutes of running, step off the treadmill to do a set of bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, or push-ups. 

This variety not only keeps you entertained but also builds muscular strength to boost your running performance and help prevent injuries.

(Psst! There’s also a strength-training program for runners in the Fit Body app!)

 

8. Use Visuals

If possible, position your treadmill near a window with a view. Observing the outdoors or the surroundings of your gym can distract from the monotony of the treadmill. Alternatively, you can watch TV shows, movies, or videos while running to keep your mind engaged.

 

9. Buddy Up

Work out with a friend or join a treadmill group at your gym. Having someone to chat with or compete against (in a friendly way) can make treadmill workouts more enjoyable and encourage you to push your limits.

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