Treadmill Running-Change your mindset

Hate the treadmill? You may have noticed me refer to the treadmill as the dreadmill on many occasions on social media and strava. I have had some seriously terrible workouts on the treadmill due to nothing more than boredom. I have found recently that the biggest factor of poor treadmill workouts, was myself.

Treadmills are a tool that helps you reach your goals. Change your mental game and your experience.

So, as we move into 2023 I am choosing to change my mindset. I am choosing to look at the value my treadmill brings to my training and helping me reach my goals. Some of the things I can immediately think of;

  • Run while the baby sleeps! I can get in a workout while the baby is safely asleep in his crib. I keep a watchful eye on him with my phone and can run guilt free.
  • Temperature control, hello record breaking windchills this week! Yikes and no thank you. I would love for some beautiful winter weather to allow me to hit the trails but I am no longer as “hard core” as I was about avoiding the treadmill at all cost. I enjoy a warm cup of coffee and easy run on the treadmill.
  • Safety, running at night used to be my thing. Runs at 10pm-midnight in the summer are so refreshing when the temps are super hot. Without a running partner, however, they are just not a safe option. Along with outdoor condition including lightning, hail and ice. My treadmill offers me a safe opotutnity to continue to reach my goals.
  • Measure growth- the treadmill remains consistent and becomes a great way to maintain variables that may change with outdoor running. Many runner worry that biomechanical differences between ground and treadmill running will make indoor running sub-par training. Research indicates however, that outcomes were not significantly different between the two.
  • Treadmills are easier on your joints- As I age I am definitely noticing things taking a greater toll on my body. I am not sure if its just the aging process though. After my second pregnacy I feel more physically taxed from running in my joints. The treadill deck gives a softer surface and can possibly lower risk of injuires that come from running on harder surfaces such as concreate and asphalt (read more).

Now I value my treadmill, that does not make time move any faster. The next step is to look for ways to make treadmill running more fun. I have found that if I am running on the treadmill for more than a couple days in a row, I have to mix up my strategies or they become stale. Here is a few things I like to do;

  • Listen to music– put together a kick ass play list and start jamming as the miles move along. I have a list of guilty pleasure songs that I love to rock out to when no one is watching. Que up Barbie Girl, Wanna be and OG NSYNC. I can dance (terribly) and sing in the privacy of my own basement. Put on a concert for my poor doggies and have a little bit of fun. Just be careful not to get too wild and fall off the treadmill.
  • Watch a favorite show- Bring on the bing netflix of hulu. Think of that one show that you can not stop watching. When the episode is over you have to start the next becuase you are always left on the edge of your seat. Depending on your set up you can stream most shows through your TV, Ipad, phone and other devices. My last binge show was Handmaids Tale. It was the train wreck I couldn’t take my eyes off of. Watching a show you are really into allows your mind to focus on something other than how long each mile is taking to pass you by.
  • Fartlek Fun-Fartlek is german for speed play. It’s an unstructured workout with pace adjustments at random intervals. As you get bored change up the speed a bit getting in a mix of upbeat paces, strides and slow recovery. Becareful not to add an aditional quality session to your training plan. Change it up enough to break of the monotony that can come with stationary running.
  • Treadmill technology– many treadmills are coming with training programs or allow you to visually run popular routes. If your treadmill doesn’t have this option you can also pair with a device and apps. Strava for example can be paired with a footpod and you can visual run some famous courses. Virutal treadmill classes are another fun option.
  • Quality sessions- when setting up your calendar its best to choose which wokrouts will be done on the treadill if you can. Longer intervals, steady state runs and race pace workouts are going to be better fit for the treadill verse workouts that have alot of changes in speed over little time intervals. The treadmill belt doesn’t change speeds as quickly as we can, so completing a short 200m rep session isn’t ideal. However, working on some longer threshold or marathon pace is perfect for the treadmil as the treadmill can hold a single pace consistently for you.

Stuck indoors? Here are a couple of fun treadmill runs to try

  • Marathon Pace
    • Beginner- Get in 5-10 minutes easy warm up, complete 2 sets 5-10 minutes at marathon pace with 2 minutes easy recovery between each. Finished with 5-10 minutes easy coold down
    • Advanced- 2 miles at easy pace, 2 sets pf 2-4 miles at marathon pace (recovery 1 minute per mile at pace), 2 miles cool down.
  • Threshhold running
    • Beginner- 10 minute easy to warm up, 3 x 5 minutes at threshold pace with 1 minute recovery between each, 10 minute cool down nice and easy.
    • Advanced- 1-2 mile warm up, 2×2 mile at threshold pace (2 minute recovery jog), 1-2 mile coold down.
  • Ladder
    • Beginner-Warm up 10-15 minutes then complete 2 minutes hard/1 minute easy, 3 minutes hard/2 minutes easy, 4 minutes hard/ 3 minutes easy. You can repeat or go back down the ladder to add distance. Coold down 10-15 minutes
    • Adavanced- 1-2 mile warm up, 400 m hard (R-Pace)/400 m easy, 800 m hard (I pace)/ 400 m easy, 1 mile hard (T pace) 1 minute easy. Repeat ladder or go back down to add distance. 1-2 mile cool down
  • Progression Run
    • Beginner or advanced-Start at the back end of your easy pace and increase the speed by .5 mph every 2-3 minutes. You can repeat to add volume/distance.

One final tip to help make treadmill running more successfull. Count your miles down. Studies have shown that counting up is psychologically more challenging for most runner compared ot counting down.


Published by RunCanvas

Hi I am Janell! Avid runner and coach with 14 years of experience helping runners reach their goals. Wondering if working with a running coach is the right choice for you? Run coaching is available for ALL levels and paces. If you run, you are a runner. Hiring a running coach will help you to become stronger and more resilient – both physically and mentally.

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