It's time to face the fact; winter is coming, and for many runners this means that opportunities to run outside will become far and few.
Sure, bundling up and running around in the snow can be fun, but when it's dark, windy and frigid outside sometimes the dreaded treadmill (or as many runners refer to it, the “dreadmill”) actually sounds like a much better option... No matter how boring it may be.
But here's another fact for you: workouts on the treadmill don't have to be mind-meltingly mundane.
Despite what you may believe as a result of past experiences, you don't have to spend the entire workout staring at the timer wondering when your hellish workout will be over.
Maybe it’s hard to believe, but you can actually turn your time on the treadmill into an exciting endeavor. Here are a few ways you can spice up your indoor running workouts so they'll fly by just as fast as if you were outside.
1. Don't just run.
Just because you want to get some miles in, doesn’t mean you need to spend your entire workout on the treadmill. Break up the monotony by throwing other exercises into the mix. Hop off the treadmill every two minutes or so and perform 8 to 12 reps of push-ups, squats, lunges or bicep curls; your options are endless and you can turn a workout that would have been monotonous into an intense strength-building circuit workout.
2. One word: intervals.
OK so, you want to run for a longer period of time and you’re not into the hop-on, hop-off circuit workout style. That’s fine. You can easily make your time on the treadmill more exciting with an interval workout. Instead of running at the same speed and incline for the entire time, shake it up by alternating between bouts of running at different speeds. For example, 10 rounds of 45-second sprints followed by two minutes at a recovery or walking pace. There are so many different ways to incorporate intervals, for some more ideas click here.
Similar to the gist of an interval workout, pyramid workouts will help break up boredom because you’ll constantly be changing your speed and incline. For example, you can start by running at 5.0 mph and then increase the speed by .5 every minute. When you reach your top speed, follow the same pattern in reverse.
4. Music as motivation.
A good playlist is essential for any treadmill run. Distract your mind from the treadmill display by plugging in and rocking out to your favorite pump-up songs. You can also use your music to play games while you run; try increasing your speed or the incline for every other song.
If you’d rather a more relaxed treadmill run, try downloading a few audiobooks to your iPod and lose yourself in another world while you work out. Some runners also really enjoy listening to podcasts or stand-up comedy routines to help pass the time.