Treadmill Dreadmill

Lately me and the treadmill have been bonding nonstop. Last week all runs except for Saturday were on the treadmill. 19 miles going nowhere.

If you had asked me a year ago if I would be BFFs for life, for life people, with my treadmill, I would be shocked that I even owned one. And not just because it is the most expensive thing beside my car that I have ever purchased.

BFFs for life- or at least until warm weather returns and then see ya next winter.

I hated treadmills. Treadmills are torture. Treadmills are boring. One made up word says it all - dreadmill.
But it is cold and dark in the winter and I am a big baby but love running. Treadmill you are the answer.

One of my twitter peeps asked 'how do you run so many miles on the treadmill' or some version of this question. And I forgot to answer most likely because something shiny distracted me. So here is what works for me. And I realize that the longest run I have done on a treadmill is 8 miles. I read several bloggers who regularly log double digits on a treadmill so you may be unimpressed with my mileage on the treadmill. But for me any mileage over three miles is a win.

Here are my treadmill essentials:
I need music. A lot of it. Songs that I love running to outside annoy the heck out of me on the treadmill because frankly most things annoy me more on a treadmill so I need lots of options. Going nowhere is annoying. So load up the Ipod. I like a good mix of pop, rock and randomness. Sunday it was all about Britney, Bon Jovi and Carrie Underwood. Some people can watch TV or read. I am too clumsy to be able to focus on something other than not flying off the back. If TV or reading works for you I am a bit jealous and that is great.

High Powered Fan
Aimed at my face from start to finish on high. Running on the treadmill is freakin sweaty and gross. The fan is never enough but it helps. I also like a towel to whip the sweat off my face every five seconds. I also like to try to get my husband to hug me after I am done. Whaa haa haa. I am evil. Sweaty evil.

See above sweaty reference. Therefore I feel like I want more water handy. Added bonus- easy access to bathrooms. Win.

Variety is the spice of life
I can't just set my pace level and tune out for six miles. I have to find the right mix of needing to pay attention and zoning out. Every run I do starts out slower and gets faster. Every mile or half mile I mess with the incline. Sometimes I go faster to a certain point and then get slower. Sometimes I just get faster. I find that mixing things up helps me beat boredom.

Look cute
I am inside. Outside it is 10 degrees. Wearing less clothes is fun. I can wear my running skirts in January in Illinois.

I jump off
Sometimes I am like ahh I need a drink. Ahh I dropped my towel. Ahhh turn the fan up. Ahhh this sucks. So I stop for a second. If something happens when I am out running I slow down or stop, the treadmill- same thing.

The treadmill is the only place where you are in complete control of your environment. Speed and incline are dictated by you. Use it. See how fast you can go. See how long you can run at the highest incline ( .5 seconds). See if you can have negative splits for your run. Or keep it easy when your inclination is to go faster because it is an easy day. The treadmill can be a great training tool, not just a torture device. It only took me three years to realize it.

I get outside when I can
Treadmill running will never be my favorite. To be honest I am pretty pleased that it hasn't turned into a really expensive clothes holder and that I use it as much as I do. I have noticed that when I do run outside it seems easier, I feel faster, and I like it so much more. I feel like skipping through fields, twirling and singing a la Sound of Music. Knowing that on the weekends if the weather is not too horrible I get to go outside makes treadmill running okay. So does having the Wisconsin marathon coming up and my training plan looming on the wall. I have a goal. The treadmill makes working toward that goal a reality when, like this weekend, the roads are iced over or the windchill is 0.

Nothing like motivation (terror?) staring you in the face to keep your butt on the treadmill

So that is what works for me. Will this work if for some reason I have to do a run longer than 9 miles.....12 miles.....longer? I have no idea. Hopefully I won't have to find out.

How do you feel about treadmills?
Any tips for keeping it interesting on the treadmill?


  1. Sometimes the treadmill and I love each other... usually when I am watching a good movie, but most of the time I get so antsy. I think your tips are definitely where it is at though! It is so cold in my basement right now, I'm still wearing long sleeves while running inside. Brrrr

  2. I'm with you-- anything over 3 miles on a tm is a huge win! I've never done more than 8 either but I absolutely cannot imagine that. I'm a big fan of watching Netflix on my phone or Kindle-- makes the time fly (relatively) fast!

  3. Great point about varying speed and incline! That definitely helps me. I like to watch TV and run faster during the commercials to break it up -- anything to make it more exciting (bearable). Funny that our treadmill seasons are flipped. I'm all about running outside now, but come summer, I'm headed back to the treadmill.

  4. I adore my treadmill. I always watch tv when I'm on it and it really does make the time go by faster. It's funny that you look cute on your treadmill runs though, I use working out at home as an excuse to wear my worst looking (but comfy) shorts and old, holey t-shirts :P

  5. I just saw you ran the Schaumburg 1/ grandma lives in Schaumburg!! Yeah for Schaumburg! Anyhoo - I have a love hate relationship with my treadmill. Right now i hate it because i'm just getting back to running after taking a couple of months off because of knee problems. It's been slow going. I love your tips - they are really great. Thanks!

  6. when i first moved here I would always go to the ymca and run on the treadmill while watching a tv show--- I think when I tried burst training on the treadmill and threw up it subconsciously made me not like the treadmill as much... I should really get back to it. I have that skirt as well!

  7. Good tips:) I trained for my first marathon on a treadmill many years ago. By the end of it, I wanted to chuck it:) Of course now, almost 8 years later we are becoming close again. I got rid of mine so I use the ones at the gym and I completely agree about the variety tip. Makes a world of difference:)

  8. Ugh...I hate treadmills and hugely admire you for sticking it out!!! BTW...the Half Moon Bay marathon is now open for registration. I'm waiting till a little closer to the day (we need to renew visas first and I'm taking nothing for granted...but we have friends who would host you if we get kicked out of the US). But I'm excited already.

  9. I had a huge comment all typed, but then it disappeared. :( Basically it said that I can watch 30 Rock or other similar shows on the treadmill (Netflix app), but I get easily irritated by dramas. I want fast, happy jokes when I'm working my tush off. Kind of similar with music I listen to while running.

  10. I depise my treadmill. It's like a torture device. I only use it if I have to run after dark in the winter (because I am crazy clumsy and dark+ice=broken limb). I will run outside in 30mph wind, snow, freezing rain, and ice covered roadways if it means I don't have to get on that stupid 'mill. Good for you for finding a way to make peace with it!


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