Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Escape the Treadmill Blues.

Happy Tuesday!  Tuesdays are always slightly better than Mondays.  Then Wednesdays are even better when you hit the mid week point and can officially start the "end of the week countdown"... no?  Just me?  Oh well.  I guess I'm always workin' for the weekend!

Yesterday I mentioned in my post that I knocked out a 7 mile treadmill run over the weekend.  I consider any run over 2 miles on the treadmill a success - because let's face it, the treadmill is boring.  There aren't many people... a.k.a. there is nobody I know... that prefers the treadmill over running outside.  I will make one exception to that - I prefer the treadmill when I want to do speed work.  I can't seem to get speed work incorporated into my outdoor runs, unless I go to the track and do the whole sprint the straightaways, jog the curves deal.  Anyways, I thought today I'd share a few tips and tricks that I use to make the "dreadmill" less dreadful.

1.  I love to plan my runs around TV shows.  One of my guilty weekend pleasures is watching Beverly Hills 90210 reruns on SoapNet (nerd alert), so often I can get a 6-7 mile run in during one episode.  For shorter runs, 30 minute shows would also work - my favorite is New Girl.  Most treadmills and gyms have TVs, or if you have a treadmill at home, make sure you have a TV nearby!

2.  I'm a total Top 40s girl, I download the new hit songs that are being played on the radio and listen to them over and over.  If you live near DC, you've probably seen me screaming (not singing) "I Knew You Were Trouble" at the top of my lungs driving down the beltway.  Music is a good pumper-uper, and a new playlist can be all the excitement you need to get through a boring treadmill run.  Another thing I do is use the Music Hour app for my iPhone (http://appcrawlr.com/ios/power-music-hour), which allows you to set a play list and it randomly selects one minute from each song on that playlist, then after a minute, shuffles to another song.  I use this in conjunction with tip #5, and change my speed every time the song changes to achieve 1 minute intervals.

3.  Distance goals > Time goals.  I promise, you will push yourself harder and faster if your goal is to run 4 miles, versus running 40 minutes.  You will want off that damn machine ASAP, and you will run like lightning to finish in 35 minutes instead of 36.  It's science.

4.  I can't read magazines or books on the treadmill, something about flipping pages + my not-so-great hand-eye coordination just don't add up.  But, now that I have a kindle, I am coordinated enough to "tap" the screen so the pages turn by themselves.  I love to read, and I get hooked on books and can't put them down, so I like to use this trick and say "go read your book for 10 minutes on the treadmill and then, if you still want to, you can stop."  I never stop, because I always want to finish that chapter.  Then the next chapter.  Then the whole book.

5.  Intervals keep runs fun.  They also improve your fitness, burn more calories, and are pretty much the holy grail of exercise.  Add in sprints or hills, and keep the pace and incline moving the whole time.  Like I mentioned in tip 2, the Music Hour app is great for this.  I'll often start at a 6.0, and bump the speed up 0.2 MPH after every song, up to 8.0, then back down to 6.0.  I call these "ladder" runs, but they are a kind of interval.  You could also just rotate between 2 speeds - an easy jog and a challenging run - and switch them every minute.  Intervals will get your heart pumping, and be less boring than a steady pace run, I promise!!

I hope some of these tips help you get out of your treadmill funk.  After typing this post, I'm actually excited to hit the treadmill tonight; who would've guessed!

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