Making the Treadmill Fun
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Even though we're technically a couple of months into winter, Central Texas is really just now getting to the "cold" part of its so-called winter. While the temperatures usually aren't unbearable, it's probably
cold or wet enough sometimes to encourage you to take outdoor workout indoors. If that means you're now sweating on the treadmill, it probably also means you're bored, too. Honestly, what could be less exciting than the never-changing, fluorescent and monotonous pounding on a treadmill? It might even be enough to cause you to shorten your cardio workouts, which you'll feel when the weather warms up enough for outdoor runs. Well, treadmills don't have to make stretching look like the most exciting part of your workout. Follow these tips to keep you motivated inside so you'll be ready when you're running outside full-time.
Turn on the TV. Although television may seem like the antithesis of running entertainment to athletes used to outside runs, treadmills with TVs can help you stay tuned-in to your workout. Challenge yourself by sprinting during commercial breaks, or use a certain character's appearance to trigger increasing the level. Using the TV will force you to pay attention to your run and the treadmill itself, which will keep you from staring blankly at the white brick wall ahead of you.
Make your playlist a guessing game. Try making a massive workout playlist and then putting it on shuffle. Having unordered music will keep you guessing and unexpected, pulse-raising songs will pump you up mid-run. You could also try making an online radio station like Pandora your workout music routine, which will introduce you to new, exciting music as you run.
Set the pace a little higher than you'd run outside. People often underestimate the appropriate pace for treadmill runs, which results in slower workouts. But people usually run a third to half a mile per hour faster on a treadmill than outside, so just bump up your level a couple of notches and feel as accomplished as you do after a run on your favorite trail.
Set goals. Try to improve a little more each day just like you would outside. Try to get farther in the same amount of time, or bump up your run time in intervals of five or so minutes each time. Setting goals will help keep you interested in your workout, which will equal motivation to continue on the treadmill.
Turn around. If you want to feel new muscles that don't get used in a typical jog on the treadmill, walk backwards during your warm up and/or cool down. It takes a little more concentration and employs different thigh and calf muscles.
Concentrate on your form. Treadmills often cause runners to adapt an incorrect stride, which can lead to injury or exhaustion. Concentrate on your form to make sure you're doing it right, with body leaned slightly forward starting at the ankles. Never lean forward or backward at the waist. A slight lean forward will use gravity for momentum, and keep your motion going forward instead of up and down.
Bring a partner. Even if you're used to working out alone, moving your schedule around to bring a partner with you will help you stay motivated on the treadmill. You'll be less likely to back out of workouts, and you'll have someone to have (friendly!) competitions with.