Tips for Making Treadmill Running Less Boring with Coach Sanne Lansink

By Coach Sanne Lansink

You’re not alone if you love running outdoors and despise running inside on a treadmill. Although the activity is the same in many ways, being outside offers a significantly different experience than running indoors. Yet many people find themselves turning to a treadmill at some point throughout the year: security reasons, dealing with extreme weather, or to escape air pollution, to name a few. 

Completing a run on the treadmill can be much harder mentally than completing the same run outdoors. Treadmills can sometimes be boring or offer less stimulation than a trail outside. But if a treadmill run is in your future and you find yourself dreading that treadmill, here are a few tips to keep it entertaining.

  • Listen to Music/podcasts– Listening to music or podcasts can be very entertaining. A good trick is to pick a playlist that you used to love. For example a throwback to high school or middle school. Songs from years ago are less likely to be overplayed on your playlist and the radio, so the chances of you getting bored of them are slim.
  • Watch TV- There is no better time to watch TV than when you are running on the treadmill. Save your favorite series for the days you are scheduled to run. That way you are excited to get on the treadmill to watch your show. Saving your special show for the treadmill will also have you looking forward to running indoors and will give you a positive outlook on the dreaded treadmill. Save movies for your long runs. Nothing is worse than finishing a show mid-run and not being able to find another one. Not only would that leave you bored but also frustrated! 
  • Phone a friend- Invest in good Bluetooth headphones and catch up on your calls. Since most runs are done at an easy effort, you should be able to hold a conversation. While running, call your chattiest friend, mother, or anybody willing to listen and have a chat. Before you know it, your run will be over.
  • Run Blind- A helpful but frustrating feature on treadmills is the screen that displays how far you’ve gone and how much time has gone by. If you watch the numbers carefully, you will notice that they change slowly. Watching the time tick by can be very frustrating and make the run feel much longer than it is. So cover the screen with a towel and check only when you think it may be necessary!
  • Treadmill features- Some treadmills come with video footage of scenic trails. If you have access to one of these treadmills then check out the different trails and places you can run in the world.
  • Run with a friend- Find a gym that has two or more treadmills available, and bring some friends. Running with friends is always more enjoyable than running alone. So pick two treadmills that are side by side and enjoy each other’s company.
  • Create an encouraging environment- Many people have their treadmills tucked away in their basements or garage. Typically a room or space that has been forgotten about. Organize this space so that it is a place you enjoy being in. Hang up your favorite medals, a chalkboard with your goals written on it, and some wall art with an inspirational quote. A little effort goes a long way, and before you know it, your treadmill will make you feel like an elite runner. Adding a fan to the space can also help with airflow and temperature regulation.

The next time you find yourself procrastinating a run, or avoiding it altogether because of the treadmill, think of all the ways you can make it more enjoyable. The best way to stay committed to running on the treadmill is to establish a routine and to set yourself up for success by creating an environment that encourages the habit you’re trying to create.. A positive relationship with the treadmill can be crucial to having a successful training cycle. especially when you’re subjected to all the things mother nature has to offer.

Sanne Lansink is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about her or to work with her, check out her coach profile.