Running on a treadmill is a great way to burn calories and fat. An intense run will give you a thorough cardio workout too. When faced with the 3rd run of the week indoors, things can feel a little too much like Groundhog Day. It can be real effort to stop treadmill workouts getting boring.
There are plenty of ways you can keep that treadmill workout varied. This page covers a lot of different angles. You can add hand weights, entertainment options, personal challenges or even educate yourself with some podcasts while you run.
Check through the whole list, and you’ll never have another boring treadmill run again!
This is one that I do from time to time. Adding light hand weights can make a big difference. You can do sets of arm, shoulder and chest exercises. I like to switch these up every 0.1 or 0.2km. Make sure that you start while walking or running slowly. That way any loss of balance will not cause you to fall. Weights around 1 to 2.5kgs are ideal here.
The only downside is that unless you want to use them for your full workout, you’ll need to stop to put them down.
There is more to running on a home treadmill than just making that distance goal. Pushing yourself to beat a personal best, even just once per week or month, can really make a big difference. This can be distance, time, calories burned (either overall or for a certain duration).
Instead of 4 weekly runs of 8km, why not split these into different routines? You could start the week with intervals (sprints and jogs in turn), add some incline to really feel the burn on another occasion, then go for a longer, steadier run. Instead of ‘just another run’ you’ll have a set to complete. Adding weights as in number #1 above could also be included.
When you are not feeling like getting on that treadmill, the power of accountability can be very powerful. If you have the opportunity to run with a buddy in a gym, that is ideal. If not, then find someone who is willing to run on the same days – or complete the same weekly routine. There are plenty of apps you can use to keep track. Why not make this into a challenge?
Some mid-range and above treadmills now come with their own integrated speakers. You can also find models which are MP3 / Phone compatible. Of course, you don’t even need this to enjoy some running music these days. Smartphones with headphones work just fine. If you have a subscription to Spotify, you’ll be able to find plenty of running soundtracks.
You can work muscles differently by moving facing sideways, or even by skipping. Remember to start very slowly if you would like to try these – you’ll need to get your balance properly.
There are several apps which allow you to run on different courses. Some just have the views, while others adjust your treadmill to the terrain, for example iWorld from DKN. These are iPad apps, so you’ll either need a treadmill model with somewhere to put one, or buy a separate holder. Things have moved fast with connected apps. When you buy a NordicTrack treadmill, you get a free year of iFit. This includes trainer led runs, where they control the speed / incline. Add in social functions, videos and map-based runs for beautiful scenery.
You can find audio courses, interviews and entertainment in 1000’s of regular podcasts. These are a perfect way to unwind. For those of a literary persuasion, you can also find plenty of audio versions of your favourite novels online.
Just because you sat on a treadmill does not mean you need to complete your routine before stepping off. You can vary your treadmill workout by creating a HIIT routine based around it. For example, you could run 1km, then get off and do 10 burpees, run another kilometre, and switch to squats – and so on!
With so many on-demand TV services, you can now set up an iPad, or even a big phone, and comfortably watch TV while you run. This is best for steady, longer runs. It can certainly take the boredom out of your running routine.
For me, the key factor which keeps the motivation to get onto the treadmill daily are the results. These will vary for everyone. It could be that you are burning off fat, with your weight slowly moving downwards. It could be that you feel the benefits in cardio health or are recovering from a period where you did not exercise.
Keeping a focus on the ‘why’, together with some of the suggestions above, can make a big difference to your motivation for taking a run!
There are a lot of pages dedicated to explaining the different treadmill options here at Fitness Review.
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