Quality time…with the dreadmill?

Sooooo I’ve decided it’s time I find a way to befriend my dreadmill, for better or worse.

Especially as the fall/winter months arrive and I continue on my goal of focus running + barre n9ne = best focused workout plan ever (not that I’m biased or anything…).

And not just through intervals – I learned from last winter’s interval work that I inadvertently overdid it on the interval training…my endurance for longer jaunts on the dreadmill (or outside) were seriously impacted. My body was no longer used to steady state running because well, I wasn’t doing enough of it over the cold winter months. At best I was running outside maybe once or twice (that’s a stretch) a week and spending the rest of my days on the dreadmill, keeping myself occupied with intervals, intervals, intervals.

Now, don’t get me wrong – intervals have a time and a place in my life. They’ve totally helped me increase my speed and stamina. I just need to find a way to balance interval work dreadmill-style with steady-state work, dreadmill-style. Because I *really* want to keep up my distance and endurance this winter, as best as I can anyway.

Therein lies the problem – longer runs on the dreadmill bore me to tears. Hence my SOS to ya’ll:

Help me figure out a way to spend quality time on the dreadmill when running outside (mostly during the week) isn’t as feasible (snow, ice, utter darkness at all times of day…*sob*).

I’d love to be able to rack up the miles a little bit less painfully this winter – usually anything more than 4-5 miles on the dreadmill and I’m ready to gauge my eyes out. The only thing that used to work was throwing an on-demand TV show that would last an hour and at least that would keep me distracted long enough to get through the workout. My only other thought was watching a movie – y’know, if I wanted to run more like 5-6 or so miles on the dreadmill, maybe a 90 minute movie would keep me preoccupied enough??

But then I think – doesn’t this go against that thing called focus with running?? Or do I throw that out the window when it comes to running on the dreadmill?

Ahhhh. What to doooooo.

As you can see…I need your help. Any and all ideas are MORE than welcome….the crazier, the better. 😉 

Your ever-grateful EatDrinkBreatheSweat Editor-in-Chief,  Jessica 😉

32 thoughts on “Quality time…with the dreadmill?

  1. I have the same problem, so I can’t wait to see what people come up with here. I’m already dreading a 6 mile steady state run on it tonight because of this lovely New England weather we’re having.

    I always end up doing some sort of intervals to avoid boredom, but right now being in taper mode I really can’t stress my legs!

    • Ha, I figured a few of you would respond along these lines – it’s like the never-ending condundrum for us northeastern runners that can only bear so much icy/snowy running in the winter before the treadmill becomes a quasi-attractive backup option!

  2. Ah, yes, that IS a wee conundrum! I can only do HIIT on dreadmills. But, I remember, back in my dreadmill days that one thing that helped was designating every 10 min to a new “focus” so for instance, change the incline up every 10 min or start really slow and increase speed every 10…so you are not pushing yourself to the level of HIIT but you still have something to distract yourself a bit…I mean, focus does not = torture! 🙂

    • Ohhhh the 10 minutes thing is a GREAT idea! Would totally break things up a bit and keep things changingw ithout it being a full-on HiIT or interval style workout. I’m definitely going to try this one!!

  3. I say, brave the elements and hit the road (at least before the ice makes it impossible). Get a headlamp (they are cheap) and head out in the mornings – rain or shine. You will feel like a badass once you’re done! And for the most part, the bad people aren’t up at 6 am 🙂

  4. I find that being distracted on the “dreadmill” helps. I will listen to audio book or if I’m just walking on the treadmill I’ll read my eReader. I will also listen to a set playlist of fast-paced songs to get me going. I dream of one day having a treadmill that has a built in DVD player and monitor! I miss my old gym in which I could watch a whole TV show right on the treadmill. Made 30 minutes of exercise go a lot faster.

    • This is where I am lucky in that I own my own treadmill and can watch movies or on-demand TV shows to keep myself a little bit preoccupied. But I’ve even found that sometimes even THAT doesn’t work (sad, right??)…hence my SOS 🙂

  5. I’m kind of with Naomi here. You can totally use the treadmill for your shorter, speedier during-the-week workouts, but I would try to get outside at least once a week in the winter. I really came to appreciate and – dare I say it – enjoy my winter runs (Vasoline on the face is key to avoiding that not-so-sexy windchapped face look) last year. As you know I signed up for a half in January so this will be a good opportutnity for me to practice what I preach.

    Of course you can’t ALWAYS do that so my other piece of advice is find a TV series that you wanted to get into but didn’t for whatever reason (for me this was Felicity, and then Party of 5), Netflix them, and work your way through the series. I also feel like books on tape (or CD) would be good as well.

    • I have to say – after I wrote this post, I thought to myself – why NOT continue to run as much as I can outside this winter? Sure, it might suck far too much on some mornings to get out there and do it, but other mornings it might be just what I need. The cold air, the fresh air – vs. stale winter air we breathe alllll season long will feel SO GOOD. I think I just need to get used to the idea – that I don’t have to stick to running outdoors just on the weekends, but I can totally get some running done in the winter outside during the week too. It can’t be THAT bad right?? Sorta like I never thought I’d get used to running in 80% humidity. But your body adjusts, right?

      I have gotten into a series on demand – Suits – that I like but don’t have time to watch during the week, that might be a good one when the treadmill is my ONLY option.

      Thanks lady, great advice 🙂

  6. Ug. I’m not a runner so I can’t really help you here. I just know that if I hate something, I’m less likely to want to do it. Since you hate the treadmill so much…is it really worth it? Eek! Tough one

    • Well – I look at the treadmill as a necessary evil – for ME anyway. I LOVE to run and can’t imagine curbing my running habit way back in the winter, it would make me sad. So I’m trying to figure out how to balance the winter elements with a combination of running outside when possible and dealing with the dreadmill a little bit less painfully when needed, ya know??

  7. This is a tough question because my answer does go against your last post’s message of “focusing” on running. However, when I do long run on the treadmill, I do try to find a movie or a television series marathon or something. I also try to break it up by allowing myself a Gu or something like that about halfway through, or I’ll increase my speed by .1 each mile.

    • That’s my struggle too – I don’t want to give up focus, but know it’s near-impossible to focus a lot when I’m on the dreadmill or I’ll never get through it! I’m loving the idea of starting to watch movies while I run – not only will the time go by each time I run on it, but it’ll keep me going back for more, since i probably won’t watch an ENTIRE movie in one treadmill session, right?

  8. I agree that running outside is much more enjoyable, but for me the treadmill is normally my only option most days. (stay at home mom with a husband that works crazy hours!) So….This is what works for me. I run 10mins then get off and do 10 push ups, then run 10mins and get off and do 25 crunches..and so on for an hr. It actually makes the hr go by allot faster.
    The other thing I do is walk a kms then run a kms then sprint a kms for a total of 10kms.
    The constant running for an hr just doesn’t work for me…So I gotta keep changing things up!

  9. Well, you know how I feel about the treadmill as well. Thinking back, I have no freaking idea how I pulled out 8-milers during my first half training. It definitely helps doing intervals, even if it’s something like 2 or 3 minute intervals that aren’t insanely fast, just changing it up. And since you have the luxury of changing the TV channels (which I can do at the gym) then try to zone out to a movie. I just kept picturing myself crossing the finish line when I started to falter and question my sanity.

    • LOL Heather, you are a riot. I distinctly remember wondering how the EFF is she running 8 miles on that damn thing?? But now that I’m seriously considering that this winter, I *still* find myself asking that very same thing. I guess date night and a movie on the treadmill is the way to go, consensus is telling me!

  10. like many others, my only “solution” to date is trying to zone out by watching tv….atleast for longer runs. for anything 4 miles or shorter, i can usually blast some good tunes and play numbers games with the intervals and times…well, theyre probably better off called mind games than numbers games, but i find that trying to beat the clock or challenge myself to “just 30 seconds more at this pace” really helps me knock em out well!

    • sometimes mind games are the way to go…and I guess what this all proves to me is that I’m not the only one that has a hard time befriending the treadmill with the mileage is longer than 4-5 miles! At least I’m not alone 😉

  11. I do hit up the treadmill especially on dark rainy mornings where I want to get in some extra sleep…uhhh maybe tomorrow. Have you tried book on tape? Also we should have a treadmill date you can go your speed and I mine and pass the miles away that way 😉

  12. I also tend to use the treadmill during the winter or if I’m traveling fo rmid-week, mid-milage runs. For example, today I’m traveling for work, so I was up super early and quite frankly, I didn’t feel safe to be outside by myself.

    I play serious mental games with myself. I always watch sports or ESPN…it’s kind of motivating. I can’t run while I run, I bounce to much and can’t be bothered to turn the pages. I tried to watch the Soup once and I almost fell off because I was laughing so hard 🙂

    I also break up the runs into 5-10 minute increments. For example, I’ll warm up at 6.0 for 10 minutes. Then I’ll run for 3 minutes at 6.3 and 2 minutes at 6.5, 3 minutes at 6.7 and 2 minutes at 6.8. Then I go back to an average pace for another 10 minute increment. Then I do hills. 3 minutes on a low incline increase it 0.5 in incline at each 30 second increment until I’ve done that for 5 minutes. Honestly, sometimes I make the combos complicated just because it keeps me constantly thinking about the run, when in reality, I’m only changing speed or incline slightly. It’s all a mental game!

    • Oh I like the games concept – who cares if it’s just little changes you’re making while you’re running (up the speed a little, up the incline, then back down, etc.). I kind of did that today during my run. What I realized is that once I get past 3 miles on the treadmill, it gets a LOT easier to keep going. For some reason anything prior to 3 miles is utter painful torture! I managed all 6 miles today, just like my tweet last night promised…talk about using twitter for accountability 😉

  13. It’s been sooo long since I’ve run on a treadmill, but I used to do tricks with my playlist – songs could only be 4 min or longer, so I knew if I had listened to 10 songs I had run at least 40 minutes 🙂 ha (I can’t look at the clock, EVER, it bores me out of my mind to know watch the seconds tick by).

  14. Any chance you could put up a small tv by your treaddy? …Watch episodes of Jersey Shore or any other trashy, feel-good show that you otherwise wouldn’t watch? I know that music is an obvious answer… but I love to listen to embarrassing songs on my iPod (Justin Bieber, anyone?). Not like you couldn’t do that outside, but it might help. Ever thought of trying skipping/HIIT training in the winter (Not running)?

  15. Pingback: A workout-y week | EatDrinkBreatheSweat

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