Treadmill Running: Mental Tips

Treadmill Running: Mental Tips

Treadmill Running Tips

My FaceBook status  this past Wednesday read – 

Hill Repeats on treadmill

It was in the low 60s outside and the sun was shining brightly and I was on the treadmill running. A tragedy. 

But unlike others who hate the treadmill, I embrace it. 

When I first started running, I ran on the treadmill exclusively. Yes, I had taken a mad leap by signing up for a half marathon as my first race, but I was like a beached whale, 190lbs, size 16, nursing my almost 1 year old (we all know what nursing does to certain parts of the body!) – very very conscious of my body. And so I was definitely not going to be running out on the streets huffing and puffing and dying!

Even when I got used to running outside and being confident, the entirety of weekday training runs for my first marathon was done on the treadmill while watching the ‘Spirit of the Marathon’ countless times. I was working at a job that had weird timings, a husband who travelled Monday through Thursday and 2 little ones at home. So the treadmill in my basement was my BRF. 

Although my minions are grown up enough to be in school, I still take recourse to the treadmill because my run time is usually early morning when it is dark outside and I don’t have anyone to run with me. 

I’m sharing some of my simple treadmill running tips that has let me have a 5 year relationship with my treadmill. 

1. Don’t call it the “DREADMILL”

How can you have a meaningful relationship with someone if you start off by calling them names? Calling it the dreadmill is not doing you any favors, it is teaching to you to dread it even before you start off on it.  

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 10.17.23 AM
He’s one of my favorite writers, but I have to disagree with Mark Remy on this one.

2. Entertain yourself

TV Shows, movies, books, music, whatever floats your boat. That first marathon training was made possible by countless watchings of The Spirit of the Marathon. My recent binge watching was Doctor Who and now, Once Upon a Time. Time runs by super quickly when your mind is occupied.

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Time does go by fast if you have something to occupy your mind.

3. Embrace the inevitable

You are looking at the treadmill because you don’t have any other alternative. What if there wasn’t a treadmill to run on either? That would drive me more crazy than having to run on the treadmill. So embrace the inevitable and just get it over with. Your ultimate goal is sticking to your training plan and anything that helps you do that should be your BRF. 

No wonder people hate the treadmill with that attitude!
No wonder people hate the treadmill with that attitude! 

Do you run on the treadmill or are you an exclusive outdoors runner?
If you run on the treadmill, what is your preference to be distracted – music or tv or something else? What is the latest you’ve been watching or hearing on the treadmill?

I’m joining the Tuesdays on the Run LinkUp with Patty from My No-Guilt Life, Erika from MCM Mama Runs and April from Run the Great Wide Somewhere for today’s topic on Treadmill Workouts. Check out other treadmill tips from other bloggers in the linkUp.


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  • Jennifer Lefforge

    LOVE this, Smitha! And I never even thought about the fact that some people just starting out can use the treadmill when they are too self-conscious for hitting the trails. Great point! And you’re right – you can’t start a meaningful relationship with name calling. AWESOME post.

    • Thank you, Jennifer.
      Everyone says running is great for weight loss, but to take that first step when someone is big is really a hard thing to do.

  • fairytalesandfitness

    I don’t mind running on the treadmill at all. A good TV show usually passes the time.

    • Agreed! I’ve been binge watching and re-binging on some favorite shows.

  • I’m almost exclusively an outdoors runner, but I do use the treadmill from time to time when the weather demands it. Watching some light and funny TV show is usually my go-to distraction, but I’ve recently started a really fantastic audiobook, so lately when I go running (either outside or on the mill) I’m listening to that. πŸ™‚

    • I’ve never listened to an audiobook while running. I just started listening to audiobooks. Which one is your favorite?

      • Audiobooks are great when you get tired of listening to the same old music over and over again. πŸ™‚ I recently finished The Girl on the Train (a super great murder mystery) by Paula Hawkins, and I’m currently about halfway through the The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. It definitely makes the miles go by faster.

  • Smitha I totally agree with you! The mill does not have to be dreadful. I think it’s all about what we get used to, honestly. When I first started running, I lived in England and didn’t feel safe out on the streets alone. So I milled in our apt. workout room. I milled with the kids in a bouncy seat or swing. Now I run outside when weather permits, but you do what you have to, right?

    • Absolutely! I remember building a babygate around my treadmill and sometimes putting the baby in the play pen next to the treadmill.

  • #2 is key for me. I don’t like doing long runs on the treadmill, but I do like it for hill repeats or speed intervals.

    • I’ve been doing hill repeats on the treadmill for the past few weeks and I have to say that it is the hardest! Harder than doing them outside.

  • I either need to be running slowly enough to read or I need to play with the speed constantly. I don’t find music or tv to be enough distraction for a long run on the treadmill. I don’t hate the treadmill, but I don’t love it either. It’s definitely a “no other option” choice.

    • I only read on the treadmill when I am doing heart rate training. Music for intervals and TV for just runs. Not a fan for long runs though. I have to jump on and off to distract myself.

  • Yes probably not calling it the dread mill would help a lot! I only use it when I absolutely have to .

  • I am not a treadmill fan, but I think I’m going to give it a try this summer for my speedwork. And I promise not to call it the dreadmill when I give it a try again! πŸ˜‰ Thanks for linking up with us!

  • Kelli

    I just did mile repeats on the treadmill tonight. Had music on but I can’t actually focus on TV or anything else during speedwork. When I am tempted to cut my intervals short I just imagine getting passed in the run part of a triathlon by all those women with 35-39 on their calves that I blew past on the bike and think “I want this, therefore I have to work for it!”


    Thanks for sharing your positive thoughts on the treadmill. I admit my thoughts on the treadmill are not usually so positive. I like your “what if there wasn’t a treadmill to run on either?” That put things in perspective for me. Thanks!

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