And That’s When I Punched the Treadmill…

25 Jul

No, totally kidding. I didn’t actually punch the treadmill. That would have hurt. I did seriously think about punching the treadmill, though. I take no particular joy in running on the treadmill. There’s absolutely nothing to look at except the ridiculous faces you make in the mirror. Strange, sweaty people run on the treadmills next you. And you just keep thinking how pointless it is that you are running so much and getting absolutely nowhere.

However, DC was so hot this weekend I had no choice but to move my run inside. It was that or die or heatstroke on the W&OD trail, the idea of which was not particularly appealing to me. I knew I needed to get my 10-mile training run done one way or the other, and so Sunday I locked into the treadmill for 2 very long, very dull hours.

Welcome to treadmill hell!

I got the miles done, it was neither easy nor enjoyable, but some runs are just like that. I had plenty of time to think while running about ways to distract yourself from slipping into a treadmill-induced stupor. Without further ado here are some tricks I use to help time go by faster while I shuffle along on the treadmill.

How to Survive the Dreadmill

1) Bring something to cover up the screen. If I don’t have something to cover the screen with all I do is stare as the numbers tick slowly, slowly upward. Time switches to slow-motion and it takes forever to complete the run. I usually use a magazine, but you can also use a larger book or a towel.

2) Arrive prepared. Sunday I brought the following down to the gym with me: magazine, iPhone, iPod shuffle, Clif Shot Bloks, water bottle, Gatorade, and a towel. My gym has a TV (though I never watch it) so I thought if worst came to absolute worst I could pass the time by watching CNN. Make sure you bring everything you will need for the run when you head out, including fuel. Otherwise you’ll have to hop off and hop back on and that can very much throw off your rhythm.

3) Take walk breaks. I usually take walk breaks on my long runs, but I found I needed even more to mentally get through this treadmill run. Changing the speed helps keep the run interesting (for the first few miles) and helps mentally break the run into pieces.

4) For long runs, occasionally reset the treadmill. I take a picture of the screen before I reset so I can add up my total numbers at the end, but for some reason re-setting the screen again helps me to mentally break the run up.

5) For long runs, take stretch breaks. I hopped off the treadmill twice and did a little downward dog to help loosen up my tight calf muscles. I also reset the treadmill when I took the stretch breaks.

6) Do whatever you have to do to distract yourself. I brought my iPhone with me so I could check Facebook and Twitter (and tweet, thanks to all for the supportive tweets!), and listen to an audiobook and my shuffle for music. I know many people also watch TV episodes on their smart-phone or read books on an e-reader. Just find what works for you an do it. I switched between music and the audiobook several times throughout the run.

7) Make it a buddy run. They don’t need to run all of your miles with you, but having someone to talk to for a few miles can be a great distraction.

8) Don’t forget fuel! Even though you might be running in air-conditioned bliss as opposed to the outdoor sauna it’s still important to ensure you hydrate and fuel properly. Otherwise, it will make an already difficult run, even tougher.

Hope some of these help break up the inevitable treadmill boredom. Treadmill runs can be brutal, but with the temperature stuck at 100 degrees, and the heat index even higher, it’s not much of an option at the moment.


What is the farthest distance you have ever run on the treadmill?

How do you distract yourself while on the wretched machine?


11 Responses to “And That’s When I Punched the Treadmill…”

  1. Victoria (District Chocoholic) July 25, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    Best blog post title ever.

    I usually just plan on being at the gym during the morning news. Or perhaps evening news. I don’t mind watching news while running on the treadmill. I also sometimes randomly change the speed so that I can have fun pressing buttons.

    Yes I’m 8 years old.

    • feetoffancy July 26, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

      Haha! Thanks, I loved it too! Usually if I watch TV, I watch the news as well. And I change the speed/incline for the exact same reason. Pressing buttons never gets old.

  2. katie July 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    ugh, you poor thing. seriously, this heat has been ridic, but treadmill is the worst thing ever.

    • feetoffancy July 26, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

      I’m fairly certain it was invented by the devil as a form of torture.

  3. Coach Brian July 26, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    My longest treadmill run ever is 18 miles. It was done on a treadmill in my parents basement. I don’t think the treadmill was really meant to go that long. It started to smell a little bit (I’m sure the treadmill might say the same thing about me). I took a few walk breaks and ended up with a big chafe mark where my mp3 player wraps around my arm. 2 hours and 48 minutes later, I had learned a lesson in mental toughness.

    • feetoffancy July 26, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

      18 miles? Wow. That is a serious feat. Walk breaks were a huge help for me, otherwise, I never would have made it through the run.

      And a lesson in mental toughness it was. I can’t imagine doing 18 miles. Kudos!!

  4. Dawn July 26, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    WAY TO GO! I couldn’t imagine running on the treadmill for 2 hours. I think my longest treadmill run was 8 miles, and I was DONE after that. Huge, huge props to you for sticking it out and getting all your miles in.

    • feetoffancy July 26, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

      8 miles is pretty darn good! By the time I hit 7 miles I just wanted to be done. I zoned out and just kept running. How’s the Seattle weather? I’m assuming beautiful as always!

  5. Carly D. @ CarlyBananas July 26, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

    10 miles on the treadmill is pretty baller. I would have shot the treadmill, forget about punching it.

    • feetoffancy July 26, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

      Shooting it would be much more effective than punching. I’ll have to use your method next time. Although, I seriously hope I never have to do 10 miles on the treadmill again.

  6. Chris August 2, 2011 at 5:05 am #

    When I used the treadmill I would set up a portable DVD player, home treadmill, and watch movies or tv shoes.

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