Working out indoors

Jennifer Geer

Try these 10 ideas for keeping yourself entertained during treadmill running when you can't run outside.

If you enjoy running outside, it can be hard to find the motivation to get your run in when you’re stuck indoors. But sometimes, the treadmill is all you’ve got. Here are some suggestions for changing up the usual boring treadmill run.

10 ideas for keeping your sanity on the treadmill:

#1: Listen to music

Choose your favorite upbeat playlist and blast it while you run. Music does amazing things for your energy level and motivation. Music can transform a boring run into something fun.

#2: Watch TV

This is how I watched the entire season of Bridgerton. Choose a show that’s the same amount of time that you want to run for, and put it on. It may make your time on the treadmill fly by.

#3: Listen to a podcast

Put on your favorite podcast or listen to an audiobook, and let it keep your mind busy while you are running.

#4: Speedwork

Treadmills are great for speedwork days. You’ve got precise control of your pace and you can easily keep track of your timing. And the challenge of running fast should keep your heart pumping and stave off the boredom.

#5: Hill repeats

Just like speedwork, when you run at an incline, you have complete control of the treadmill. When you live in a very flat area, as I do, it can be hard to find the perfect hill for repeats. But on the treadmill, you can up your incline to anything you want. And just like speedwork, this workout will keep you so challenged that you shouldn’t have too much time to get bored.

#6: Treadmill apps

There are countless apps to use to have some fun on the treadmill. Zombies, Run! puts you in a thrilling story where you are running from zombies. If you’d like to try a running simulation app, Treadmill Trails offers 30-minute videos for 99 cents each. Some of the trails available are the California coast, Zion Canyon, and Central Park in New York.

#7: Treadmill dancing

Okay, stay with me for this one. I know the serious runners are rolling their eyes right now. But treadmill dancing really is a thing. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re bored to death of running on the treadmill and still want to get a heart-pumping workout in, try treadmill dancing. This YouTube video gives you an idea of how to get started. It’s only about 90 seconds long, so don’t expect a workout from it, but it gives you the idea of how to get started.

#8: Don’t constantly watch the clock

Counting down the minutes makes the run seem so much longer. Cover up that console with a towel. Nothing makes a run seemingly last forever more than watching the clock every minute.

#9: Change your location

Get out of the house and go to the gym. My treadmill is in my windowless basement. For variety, I can leave my house and go to my gym where there is a wall of windows, TVs everywhere, upbeat music, and plenty of treadmills. Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need.

#10: Read

You can listen to an audiobook, but some people like to read actual books while on the treadmill. I’m not able to do this one due to coordination issues. But some people may find this is a great way to distract them on an easy run day. I’d recommend sticking to jogging or walking while you’re reading, however.

The next time you end up on a treadmill indoors, I hope these ideas inspired you to get moving in a fun way.

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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area. New articles published each weekday.

Chicago, IL

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