I think the treadmill is boring. Raise your hand if you agree. I hop on, armed with my headphones and playlists, hoping something mildly interesting is on the attached television, and I still find myself watching the clock click away the seconds.
However, I’ve discovered the right workout can make the treadmill—dare I say it—fun. Here are three of my favorites that can be modified to accommodate a variety of skill levels and paces.
Ladder-style: This one doesn’t require a lot of thinking, and it can be adjusted for a longer set of time. For a 35-minute workout, start out at a moderate pace for the first five minutes. Then systematically crank through five minutes at half marathon pace (or if you don’t know your half marathon pace, just speed the treadmill up a couple of clicks), five minutes at 10-K pace, five minutes at 5-K pace, five minutes at 10-K pace, 5 minutes at half marathon pace, all the way back to five minutes moderate.
Speed play: For me, it’s easier for fartleks to be true speed play when running outside, e.g., I’ll sprint to that tree, that lamppost, that rock, then jog a little while, then run to the next tree or rock. On the treadmill, I try to alternate 60 seconds of fast running with a couple of minutes of jogging, then 90 seconds of uphill, with a couple of minutes of jogging, repeat. It’s a little more structured than outdoor speed play, but it helps the time fly by.
Intervals: My personal favorites are 800s, but depending on your training plan, you can tailor an interval session to help you work on foot speed (fast quarter miles are great for this) or holding a pace over longer distances, such as three sets of 10 minutes at half marathon pace with 5 minute recoveries in between.
The trainers at my gym always have their clients walking backward and shuffling sideways on the treadmills. I’ve heard this is a great activity for challenging your muscles, but I’m so afraid I’m going to fall. I plan to try it, though, after I’m done with this half marathon training plan. I don’t want to sustain an injury this close to the race because I’m fooling around with something new. Maybe I’ll even work up to walking backwards uphill.
Give me some more workouts to try! What’s your favorite way to stay entertained on the treadmill?