How to make your treadmill run suck less

by lachicaruns on

If you’ve read my blog before, you may have noticed that I have a hate/hate relationship with my treadmill. Despise is not a strong-enough word.

My hatred for the thing is so deep that this runner chica bundles up and runs outside in the winter.

That is, until now. I seem to have cracked the code — and I hope I’m not speaking too soon — but I think I’ve made the treadmill by b@#%*!

Take that, treadmill. The fix was so simple that I am kicking myself for not thinking of it sooner.

(Pause for dramatic effect.)

Sunny Skirt in Frolic helps make the treadmill run suck less.

I stop every half mile.

Yeah, that’s my big secret. I stop, get off the treadmill, get a drink of water from a nearby water bottle, get back on the thing and run.

Why does this work for me? Mostly because I overheat when I run. Taking frequent, less-than-a-minute-long breaks has been helping. A lot.

So much so, that I haven’t had to skip any of the weekday runs on my Hal Higdon intermediate half-marathon training plan. And with five runs on the schedule, I can’t afford to skip a run just because it’s winter in the Michigan tundra.

If you’re struggling to run more than a mile or two, here are a couple of other things you can also try to make the treadmill runs suck less:

  • Watch a show or movie on an iPad or smartphone. I recently started re-watching The Sopranos on Amazon Prime. If that’s not enough, try watching your favorite show only when you’re on the treadmill.
  • Dress for success. I dress like I do in the warmest days of summer, plus have a ceiling fan and table-top fan blowing on me while I’m on the ‘mill.
  • Listen to music. Some of my friends can’t watch videos when they run (I know I can’t read m’self), so they listen to upbeat music. My Pandora station has gotten me through may an outdoor run by myself.
  • People watch. If you’re running on the treadmill at your gym, some of your fellow patrons may provide the best entertainment of your week.

So far, I’ve been doing three to 3.5 mile runs indoors. The plan calls for mid-week runs that go up to 8 milers. I am hopeful that the weather will allow me to take most of those runs outside. If not, at least now I know I can tame the stupid thing.

Do you have any tricks to get yourself to run on the treadmill? Any ways you make your treadmill runs suck less? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)

Written by: lachicaruns

My name is Gisgie. It's pronounced geese (like the birds) and gee (like the letter). Now that we've met, I'm glad you're here. I'm an injury-prone runner who manages to find reasons to keep coming back to the road despite ongoing challenges. Most recently, I've struggled with piriformis syndrome. I'm currently winning. Most days.


Michelle M

Many of my treadmill runs have taken place at my local gym. I have managed to do 3 hours by switching to a different treadmill on different sides of the gym after each hour. (Different TV’s to see.)


What I do not like is running on a treadmill. It’s boring, the lack of airflow makes me sweat profusely and get very warm, and I can’t keep my eyes off the damn timer, which makes the whole thing just streeetch on forever. But I live now in an area where, variously, there aren’t sidewalks, or the sidewalks aren’t maintained against snow (which then turns into ice). I don’t feel comfortable running in the street; there are great big metal wheeled things on the street that may or may not be interested in smooshing little runners into moist red paste. Besides that, its winter, and daylight is limited; even if I had the stones to run in the street during the day, I wouldn’t dare it at night. So it seems that if I’m going to run at all over the winter, it’s going to be on a horrible treadmill. Your post is very useful for me. Thank!


Glad to hear you found it helpful. I have struggled with this for years and am slowly trying different things. A friend also suggested I do weight training when I do take a break. I may incorporate that, too.

Dorothy@ Fitness

I just got back on the treadmill recently and I’m struggling. I tend to check the timer and I that makes me feel exhausted faster, like a mind-problem thing. Maybe I’ll find something to watch next time for distraction. Thanks for the tips!


I can’t stand it if I don’t run on the treadmill with some friends and listen to music. I prefer running outside much more to treadmill.


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