5 Ways to Make Treadmill Running Fun

Man stretching on treadmill
Bored during your treadmill runs? Here are five ideas to spice up your treadmill workouts.. David Sacks/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Yes, treadmill running can get boring, but there are ways you can make it more fun and exciting. Here are five ideas to spice up your treadmill workouts:

1. Do a progression run:  Rather than just running five miles at the same pace, make it a little competition for yourself by trying to run each mile faster than the last.  Start with a warm-up mile at an easy pace, and then pick up to your long run pace.

  Then try to run each mile I usually run each mile about 10 seconds faster than the last.

Or, after your one mile warm-up, increase your pace .1 mph every minute for 15 minutes.  Then go back to your starting pace and do it again, followed by a 10-minute cool down.  

2. Do speed work: One of the fantastic benefits of treadmill running is that you can dial in your exact pace and distance without having to constantly check your GPS watch. So you can use your treadmill time to do some speed work, such as a pyramid workout, a ladder workout, or sprints, like this workout:

  • Start with a 10-minute warm-up jog.
  • Increase your speed by at least 3 mph. Sprint for 30 seconds.
  • Run easy for three minutes.
  • Repeat the sprint/easy interval 8 times through, making each sprint .1 to .3 mph faster than your previous sprint.
  • Cool down with a 5-minute easy jog.

3. Practice race pace.  Do you have an upcoming race on your calendar?

  Running on the treadmill is a great opportunity to practice nailing your goal race pace. After a 5-10 minute-warm-up, do ½ mile repeats at your race pace, with a ½ mile recovery in between. Continue until you’ve done five repeats at race pace, and then cool down for five minutes.

4. Do walking lunges during your recovery. Here’s an easy way to work some strengthening into your treadmill workout.

Start with a 10-minute workout, then do two minutes at about your 10K pace. Recover for one minute by bringing the speed down to 1.3 and doing walking lunges for one minute. After lunging for a minute, return to two minutes of 10K pace.  Repeat the pattern of 10K pace/lunges five more times, and then finish with a 10-minute cool down.

5. Follow your music.  Rather than following a predetermined treadmill workout (either your own workout or a programmed one), just let your music be your guide. Listen to songs with changing tempos. When the tempo is slow, run at an easy pace. When the beat picks up, start increasing your pace.  Before you know it, the song will be over and you’ll be ready for the next one.

Running Music:

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