Even for avid runners, the word ‘treadmill’ is like nails on a chalkboard. It’s boring, flat, and almost never as satisfying as an outdoor run. This reputation comes with good reason. Because you are in control of your speed and the time is right in front of you, it seems to take forever. You look down every 30 seconds only to see that you’ve barely moved and still have 3/4 of a workout to complete.

So how can this mundane exercise be made fun? The key is to distract yourself.

For starters, never step foot on the treadmill without headphones. Music has been proven to reduce the pain felt during a tough workout. Plus, it’s an effective tool to help you zone out. Try focusing on how Beyoncé is about to KILL her next verse, or imagine yourself five cocktails deep dancing to Drake. Come back to reality, and four minutes have passed. Not bad.

To get even deeper into distraction mode, try bringing a book. I know the thought of working out and reading simultaneously is a bit scary because it seems so productive. But it WORKS. This is especially good for morning workouts when you have a busy work day ahead. If you can knock out 50 pages AND a 3 mile walk, you’ll start the day off productive and energized. If your brain isn’t up to the challenge, try watching Netflix or a movie on your phone or tablet. This works really well if you are emotionally invested in a show but can never find the time to finish episodes because they are too long. The treadmill was almost made for situations like that. Prop up the screen, crank up the volume, and enjoy.

If you plan on doing a tough sweat session, books and movies don’t always work. For that reason, the best way to create is distraction is by varying the speed and incline. Try out these workouts if you need some inspiration:


Speed Intervals:

Jog (3.5-4 mph) for .1 mile

Sprint (6.5-9mph, depending on skill level) for .2 mile

Repeat for as long as desired (at least 2 miles for a challenge). Each time you sprint, try increasing your speed by at least .1.

photo via pining junkie

Hill Interval: 

Jog (3.5-4 mph) for 3 min, no incline

Run (5.5-6 mph) for 2 min, 4% incline

Jog (3.5-4 mph) for 2 min, 2% incline

Sprint (6.5-8 mph) for 1 min, 5% incline

Jog (3.5-4 mph) for 2 min, 2% incline

Sprint (6.5-8 mph) for 1 min, 6% incline

Jog (3.5-4 mph) for 1 min, 2% incline

Sprint (6.5-8 mph) for 1 min, 8% incline

Jog (3.5-4 mph) for 2 min, no incline

Sprint (6.5-8 mph) for 45 sec, 10% incline

Cool down

This is roughly 15 minutes, so feel free to do multiple sets until satisfied.


Above all else, focus on the outcome of your workout. By reminding yourself that you are making a positive body change and working towards your goals, the treadmill becomes (slightly) less dreadful. And don’t forget to capitalize on any opportunity to run outside when you get the chance!


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