I love my treadmill and I hate my treadmill. But throughout our long relationship, I’ve discovered how to keep going.

 

We’ve been in a relationship for a long time. Shortly after I got married, I bought a middle-of-the-line treadmill with no bells and whistles and our lives have evermore been intertwined. We had months and years when we were BFFs. We had years where we didn’t see much of each other. Very on-again, off-again.

I’ve spent hours trying to walk myself into labor. Listened to thousands of songs. Or, more accurately, the same songs thousands of times. Done more math examples than in all of my school years. You know the ones – if there’s a quarter of this lap left and a lap is a quarter of a mile, how many seconds until there’s only one kilometer left to complete a 5k? I’ve watched the baby monitor lights to make sure my infant was still sleeping, watched my toddler playing with an iPad on the bed nearby, begged my kids to give me just one more mile before asking yet another question, and coordinated schedules with my teenagers so they could also have a turn.

The real truth is, running on a treadmill is boring. It’s tedious. But it’s effective. My life would definitely be different without my treadmill. I would never have taken up running, quit running, taken up running again, and again and again. I vastly prefer running outdoors, even though it’s physically more challenging. There is an exhilaration I get from an outdoor run that just doesn’t come with a treadmill run. But for consistency, the treadmill saves me. Extreme heat (above 80), extreme cold (below 35) and allergy season keep me indoors and on that treadmill. I love it and I hate it and I pray for it to last just a little bit longer!

 

So here are some tips to make your treadmill work better for you:

  1. Don’t use it as a clothes horse. If there are things piled on it, there’s one more excuse not to use it.
  2. Place it near a window for cheap winter air conditioning. In summer, use a clip-on fan to keep the air moving.
  3. If you only have a few minutes to work out one day (hello short Fridays!), hit that incline button. Crank it up a couple of percent to intensify that short run.
  4. See that cup holder? Use it. Sip water throughout your workout.
  5. Safety first – never use a treadmill with a little child nearby. If a child approaches the treadmill, kill the motor immediately.
  6. Stay on top of your shoe mileage. Running shoes used exclusively on a treadmill can look brand new when they’re completely used up. Many running apps like Strava or MapMyRun can track the mileage on your gear.
  7. Use your running time. Listen to music to relax your mind. Listen to a motivational podcast or Ted talk to improve your outlook. Work through a dilemma and come up with some creative solutions. Consider your treadmill time a mental health break and it will be one.