I have what I call treadmill A.D.D.
My attention span is that of a goldfish, I stare at the console non-stop and every minute feels like the longest minute of my life. Part of my treadmill disorder stems from not being the best runner in the world. I grew up dancing and running was never my “thing.” On top of that, I am pretty slow and have no idea what a runner’s high feels like (seriously, what the heck is that?!). So while many of my runner friends feel a sense of enjoyment from their time on the treadmill, I am enduring a constant inner struggle (aka agony) to keep treading steps on a moving conveyor belt that is known to help me stay fit. I recognized that this is indeed an issue. The “dreadmill” and I had to work something out because running is something I want to be a part of my fitness routine as it challenges my mind and my body.
I have several ways to try to keep myself in the zone and keep my bore level to a minimum.
Bust out my iPad: Strange fact about me…I can read my iPad while I run. Books and magazines are another story, but there is something about my iPad screen that I am able to focus on. So, if you haven’t tried this out you should because you may be pleasantly surprised. Time flew by when I was addicted to the Hunger Games! I swear I could run all day to get through those books. Anyone else have a series I should try out? Another option, run when your “happy place” TV show is on. A marathon of Bravo shows are my favorite!
Change the Speed by the Minute: Running for miles and miles (practically in place) at the same speed boggles my mind. I need to keep things changing as much as possible which is one of the many reasons why group classes like Turbo Kick are so appealing to me. One of my favorite things to do is change the speed by the minute. Please note, speed 10 is foreign to me so I increase my speed by .1 increments rather than a whole speed increase.
My Minute by Minute Run
Repeat backwards by starting at speed 6.5 and going down in speed from there. When I am done it is about 3 miles. Depending on my mood I do variations of this based on distance or doing speed increases during a song chorus rather than based on time. Utilize the program options that are available. The main take away point is that every minute I am able to focus on something new so that the lackluster feeling isn’t creeping on my shoulder.
Cover the Console with a Towel: Out of sight out of mind, right? It is probably an age old trick, but when I plan to run for a longer period of time or need to reach a certain distance it helps me to cover the time/distance counter so it’s not so in my face that I am panting and it has only been one mile.
People Stare, but don’t be Caught being a Creep: Whenever possible I try to get a treadmill that faces towards the open gym (as opposed to the wall). Sometimes I learn a thing or two of what to try out while I am there. And, at times, I am also taking note of what not to do–stare at myself in the mirror for an extended period of time, grunt profusely or be too enthusiastic. In any case, the gym is full of fascinating people.
Switch it Up Mid-Run: For some reason many of us have it stuck in our head that the gym is a 2-part show—cardio then strength training or vice versa. There is another option which is to disperse the two throughout your work out which is the best option for weight loss. When I am just not feeling the treadmill I often hop off after 15 minutes or so, head over to the free weight area, return to my running and finish off with abs. The quick bursts on and off the treadmill keep me active and my (counting every second) mind at bay.
Despite this self-diagnosed disease I did run a ½ marathon about a year ago so my running skills improve every day. (Read: my treadmill A.D.D. dwindles ever so slightly). So even though every treadmill run takes effort, I have to say that I’m mastering the art of treadmill boredom.
Does anyone else find the treadmill takes extra effort? What do you do to extend your treadmill attention span?