Strategies For The Treadmill 12311 700×394

10 Tips for Treadmill Motivation

BY Nicole Odell

Running on the treadmill is often a necessity for runners and triathletes during the winter. These 10 tips from Nicole Odell will help you get the most from your time indoors.

Winter weather is here for some parts of the country, and this means getting outside is a little more challenging. The thought about being “forced” to run on a treadmill during the cold months seems to put people in a downright bad mood. But the treadmill doesn’t have to be so terrible, even if your weather forecast looks bad for the next few weeks.

Here are some tips to help tame the terror of the treadmill.

1. Understand the Purpose of the Workout

Is it a key workout, or do you just need to get in some activity? If it is a key workout, it should probably be approached with motivation and a positive outlook, as that workout is supposed to get you closer to your goals.

2. Attitude is Everything

Ask yourself how bad you want it. Sometimes to obtain our goals we do have to do things we don’t necessarily like. Granted, three hours on a treadmill probably isn’t appealing to 99.99 percent of the population, but from my perspective, being thankful you are capable to train will set any workout off on a good foot.

3. Keep Cool

Being indoors means no natural breeze for cooling. Use a fan (or fans) and keep the room as cool as possible, and have cold fluids available. When your core temperature rises too much, performance will suffer the chance of enjoying your indoor workout drops significantly. Figure out works best for your indoor situation to help you stay cool.

4. Be Entertained

Have some really good playlists and save your best songs for the end or when you know you struggle the most.

5. Focus on Form

Use the time on a steady and stable surface to pay attention to your form. Are you bouncing, is your head level, are your shoulders relaxed? What’s your arm position? Are you heavy on the treadmill or quiet? What’s your stride rate?

6. Change up Pace and Grade or Other Variables

When outdoors, depending on where you live, you probably have some terrain changes. You also have training zones – a range to train with an upper and lower limit. Play within these ranges. Perhaps go for 3 minutes at one pace, 4 minutes at another, walk for 30 seconds, and so on. A long base run doesn’t have to be 90 minutes at 10:00 minute/mile and 0.5 percent the whole time. Interval workouts are great for a treadmill because it can help you dial in specific paces, and due to the focus required time seems to pass a lot more quickly.

7. Practice Fueling and Hydration Strategies

Being indoors can make it a little easier to eat and drink on specific schedules, and also a great time to try something new if you aren’t sure it will agree with you.

8. Visualize

We sometimes end up in dark places during a race. How will you get yourself out of it? Practice your mantras, think about how you might feel on race day. I find being indoors allows me to be really in tune with how I am feeling at specific efforts.

9. Split the Workout Up

If you have a two hour run on tap but can’t stand to be on the treadmill more than an hour, then do half the workout in the morning, and the other half in the afternoon. It may not be as productive as two hour straight, but it’s better than nothing.

10. If All Else Fails, do Something Different

Get on a fat bike, go snowshoeing, or on a snow hike. Sometimes it’s fun to ditch the prescribed workout and just get out and be active for a little break from your traditional training structure.

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About Nicole Odell

Nicole Odell is a USA Cycling, USA Triathlon, and TrainingPeaks Level 2 Certified Coach. She runs the endurance sport coaching company NEO Endurance Sports & Fitness, LLC, and wants to make sure you have more fun and go faster when you swim, bike, and/or run. You can find Coach Nicole on FacebookTwitter or contact her via email at

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