How to Beat Treadmill Boredom

If you’re like most people in this world, you do not like running on a treadmill. Treadmills can seem like your worst enemy at the gym.

Personally, I hate it. I think its one of the worst things in the gym, only because I get so bored on it. I know I’m not alone in this either.

Beating Treadmill Boredom

It Can Get Boring Really Quick

“Just move those left feet”

Running on a treadmill can feel like you really aren’t doing much to improve yourself. It can feel like a waste of time. You are pushing your body but see yourself going nowhere, literally.

Who wants to stare at a window or mirror that’s in front of them for over 20 minutes while they’re running?

You can get sick of this quickly, especially since people that are working out tend to be very active and sometimes restless people.

I don’t know about you, but when I want to run, I have to feel like I’m actually going somewhere. See the scenery actually change with every step I’m taking. See myself getting closer to a goal.

Some of you may enjoy the treadmill, what it does for you, and somehow not be bored on it. I don’t know how that’s possible, but you may be trying to find alternatives to make your experience a little better. There is always a way to make something better, you just have to look for it.

Mother Nature is Your Friend

“Prove to them you got the moves”

My first piece of advice with regards to beating treadmill boredom is to not run on the treadmill at all. Run outside. Run anywhere. The treadmill is not a machine you are obligated to use.

You already know how boring the treadmill can be so it only makes sense to not use it. Run and explore the area you’re in. You may find and see things that you may have never seen. You’ll definitely see things you wouldn’t have noticed had you been on a treadmill, inside, while looking at a mirror.

If you feel that the treadmill is your only option and you can’t run in the great outdoors, then there are ways to beat the boredom. They might seem fairly obvious after reading them, but the methods that are about to be explained are very simple and help the time fly by while you’re running in place.

Friends, Friends, Friends

“And we can do this together”

A quick and easy solution to the treadmill dilemma is to get a friend and run alongside them. Having somebody to run with can put your mind at ease. You see your friend pushing themselves so you are almost forced to do the same. You can talk to your running buddy as the time just flies by.

You may forget you two are even on treadmills to begin with. Being around good people when you’re on the treadmill will just make everything that much easier for you. You feel as though you are not alone in your hard work. You have somebody else pushing you the way you may need to be pushed.

Cover It Up

“When you finally let go”

Beating Treadmill Boredom

If you have friends that don’t want to do cardio with you and you feel the boredom creeping up on you and you can see the time slowly ticking away, cover the monitor. We all know that time will seem to stand still if we are focused on it. Never understood why this happens, but it always does.

Once you focus on the time, all of your focus will go to that and the boredom will only escalate making the treadmill seem worse than it actually is.

Covering the monitor almost forces you to think about something else. You won’t be able to see the time, you won’t be able to see the calories you’ve burned, you won’t be able to see anything. You will only be able to focus on the running and that’s it. Which is what you should be doing anyway, but it’s understandably difficult to do that at times.

Put Your Mind Elsewhere

“Don’t think about it”

A major key when it comes to running on the treadmill is to not think about yourself as being on the treadmill. If you do this then you will just end up getting more bored than you already are.

The less you actually think about the treadmill, the faster the time will go. Thinking less can make a 10-minute run feel like it was 5. It may even make you want to do more running.

Completely zone out. Block out everything around you. Make it seem as though you are the only one around. Imagine that you are on the only treadmill and there is nobody around for miles.

Music Is Your Friend

“Go ahead, get crazy”

Beating Treadmill Boredom

If you have a mind that is thinking a million things a minute, then it can be tough to just shut it off. Running on the treadmill can possibly make you think even more.

A way around this is to make a kick-ass playlist of your favorite songs and jam out while you move. It can be pretty easy to get lost in the music so you might as well do it.

Your legs will be moving but your mind should be elsewhere. Your mind should be locked-in to what song is playing. Sing along with it (out loud or in your head, whichever you prefer. You may scare the people around you though if you are belting out too many notes).

Try to make the playlist last for the duration you want your run to last. This isn’t necessary by any means, I just think it’ll seem cool to have your run end when the last song does.

If music isn’t necessarily your thing, there are always podcasts that you can listen to. There are podcasts out there for nearly anything you want to hear about. Pick something you are interested in and listen away. It’ll be like the radio without the annoying commercials every five minutes.

Put On Your Racing Boots

“‘Cause you’re confident, babe”

There may be times where you just forget to bring your headphones. This puts music and podcasts out of the question immediately. The world is not ending just yet, there are other options for you.

A simple thing you can do is to look around and see if anybody else is running on a treadmill near you. If you find somebody, look at them with a real intensity in your eyes, nod at them, and start racing them. Don’t let them run faster than you. Don’t let them run longer than you.

Push yourself harder than they are. Keep in mind that this person may have zero knowledge that you are racing them, which means you should win this imaginary race. If you somehow end up losing this race then I really don’t know what to say to motivate you…you’ll get them next time? Hopefully.

Interval Training

“Show the room what you can do”

Say you are somehow the only person that is about to run on the treadmill. What are you to do? No music, nobody to race.

A good suggestion would be to try some sort of interval running on the treadmill. This is when you speed up and slow down throughout the duration of the run.The incline for the run could also fluctuate. This will definitely keep your body guessing while you are running. It may also be a better cardio boost for you.

Instead of worrying about the treadmill, you are more focused on when the treadmill is going to change speeds. The more extreme the interval change, the better. The boredom will seem to just disappear.

With the changing of the intervals, try to set each interval for a specific amount of time. For example, when the speed increases, stay at this speed for about a minute.

If you are really wanting to push yourself, try to get a full sprint in for 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds with a walk. Try doing this for 10 minutes. Be warned, the workout I just mentioned is probably one of the harder cardio routines I have ever done. Those 1:1 workout ratios are not easy.

TV’s Everywhere

“Feel the rhythm getting louder”

If the interval running sounds a bit intense for you at the moment, there are still other alternatives.

I know most gyms have televisions surrounding nearly all areas in them. Some treadmills even have TVs in them, with cable! Can you see where I’m starting to get at?

Watch TV while you’re doing your work. The TV could be a great distraction for you. If you are the type of runner that likes to go at the same pace for their entire run, then you should be able to watch TV with ease. This could be difficult for those interval runners unless they are master multi-taskers

Mind Games

“Anyone can do it”

Beating Treadmill Boredom

No TV? No problem. This is when you’re going to have to start getting pretty creative with what you do and how you occupy your time on the treadmill.

Start playing some kind of name game with yourself. It can be any kind of game. Boy and girl names from A-Z. Find something in the room that starts with every letter of the alphabet. There are an infinite number of possibilities with this. Just have to keep your mind off running.


“Just move your body”

Think about work. This may not seem like the best solution, but it can make the time go by much faster.

Think about any possible problems you may be having at work and then start troubleshooting. Think of ways that you can help solve these problems. If this for some reason just makes you angry, you’ll probably end up running harder on the treadmill so it seems like a win-win situation to me.

Technique Is Always Important

“You got the moves, babe”

If all of this is failing and you are still as bored as ever on the treadmill, there is still some hope for you.

We all know that technique is crucial if you want the most out of every workout. Well, the same holds true for when you’re running.

I would say over 90% of the people I see running don’t have proper form and technique. Everyone is going to have their own running style, but there are ways to make your running better.

So, instead of focusing on how much longer you have on the treadmill, focus on how you are running. Try to get the right technique down. It will feel awkward at first, especially if you’ve been running a certain way your entire life, but it will help you run longer and faster, thus allowing for a better cardio workout.

Not exactly sure what proper running form is? I got you covered with thisexplanation of proper running form.

Along with running technique, breathing is something that you can really put your focus on. Breathing properly during a run is more important than running with the best technique.

If you are giving yourself the best opportunity to allow your body to intake as much oxygen as it can while running, your muscles will react in a way that only makes you seem stronger on the treadmill and in the gym in general. Breathing the right way will allow you to exert less energy and put more into the workout itself.

There Are Other Machines

“When you finally let go”

If the treadmill is still getting the best of you, just move on to a different cardio machine. There are others that can be used. The treadmill should never be your only option, especially inside a regular gym. There are ellipticals, row machines, stair masters, stationary bikes. Just a good variety of machines that can be used to gain the cardio you want.

If you don’t want to use one of these machines, you have more options.

You can go swimming. Swim some laps. If you have never really done this before, you are in for a shock. Swimming is a great cardio workout.

Go out and play some kind of sport, basketball, tennis, racquetball. These are good alternatives and definitely seem way more fun. You won’t even realize that you’re getting a lot of cardio in.

Another alternative, if you are a member at a gym somewhere is to do a Zumba class. If you’ve never done a Zumba class before, be prepared. Although they are fun, you will definitely be feeling the burn all over your body and not even realize how tired you actually are until it’s over.

Hard Work Pays Off

“We knew that you could do it”

Running on the treadmill still probably isn’t the ideal thing you want to use when you decide to do some running, but the techniques above will help the time go by faster. The spinning belt of boredom won’t seem nearly as boring. Hopefully, you just get lost in your own thoughts and everything around you just seems to be nonexistent.

Remember not to neglect cardio, even if all of these options don’t sound very appealing. It’s important for you to get the cardio in. Do it for your body.

The hard work will always pay off at some point or another, but it has to be done. No work, no results. More work, more results. It’s a simple equation that doesn’t need a rocket scientist to figure out. It’s all in your mindset.

P.S. – The quotes in this article are lyrics from “Better when I’m dancing” by Meghan Trainor