By Simon Gould
You know that once you start your treadmill run you’ll enjoy it and find it easy. You may have made time for it. You have your workout clothes ready, you’re at work and it’s either go to the gym or go home. Maybe your treadmill is at home and you just have to get on. We’ve all been there, so how do we motivate ourselves to get out there and get running.
1. Do it at the same time of day
This may not sound like motivation but us humans we love routine. If we do something at the same time on the same day we can make it a habit. That’s what exercise is all about. You can’t do it all on one day. You have to do it multiple times a week and doing it at the same time of day means you’ll stick to it.
Maybe you get on the treadmill straight after work. Your body will get used to having a workout after work that day. As long as you stick to it you’ll find these routines rewarding. As long as it’s not replacing anything you would normally do, then you know when to expect it and you know what’s coming.
2. Listen to music or watch a TV show you enjoy
Maybe you’re watching a box set whenever you workout. You may have a TV all set up at home in front of the treadmill. This makes it perfect for you to watch your favorite shows. Make sure you only watch a show you really want to catch up on and you only ever watch it while working out. This will provide great motivation for exercise because you’ll look forward to it.
Perhaps you’ve just downloaded a new album from your favorite artist. Make sure you only listen to it on your workouts. Like the TV you’ll look forward to working out because your favorite music is on. Maybe it’s a new artist you’ve just discovered. Make this part of your workout and you’ll appreciate it more.
3. Find a partner to run with
The good thing about a treadmill that you don’t get outside is that you can run with people who are at a different fitness level than you. Maybe your friend runs much quicker to cover the same distance. That doesn’t matter on a treadmill because you’re running next to each other no matter what speed you’re going.
Finding a partner is much easier in a gym where there are multiple treadmills next to each other. One of you can have a very complicated routine while the other is a treadmill beginner. That doesn’t matter you can still run together. This is difficult at home with one treadmill so you could make a phone call as you run.
4. Track your progress
There are many apps where you can log your runs. Even if you’re running on a treadmill so you don’t have a route you can still record what you did from your speed and distance. Then you input what you did the next day and total the week up. They’re good because you can track your progress. This is especially useful if you’re training for a race.
If you’re running for weight loss then those scales are your best friend or worst enemy. But they are great to track your progress. We advise you weigh yourself weekly and at the same time of day. This way you can see how your weight is really changing. This is also something to log down to help motivate you for future runs.
There are now activity trackers* that fit around the wrist. They do a great job of monitoring your heart rate, steps and activity. They have apps that enable you to see at a glance your progress over a period of time. They can even detect and measure your sleep, this is something that maybe increasing as you exercise more and more.
5. Set realistic goals
There’s nothing more demotivating than your goals never being achievable. It might be a good idea to set frequent goals that you can reach every month. Like losing 10 pounds in one month and 8 the next month. This would be a better goal than 25 pounds in 3 months which maybe your total. Break it up into realistic chunks.
A good goal to set is a distance or time spent running. I personally do time spent running, I am logging my progress. Distance is equally as good for those experienced runner. You may have a weekly distance or time goal. This progression is a great motivator to get you running regularly and is something to aim for.
6. Plan your runs in advance
I like to plan week by week. If you’re training for a race it would be a really good idea to plan every run in advance up to the race day. This gives you a day by day goal that you want to complete. The race itself is a great motivator to get you doing your planned runs otherwise you may not do so well near the finishing line.
You can plan your runs weeks in advanced and this is needed for long runs like a marathon. We have our marathon plan for people who want to train to for the marathon and it lasts for 26 weeks. It is quite a commitment to complete but you need to put in the preparation to help achieve that final goal. Only planning your runs will help you achieve it.
7. Get some sleep
There’s nothing more demotivational than to be very tired and half asleep and have a run to do that day. Sleep is the best thing to keep your energy levels high and prepared for a workout. Sleep prepares us for the day and anything is difficult to do without enough sleep to keep us alert. This is the case during a run too.
If you’re near the end of a running plan and the mileage is increasing then sleep is vital. It helps our body repair our muscles to make them available for the next run. Sleep gives us concentration for the next day. You need to concentrate as you run especially on a treadmill. This keeps you safe and more aware.
8. Vary your routine
If you have no race to train for perhaps you’re getting into a rut with your running. Perhaps you’re doing the same distance or time on the treadmill every week and it’s getting boring. For motivation you need to vary what you’re doing. Maybe adding some speed work into your runs will spice up your training routine. This is especially so if it makes you run quicker.
The treadmill has an incline which is a great feature to use to make those runs that little bit harder. Keep working out at the same time of day but vary what you’re doing on those workouts. Treadmills often have workout programs built in that you can select from the console. One of these might be a challenge you can try.
Apart from releasing a good deal of those happy hormone endorphins swimming inside your brain after a good run. Make sure that you get something out of your runs. Give yourself something to achieve. Enjoy the music that goes with it or the book/ipad you read that rests on the console. Go further each week and get some sort of accomplishment.
Don’t run too hard or fast. Set that speed to a more comfortable pace. There’s nothing worse than finishing totally exhausted after you’ve finished every run. That’s not enjoyable. Do some easy runs so you can appreciate your body and breathing as you go. Then you’ll want to do it again and stay more motivated in the future.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*