Busting Boredom on the Treadmill: 5 Mile & 5km Workouts

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IMG 7593   Busting Boredom on the Treadmill: 5 Mile & 5km Workouts

When I hear the word treadmill, a few words come to mind:

Boring.

Repetitive.

Dull.

Auto-repeat.

Nooooooooooooooooooo.

IMG 0760   Busting Boredom on the Treadmill: 5 Mile & 5km Workouts

You too?

My reaction is mostly because I tend to fall into major treadmill ruts. I’ve recently discovered if I don’t consciously make an effort to create interesting treadmill workouts, then I really only have myself to blame when I cringe at the mere thought of them.

Sometimes a little pre-planning in life can really make a huge difference in outcome…and outlook, right?

Plus, it doesn’t hurt to dream of summer runs either…

IMG 3528   Busting Boredom on the Treadmill: 5 Mile & 5km Workouts

Lately when nature forces me indoors, I now create my own workout plans to jazz things up a little. I’ve been inspired by all the workouts on Pinterest lately and decided it was about time that I start creating my own personalized workouts!

Workout #1

Here is one such workout that I created last week. I call it the Boredom Blaster because the time flies by. With a workout like this, there isn’t much time to feel bored before you’re changing speeds and inclines once again.

boredomblaster   Busting Boredom on the Treadmill: 5 Mile & 5km Workouts

I also pause the workout and take a 30-60 second water break every 20 minutes (or as needed) to let my heart rate come down a little. After the workout I often bust out 3 sets of 10 push-ups and 2 sets of 50 ab exercises. Sometimes I stop the workout after 30 minutes depending on how much time I have available.

This workout leaves me a sweaty mess, feeling super accomplished, and ready to take on the day. Best of all, it breaks up the monotony that treadmill workouts can be known for.

Workout #2

Here is a SPEED workout I’m loving lately. My next 5km race is only 16 days away (on March 4th), so I’ve been working in speed workouts into my routine to get ready for it. I absolutely love this workout because it is super quick (under 25 minutes) and it changes every 2 minutes so boredom doesn’t have a chance to creep up!

shortspeed5km1   Busting Boredom on the Treadmill: 5 Mile & 5km Workouts

I finish that workout a sweaty mess feeling like I just busted out a 45 min workout, but in half the time.

A challenge to try

If you’re stuck inside feeling the cardio equipment blahs, try making your own workout plan on paper before you begin, or even the night before your morning workout! Motivation is majorly boosted because it’s right there in front of you telling you what to do next and it’s also fun to mentally tick off each accomplished interval as you go. I don’t believe these workouts are a “one size fits all” deal, so feel free to tailor them to your specific needs.

How do you keep things interesting while working out on cardio equipment? Any fav workouts or mental tricks?

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{ 104 comments… read them below or add one }

Cait's Plate February 17, 2012

Keeping things interesting is one of the hardest things for me! I love getting ideas to mix it up because it’s definitely something I struggle with!

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Faith @ For the Health of It February 17, 2012

Treadmills are straight up EVIL! I get through those runs the best when there’s a football game on TV that I can zone out to…although an episode of Chopped or Top Model works nicely too ;)

Loving the more personal-oriented posts lately – the recipes are wonderful, as always, but it’s so nice to see the other sides of you!

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Christine (Merf) February 17, 2012

I love the treadmill. Not sure why, but I prefer it to running outdoors. Maybe it’s my fear of dogs. :) My trick to not getting bored is to watch TV or listen to awesome workout music.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 17, 2012

I always watch TV too, even better if there is a good show on!

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The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh February 17, 2012

I do intervals as well but I stay off the treadmill as a solo workout, I just can’t do it. I do a circuit that includes the dread…er, treadmill, the rower, step and weights so it keeps it interesting! I am printing your intervals out for the Mr though!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat February 17, 2012

Oh I hear ya on the boredom Ange! Normally I’m totally fine with the treadmill and can run on it for hours (I know, I’m an odd one!) but lately, I’ve been itching to get outside on a real road!! To keep myself sane though, I tend to mix my runs with bursts on the StepMill (guaranteed to make me sweat EVERY time!), spin classes, or running with routines pre-written, like you described. Good luck on your next race – I hope you get some better weather!

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Angela February 17, 2012

Oh I love the stepmill…well love to hate ;)

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Gina @ Running to the Kitchen February 17, 2012

Workouts like these are the only way I can bear the treadmill lately. I’ve been totally into 20-25 minute HIIT workouts and they make the time FLY! I like your second one a lot!

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Kate February 17, 2012

thanks for sharing this, its just the motivation I need!

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Stephanie @ Legally Blinde February 17, 2012

I’m a really terrible runner, so I tend to stick to the other cardio machines – elliptical, stairstepper, bike – and I usually choose the interval or random programs so the resistance and/or incline changes while I read a magazine or watch a TV show. When I’m in a spin class and need some extra motivation, I visualize a looooong road in the middle of beautiful scenery and imagine that I’m riding outside, or I picture someone whom I’m pedaling to or away from, depending on my mood!

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StoriesAndSweetPotatoes February 17, 2012

These are good ones. Every once in a while I do like to print out a workout and follow it. It does feel like more of a challenge rather than picking intervals as I go. And I have yet to run on an incline because I haven’t been running that long but I’m sure I can at least try 1% :)

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Alyssa (Down To Earth) February 17, 2012

This is going to help me tremendously. I signed up for my first half marathon and need to find fun ways to stay motivated and push myself. . . sometimes good music just isn’t enough to beat treadmill boredom. Thanks for these!

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Angela February 17, 2012

Goodluck with your training Alyssa!

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Lauren (Maillard's MIstress) February 17, 2012

I love to do speed intervals (400 or 800m) and that really makes things go by much, much faster. I can easily run 5 miles in what feels like only 2 or 3. Love it!

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Angela February 17, 2012

speed intervals are a great idea…I’ll have to try that next!

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Ann@anntics February 17, 2012

I am thankful that most of this winter I haven’t had to do a lot of my longer runs on the treadmill, but sometimes even shorter runs such as 4 or 5 miles can just sound like the most horrible thing ever created. Recently I have started playing with the incline and speed. I usually change something every mile. That way I am challenging myself mentally, but also giving myself something to look forward to. Another thing I do is to force myself to not look at the time on the treadmill except during commercials (if I am watching TV).

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Michaela February 17, 2012

love your suggestions :)
I find that it helps if you can watch something interesting on TV or listening to music you enjoy. Also I am setting myself challenges throughout the tread mill run and change things up so that time will go by quicker.

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hope February 17, 2012

Thanks for this! So needed it!

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Julianne February 17, 2012

THANK YOU!
I recently got to the point in my running where the thought of running on a t-t-t-treadmill is enough to make me scream! However, in inclement weather it becomes a necessary evil. These are some great workouts I’ll be printing out and keeping in my gym bag!

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Jaima February 17, 2012

I’m running a 5k the same weekend you are so thank you so much for posting these. Sometimes in Florida b/c of the heat and b/c I don’t have a Garmin or anything to tell me my pace I actually prefer the treadmill. I keep it interesting by varying the speeds, thinking about a dream vacation, watching TV etc.

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table February 17, 2012

I really struggle with the treadmill – even with the TV or music going! That being said, I do need to get beet at it because treadmills are great for speed work. Your speed work breakdown does look like there’s not much time for getting board!

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Hailey February 17, 2012

Thanks for the speed workout tips, this is great! I found that while paying for a gym membership, I was just running outside so now I am no longer a member at a gym and don’t have access to a treadmill. I am definitely going to try this outside, minus the incline shifts. :-)

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JEM February 17, 2012

I have interval running apps on my iphone, Vitastone 5k Coach Pro is awesome. I just got an interval exercise one too but I haven’t tried it out!

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Angela February 17, 2012

I wish I had a good phone! Can you download them in ipad to? if so im going to steal Eric’s, heh

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes February 17, 2012

Love this! I always get so bored on the dreadmille ;)

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Carolyn February 17, 2012

I personally love Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga sequences, as well as HIIT routines. Yoga could never bore me, as I am always in flow, and HIIT routines are short and wonderfully intense!

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Susan February 17, 2012

Great idea – I just finished my boring treadmill workout – I get lazy and use the interval setting to make it a bit more interesting, but I think I’ll try one of your suggestions above next time! Sitting back now and enjoying a bowl of your overnight gingerbread vegan oats – yummy! Just wanted to say thanks for all the great tasting and nutritious recipes. Not sure how you manage to put them out there but keep up the great work. Reading your blog to see if there are any new recipes is one of the highlights of my day.

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Angela February 17, 2012

Thank you Susan, what a nice thing to say! Thanks for brightening MY day too.

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Emily (Edible Psychology) February 17, 2012

Ooh, I definitely need to try the work-out that changes every two minutes. Often I actually end up running faster than I intend to on the treadmill because I just get sooooo bored going the same speed and find myself cranking the speed up just to stay interested. But then, of course, I can’t keep going for as long.

Good luck with your 5K race coming up – can’t wait to hear about it!

~Emily~

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Eat Hike Sleep Repeat February 17, 2012

This is great Angela, thanks. I recently had survey on my hand (due to a roller derby crash…) so my regular workouts have all gone out the window. With the weather in the tank here, the treadmill is going to become my new best friend. I’ve never cranked the speed up past 6 so looks like I’m in for a treat!

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Carolyn @ HealthKitten.com February 17, 2012

You’re like a gazelle!

Right now – due to an injury that kept me from running most of last summer – I’m just working my way up to my former speed. Now, a 6.3 speed is my tippy-top speed on the ol’ hamster wheel…er…treadmill. ;)

The days are getting longer and warmer weather can’t be far behind. I CAN’T WAIT.

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Angela February 17, 2012

me too, the days are getting longer too :)

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suzanne February 17, 2012

I agree with the treadmill boredom. I run outside all winter except in ice, lightening or strong winds, saving the treadmill for those days. Last summer my sister-in-law was getting rid of her elliptical (which I have wanted for a long time), so we took it. With this winter being so mild, I have barely used it and the other day stayed in just b/c I am getting burnt out from my normal routine. (with winter roads, the places I can go are limited so I run the same stuff over and over).
I cannot do more than 20-30 min on a machine which is why I wanted the elliptical – now I can treadmill a little, elliptical a little and/or row a little (though I get nauseous on that sometimes!). I am impressed with your energized workouts as I do mine as soon as I roll out of bed and know I am not putting into it what I could if I had time to wake up first ;-)

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Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning February 17, 2012

i HAVE to do intervals if I’m running on the treadmill. I would die of boredom otherwise. I know that a lot of people swear by watching a movie while they run, but I haven’t tried that yet. I only really run on the treadmill as part of a workout or warm-up- my long runs are only outside. :)

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Liz @ Tip Top Shape February 17, 2012

Great workout!! I have to admit, usually my music is enough to get me going on the treadmill. It’s like built-in music listening time!

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Heather Nauta February 17, 2012

Those are both awesome plans! Almost makes me wish I had a treadmill in my building… we have an elliptical, so I can only choose the level, no incline and you set the speed. I like doing the random program because it changes every 10 sec so the bars move across the screen faster ;)

One trick I discovered when I was travelling and forced to run stairs (so un-fun…) for exercise cause it was way too cold out was listening to podcasts or audio books while running. I used to always listen to music, but when it’s a podcast I’m actually motivated to keep going so that I can hear the end of the interview or whatever. Plus it doesn’t distract me too much so I can focus on pushing myself.

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Yasmine February 17, 2012

I’m more of an elliptical girl, but if there’s only a treadmill… Well there’s only a treadmill. I’m not a huge gym fan but Mother Nature often dictates doesn’t she? For me, it’s all about my iPod. I have a playlist of my favourite workout songs and I always keep it on shuffle. That, people watching, and thinking about anything but the workout helps me. Especially if I’m imagining that I’m somewhere warm and not in rainy Vancouver. :)

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Stacy @ Say It With Sprinkles February 17, 2012

Usually a new playlist with fun, upbeat songs will keep me entertained!

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Shelley @ MileHighHealthy February 17, 2012

The only way I can manage running on the treadmill is to constantly switch up my speed and incline. Otherwise, I really don’t enjoy it. I absolutely love interval training on the treadmill…it’s the only 20-25 minute workout that makes me feel that good! Although, as soon as spring arrives I am kicking the treadmill to the curb and running outside again. I can’t wait!

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Lexi @ Cura Personalis Foodie February 17, 2012

I used to LOVE the treadmill, but in the past few years I’ve fallen off the bandwagon. Not sure why? Probably for the reasons you mentioned ;)

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Casey @ Insatiably Healthy February 17, 2012

I do the treadmill a fair bit and always do speedwork like this varying up the speed. Sometimes I just have to make it past the 5 minute mark and its not as boring anymore! Works like a charm I have to say, been doing it for years.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 17, 2012

I love that tip and find that it’s so true most of the time. Sometimes it’s 10 mins for me, but once I hit that I usually know I will make it through the workout. The start is tough!

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga February 17, 2012

I just can’t hang with treadmills or cardio machines…I get too antsy and something about TM’s and I end up injuring myself. I think it’s the way I strike my feet on the belt or something but I end up with ankle and knee issues so even if it’s only for 10 mins because it’s -20 or 112F above, I always run outside. I’d rather not even work out or work out for just do something for a really brief time because me and machines don’t get along. I need to try your tips!

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Bethany February 17, 2012

Treadmill = DREADMILL LOL I actually can’t even use a treadmill because of hip issues, but I have to say, I don’t really miss it! I love running outside, although by this point in the winter, I definitely do skip my running days when it’s too miserable outside. No biggie!! I used to get so upset/depressed when I missed a scheduled workout, but now I’m in a much better/more balanced place.

That being said, I love these workout ideas…I’m just going to incorporate them in my outside runs!

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Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner February 17, 2012

I like using my Gymboss on the treadmill to add some variety. That way I can really focus on my workout and not worry about time at all.

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Kaila @healthyhelperblog! February 17, 2012

Intervals are the best for making treadmill runs more interesting! They are my go to when I have to run inside! Thanks for the new routines!

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Meghan February 17, 2012

Hey congrats on your snowy 5k after such a long haitus. I do intervals changing every mile. So I’ll start at 7 and up it to 7.5, 8, and 8.5 cooling back down to 7.5 the last mile. Sweaty mess? Absolutely! I agree whatever variation one does is so much better than keeping it at the same pace. I noticed a lot of peeps were talking about music. Maybe you write a post about running music and your loyal readers could post some favs, so we’d all benefit by rokcin’ out to new tunes! Best of luck on your next race- Go get ‘em Glow Girl!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 17, 2012

Thanks Meghan! Maybe I will post my running mix before the next 5k :)

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Moni'sMeals February 17, 2012

Great post! I take advantage of the outdoors when possible and intervals seem to always make the time go faster. Plus, I am a bg believer in interval training. :)

Happy Friday!

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