It’s that time of year for many of us when the temperatures dip below freezing and we find ourselves questioning either our sanity or our motivation. Those of us who don’t like the cold, but still want to train all winter will most likely head to the treadmill. I’ve run 30 miles on a treadmill and I can tell you that it was harder than running a marathon outside. For the runner who is guest posting today – 30 miles on a treadmill is NOTHING – she has run 100+ miles on a treadmill {for charity}!!!

Her name is Emily otherwise known as EMZ and she blogs at – I like to think of her as the Queen of the Treadmill.


Every runner gets a little bored with their workouts from time to time.  It’s hard enough to stay consistent, without adding boredom to the mix. Yes, I love treadmill running but I too have days where the minutes do not fly by as I hope they would. 

1.  My biggest advice to beat treadmill boredom is to play around with the pace and incline. Every few minutes I change the pace or incline.  I usually start at a base number and increase up .1 mph.  Once I hit my max MPH, I start going back down to my base again.

2.  Entertain yourself with a book on tape.  You can download one to your iPod or MP3 player and it will make 30 minutes just fly by.

3.  Watch a movie. If you have a treadmill at home, watch rented movies from Netflix on your own TV or iPad. If not, you can buy a sturdy plastic rack that fits over the front of the machine. Then place your portable DVD player or laptop on it. Movies are a great way to pass the time if you’re working on longer distances, because there are no boring commercials.  Personally, I am a huge fan of TedTalks.  Motivating & uplifting.

4.  Support system.  Sometimes just the thought of a long run on a treadmill can be hard. Tell your friends/family what you have planned.  Have a running buddy text you throughout the run. Sometimes those silly photos or a motivating quote is all you need to keep you running.  [Of course, safety first when doing this.  I have been doing this for years.  You can tell your friend you won’t be able to reply…..but that you’ll text when you are done.]

5.  Do interval training.  Watching the clock so you can alternative between a few minutes of jogging and a few minutes of sprinting will definitely keep your mind and muscles busy.  I often will run at a comfortable pace then try to sprint through the commercials.

6.  Have a good playlist, or even better, 5 to 6 good ones.  I sometimes will use my daughters or my husband’s playlist.  I find new tunes inspire me to move.

7.  Mind games.  The same kind of games you’d play on a long road trip with family-why not try them on the treadmill?  Movie titles.  TV shows.  Song titles.  Start at the beginning of the alphabet and think of a movie/TV/Song title that starts with A, then B, C, D, etc.

8.  If you are at the gym, run next to a friend.  Motivate each other.  If you go to the gym alone, find someone who looks like a strong runner and run next to them.  It’s completely okay to race the person next to you. 😉  Days when my motivation has been lacking, I’d tell myself I’m not stopping until he/she does.

9.  ZONE OUT.  Unlike running outside, treadmill running doesn’t require that you pay close attention to your surroundings and watch out for cars, cyclists, dogs, and other hazards. You don’t even have to think about your route. So running on a treadmill gives you a chance to lose yourself in the rhythm of your breathing feet or your pounding feet. Try blocking out everything around you and enter a peaceful, relaxing state.

10.  My personal favorite.  One mile. One person/thought/topic. This is my favorite thing to do on a long run. say I need to do a 20 mile run. I take a post-it, put 20 names on it and stick it on my treadmill. Every 8 or so minutes I get to focus on one person/topic/idea. Mile 2 comes around and I go to the next name. Some of my VERY best runs are when I use this method exclusively of any of the others listed here.


Want to learn more about Emily? You can find her on social media!

What are your tips for beating treadmill boredom? Can you believe that EMZ ran 108.88 miles on a treadmill?!?!




  1. Thank you for this post! I am back to completing my miles on the ‘mill during the winter. Sometimes I let my mind get the best of me and struggle. This post was perfect timing and perfect advice. Dorothy and Emily, you guys ROCK!

  2. Love this girl! she is so inspirational! I actually love the treadmill and I get a lot of people that ask me how I could do it – I think the part where she says ZONE OUT is key! When I am running outside I am always trying to pay attention for so many things, but on a treadmill I can just zone out and forget all thats around me! I don’t worry about anything and just completely lose myself in the run!

  3. following runemz on instagram is actually what got me over my treadmill phobia. seeing her put up like 28 mile treadmill runs like it ain’t no thang i was like, um, yeah i can do my 4 miles inside and just play with the inclines and stuff. this is SUCH a useful post. i was worried running on the treadmill would hurt my progress after so much outdoor running in the spring summer and fall but seeing that emz has run super fast marathons outside after being primarily a treadmill runner is so reassuring and inspiring. thanks for the post!!

  4. That’s awesome Nevie! I ran my marathon PR in a spring marathon after training mostly on the treadmill! I think that as long as you keep doing other things to keep up the strength the treadmill can be very useful to help increase your pace {if you want to do that}

  5. I like the treadmill, especially for speed workouts. I do like Emily and watch movies or TV (I just started Breaking Bad) that I save just for the treadmill so I have something to look forward to. I also like changing up my pace to break up the time. Of course, I’ve never run more than 9 miles on the treadmill. I far prefer outdoors for long runs.

  6. This is really helpful! I dread doing more than 5 miles on the treadmill, but I really like the idea of listing topics/people for each mile.

  7. I am training for my first marathon, with a significant amount of my training taking place throughout the winter months. So far, the most I’ve run is 9 miles on the mill, which went better than I expected, but I don’t know how I’ll feel when I get to 20 miles! Hopefully it will be in the mid-40’s and I can go outside for that one!

  8. I absolutely love the post it idea! What a great way to add meaning to a run. We bought a treadmill last year and it was one of our best purchases. I love the option of being able to stay inside instead of skipping a run because of bad weather. I’ll definitely add some of these ideas to my routine to help beat the boredom.

  9. Last year around this time I was doing half marathons on the Woodway treddy at the rec center I was working out at while training for my ultra. I was inspired by Emz to push. Movies, TV shows, and new music on my ipod helped a lot.

  10. Oh my gosh love this post! I tend to use podcasts, but sometimes I just don’t feel like focusing on what I’m listening to.
    Mind games and 1 person/thought/topic per mile are on my to do list for my next couple tempos on the treadmill!

  11. Thanks for meeting me the other day!!! Lets run at Christmas if you are in town :)

  12. I love this post! Next time I do a (a-hem) long run on the treadmill, I’m going to do the One Mile – One Person tip. What a great way to focus on others and get a great workout!

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  1. […] reading EMZ’s treadmill tips post {} – I decided that I had to mix up my treadmill runs to make them bearable and to find my treadmill […]

  2. […] reading EMZ’s treadmill tips post {} – I decided that I had to mix up my treadmill runs to make them bearable and to find my […]

  3. […] a lot of what has already been said the last few weeks on other blogs. Two of my close friends (Dorothy and Sarah) wrote great posts about getting through longer runs on […]

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    10 Tips For Beating Treadmill Boredom: RunEmz

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