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Now is not the time to tread lightly. (Or, how to fight boredom on a treadmill.)

Posted Feb 09 2011 7:00am

It's as if the snow will not ever stop falling. When I look out our sliding door, I see it everywhere. One minute, it's falling from the sky. Another minute, it's melting off the icicles handing from our roof. I get so confused, does it want to stay or does it want to go? I want it to go, as I'm getting very tired of running on the treadmill. But I live in Michigan, and I realize this is wishful thinking. And so, I repeatedly bundle up and head to the gym for my runs.

Now is not the time to tread lightly. I just signed up for the Shamrock Shuffle, an 8K in Chicago on April 10th. Translation: just about five miles. I can do it. I'm ready. Ready right now. HOWEVER—I'd like to either A) run this race in my FiveFingers or B) run this race in under 40 minutes. A) I'm only running a 5K in my FiveFingers right now. B) I ran three miles in 25 minutes yesterday morning. And that's why now is not the time to tread lightly. Must. Focus. Because obviously I won't be running outside anytime soon. And obviously I hate running on the treadmill. I mean, I don't hate it. I just get bored very quickly.

Two people who don't get bored on the treadmill? Edit Berces and Arulanantham Suresh Joachim. Who? So glad you asked: Edit holds the record for the longest distance a woman has ever run on a treadmill in 24 hours straight. Arulanantham is her male counterpart. Their times? Edit: 153.6 miles. Arulanantham: 160.24 miles. Psha! Right. I'll stick with my 8K training for now, thank you. And I'll do everything I can to fight the boredom. There are a few things that work
1) Queue up an awesome playlist on your music player and have a dance party in your head. You'll soon forget about the miles (or minutes ahead of you). Here's what mine looks like. (Yeah, I rock Beiber.)

2) Observe your surroundings and take mental notes. Check out what other people in the gym are doing. You never know when you'll discover your next great exercise.

3) Watch the telly. Tune in, if you can. And if you can't, play the read-my-lips game and see if you can decipher what they're talking about. If you can't, just ask your friendly front desk staff to turn on the captions. And if there's nothing good on, ask them if you can change the channel.

4) Read. Well, sort of. It's really hard to concentrate on a book while you're running. Small words and an intricate storyline on a bouncing treadmill, well...they just don't go together. But if you pick the right thing to read, something that doesn't require much of your concentration or attention, then you just might make it work. Because really, you're there to run. Not to read. I've been known to prop an US Weekly over my treadmill controls on occasion. Lots of pics to look at, nothing really worth reading. It essentially just turns into another visual. You know, for when the TVs and exercisers start to bore you, too.

5) Think about what you're going to post on your blog today. (Oh wait—that might only apply to me.)

6) Challenge yourself. I know, as if making it through your run on a treadmill isn't hard enough. Think about it, though. If you're bored, maybe your mind and body are trying to communicate that it's time to kick it up a notch. Try this 30-minute run filled with intervals

(If the speeds or inclines above are too much for you to handle, adjust accordingly while utilizing the three speed/three incline pattern I've described. Always remember to work at your level...but don't be afraid to push it when that level gets too easy, right?)

What it really boils down to in terms of staying on the treadmill when the boring gets tough is your ability to remember that what you're doing is for a greater good. It's for your health, which ultimately leads to your happiness. So whatever motivates you, let that be a part of it.

Question: What motivates you to stay on the treadmill (or cardio machine of your choice) just a bit longer?

REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my Green Giant giveaway! You just win a prize pack full of goodies. (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, February 11, 2011).
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