Strategies for Long Treadmill Workouts

Posted by | January 26, 2014 | Training | 2 Comments
2 hour treadmill

There are times when treadmill workouts are preferable to running outside – even for a long run!

Trust me, when it is -27 degrees C with the wind chill, and you need to meet specific speed targets for a long run, the treadmill is the way to go.  Now I understand completely that a long run on the treadmill gets boring, but with the use of some key strategies it is possible to conquer long treadmill workouts.  This morning I ran 16 miles = 25.7 km on the treadmill.  I did a one mile warmup (video below with the shirt on!) and then did 24km (15 miles) at my current marathon pace of 4:14 per km (6:49 per mile). It would not have been possible to do that speed in the cold, wind and icy road conditions today.  The treadmill made this key workout possible for me today.

Strategies to Survive the Long Run on the Treadmill:

  1. Focus:  Know what your target distance and speed goals are for the run, and commit fully to doing the workout before you begin.  Break it up by time (or distance) and celebrate with each quarter or third or half that you accomplish and just keep going.  Remember the goal marathon that you are training for and the importance of this long run.  Do not allow yourself to wimp out!
  2. Company:  Enlist your family to make the rounds to visit you, talk to you, and distract you at times during the run.  You keep running, but focus on what they are doing and saying to you.  Watch my eight year old son Elijah in the video, doing some interesting rope acrobatics.  That is enough to distract anyone for a while!  If possible, have someone exercise beside you (on a bike trainer, doing indoor weights, anything….)
  3. Entertainment:  Watch a movie or listen to music.  It certainly helps.  I made it through an entire movie during my almost 2 hour run.  I like comedies to keep it light.  I almost had a laughing fit this morning, but thankfully managed to not fall off the treadmill.  I tried watching the Lord of the Rings:  Return of the King one workout, but found that far too intense.  I had to shut if off as I watched Smeagol murder his brother and descend into despair.  Avoid the intense dramas!
  4. Water and Washroom Breaks:  Take a break when you need it – make use of the indoor facilities.  You do not always have that luxury.  For once you do not need to find the nearest Tim Hortons or resort to the woods.
  5. Count your Blessings:  Just look outside at the blowing snow and the frost on the windows and remind yourself of how much better the indoors are at the moment.  Know that you will kill this workout indoors and meet your time goals (important when you are doing a Marathon Pace workout).


Janine Moffett

About Janine Moffett

I am a mother of three incredible children, work full time as an instructor therapist, and love to run. I have run 11 marathons, with a personal best of 2:57. This past April I ran my third Boston Marathon. I love challenges and began exploring the world of triathlons in 2014. I completed my first half Ironman at Muskoka in fall 2014 and came first in my age group. Now I am taking on the challenge of a Full Ironman, which I am planning for September, 2015. I believe we need to keep trying new things and embrace life to the fullest. I hope I can provide inspiration and insights to others.


  • Mary O says:

    I found that when I used to get on a treadmill, I would get quickly bored and rarely pushed myself like I should.  A friend told me about some killer treadmill workouts on iTunes.  They basically have a top-notch trainer taking you through a HIIT routine for the treadmill.  Seriously kicks my butt every time, in just 20 minutes:

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