I am refusing to run outdoors this winter. And that is totally fine with me.
I hate the treadmill as much as the next runner, but I also hate the cold even more.
Feeling cold is one of the worst feelings in the world for me. Ever be outside in the brutal winter and your body is shivering down to the bone? So bad that your body tenses in shivers to the point that your back hurts.
Yeah, the winter sucks which is why I decided not to run outside if I could help it.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not running at all. I am doing most of my runs indoors this winter. So since I’ve become an indoor running pro, here are some tips to help you survive running inside this winter.
1. Get A Gym Membership
Take advantage of those New Year promotions at a gym. Even if you are going to run outdoors at times this winter there will be days where it’s too cold or snowy to do so.
This allows you to get that run in without using the weather as an excuse.
Those who have a treadmill at home might want to still get a gym membership. Not only does it provide a way to strength and cross train, but it also means a free location to run at. Sometimes running on the treadmill at the gym is less boring than being in your basement.
2. Revamp Your Playlist And Podcasts
Long runs on the treadmill mean needing entertainment. This is a good time to get that new playlist going. On my list now is “Yummy” by Justin Bieber and “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa.
I also just started listening to more podcasts. I haven’t done this since commuting to NYC for an old job, so it is a nice change to music. I recently added Another Mother Runner Podcast and Not Real Runners.
3. Run Intervals
Beat treadmill boredom by running intervals. I tend to do a warm-up and then run at a steady pace for 2 minutes. Then I start some interval work including a minute or two of increased speed followed by 30-seconds to a minute of recovery at a slower speed.
I took at it as a game and try to get my fast speed at an increased pace each round.
This makes a mile fly by and when paired with the right music gets you in the zone.
4. Take A Break When Needed
I am about to start training for half marathon and the beginning chunk of my long runs will be done on the treadmill. And since I am breastfeeding I know this means I will have to get off to take a break. I already have to for short runs.
Instead of feeling guilty about this, I embrace the break.
Take a break when needed on those long treadmill runs. Get some water or stretch it out and then get back on. There is no shame in catching your breath and getting in the right headspace to get this indoor run done.
5. Run In The Morning
I find that running on the treadmill in the morning is best for me to get it over and done with. This is true for days I know I will be busy or for times I really am struggling with motivation.
Try to wake up early and get that run in. That also means you might have the time to cross train at the gym in the evening, so score for double workout days.
6. Get New Running Gear
There have been studies that link new workout gear to increase motivation. So go on and splurge on those new running sneakers or running leggings.
I love getting a new running outfit with the matching sports bra and all. It makes me feel cute and sporty. And just putting on the new gear gives incisive to then go workout.
You could even use this as a reward system. If you get your weekly runs in this winter month, then you can get those running leggings you’ve been eyeing at the end of the month.
Getting Rid Of Treadmill Guilt
Last winter I braved the cold a lot. Every Saturday I ran with my running group training for a half marathon. It didn’t matter if there was light snow on the ground or brutal winds.
I grew to love running in the cold.
This winter is a whole new ballgame. I strike out when it comes to getting my runs done outside.
This is because I just had a baby in November. This means I would have to either: A. Leave her to get some mileage in, or B. Take her with me in the cold. And either isn’t happening.
Plus she is too young to be in the jogging stroller just yet.
I do prefer to run outside compared to the treadmill, but I am okay without needing to bundle up and freeze my butt off for the sake of exercise. Because I am just getting my groove back, I plan on building up mileage slowly on the treadmill.
However, there are days where I really hate the treadmill. Ironically, I kind of wish I could run outside.
But then I remember just how cold it is and decide it’s better to put on my shorts and tank and hop on the hamster wheel.
There have been times where I learned to love the treadmill. So I am hoping that this becomes true again as I prepare to start training for my next half marathon next month.
There is this stigma against treadmill running among runners. We tend to frown upon it and think more highly of runners who have the balls the brave the cold. We might even feel guilty about choosing to run indoors on days when it’s not even that cold.
But running is still running in my book—even if it’s indoors.
So maybe you hate winter too. Or maybe you want to start running and just realized you picked the wrong season to start. Don’t feel bad about hopping on that treadmill.
Don’t use the weather as an excuse not to start training or to start running for the first time.
Make use of that gym membership and continue to run throughout the winter like me—even if it means running indoors.