There's a reason why people call the treadmill the "dreadmill," and it's not just because it's an easy pun. Running to nowhere on a hamster-like wheel can be pretty boring, unless you actively think of ways to make it interesting. "Treadmill routines, just like outdoor running, should have some method to the madness," says Karli Alvino, a NASM-certified personal trainer and coach at Mile High Run Club, a treadmill running class in New York City.
The key is to step on the treadmill with a plan: How long are you planning to run, and how fast? Deciding to run until you get tired is not an ideal way to start, and will also have you praying for it to end. Knowing exactly when your "finish line" is, on the other hand, will help pass the time, prevent you from over-running (which is a thing), and get you in and out of the gym faster overall.
There are group treadmill classes available at some gyms and boutique studios (we talked to trainers at two of them), which can help you learn how to use the 'mill in a way that's focused and fun, but you can also use these tips at the gym or at home. Keep in mind that it's not just you; even people who love a good runner's high find running in-place monotonous. Here are some unexpected tips and tricks to stay sane — and maybe even have a good time — when you're on the treadmill.