Easy Run Treadmill Workout to Beat Treadmill Boredom

Easy Run Treadmill Workout

Whether snow and ice cover your favorite running routes or rainy runs are more frequent than not, more runners gravitate towards the treadmill in the winter months than any other time of year.

But here’s the problem: the treadmill is approximately tens times more boring than the longest of long and slow outdoor runs. Even though it’s preferable to slipping on ice or not running at all, the treadmill rarely compares to the fun of outdoor runs.

Hard running workouts like high intensity intervals usually make time fly by faster on the treadmill, but not every run can be done at high intensity without quickly leading to injury, overtraining, or lots and lots of fatigued and soreness. 

Easy runs play an important role in training: they improve your aerobic fitness, increase your durability as a runner, and decrease your risk of injury. But if you’re stuck inside for a majority of your runs thanks to winter weather, the temptation often increases to ditch the easy runs all together in favor of fun treadmill workouts.

There is a way, though, to keep your treadmill runs easy without being so bored you lose all motivation to even complete the run, much less continue in your training when you can’t get outside to run. 

Easy Run Treadmill Workout

Easy Run Treadmill Workout

This easy run treadmill workout will beat treadmill boredom without pushing you so hard that you lose the benefit of an easy run. How? Little surges of speed and small hills are sprinkled throughout the run to add variety for both your mind and body. 


Your easy pace isn’t one specific pace, but rather it’s a range. For most runners, easy pace is approximately 45 to 120 seconds slower than marathon pace, or just about 2 minutes or more slower than 5K pace. Most importantly, easy pace should feel truly easy; you should be able to easy converse in full sentences, which is why it’s also called conversation pace. If you have to ask yourself if you’re running at an easy pace, you probably aren’t running easy enough.

How else can you add fun and variety to an easy treadmill run?

  • Begin at the slower end of your easy pace range (about 2 minutes slower than marathon pace). Every 3-4 minutes, increase the pace by 0.1 mph until you reach the faster end of your easy pace range (about 45-50 seconds slower than marathon pace). Return to your starting pace and repeat for the remainder of your run.
  • Throw in frequent hills, from a 3-8% incline, every few minutes while maintaining an easy pace. 
  • Change your pace by 0.1-0.5mph with each song, as long as you stay within your easy pace range. 

If easy runs on the treadmill are still boring and mentally difficult for you, remember that one of the benefits of treadmill running is that it builds mental strength as you have to focus on a rather boring task for an extended amount of time. 

Linking up for Wild Workout Wednesday

How do you entertain yourself on treadmill runs?
Would you rather run in below freezing temperatures or in the rain?
Did you have President’s Day off? 
We did and saw Deadpool, which was so funny (and, thankfully, not as graphic as I worried). 

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26 Responses

  1. This looks like a great way to pass the time on the treadmill! I don’t mind running outside in the rain or below freezing, but not both! And when it’s really cold and windy I may pass as well. And of course icy conditions will keep me indoors. Like today there is literally an ice rink outside my door. Definitely not going out in that!

    1. Freezing temperatures and rain really is one of the worst weather combos for running – and even worse when it’s windy with rain (that sideways rain is awful!). Hopefully warmer temperatures come your way and melt all that ice!

    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy the hill repeats treadmill workout – I used that a lot when training for Portland because while it’s nowhere near as hilly as Big Sur, that race has a few steep climbs. And guessing the incline is good – our body’s don’t know 6% or 8% incline, they just know a steep hill!

  2. This is a great post and something I think a lot of runners can use this time of year, including myself! It was back to the treadmill for me this morning after beach running last week. Sad. But I have learned to like the treadmill because at least it keeps me running in the winter! I would much rather run in rain than freezing temps!

    1. Thank you, Angie! I hope you enjoyed your beach vacation! The treadmill is probably a Midwest runner’s best friend during the winter – treadmill running is always better than no running!

  3. This is a good one! All the treadmill workouts I know are harder and more intense. I need one that isn’t so tough. On easy days I will listen to a podcast or audiobook or watch Netflix. That usually helps me keep the pace slower.

    1. Thanks, Suzy! I hope you enjoy it and make great use of it! Podcasts are my favorites also for easy treadmill days. There’s so many good ones and they’re the perfect length for a run!

  4. These are all great ideas. To be honest, I can normally zone out pretty well during treadmill runs so I don’t mind them. I don’t care as much to do workouts in the mill just because I like to get a good feel for the actual pace I am going or that feels good to me.

    1. Thanks, Hollie! I agree, I prefer to get a feel for the actual pace of a workout. The treadmill is nice for setting the pace, but other times our bodies’ need to set the pace!

  5. I am so doing this next time I have to run on the treadmill! I love that it is still “easy” but mixes it up a bit with hills and speed. Thanks for the workout idea!

  6. Love this! I play around a lot with the incline to keep myself from getting bored during easy runs on the treadmill too! Thanks so much for linking up and sharing 🙂

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