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Mr. TM; Restoring your Relationship with the Treadmill

If you’re like me, winter time is going to call for more treadmill training than I prefer. While I am very grateful to have a treadmill, I refer to it by its other name- the dreadmill. But for purposes of this article we will treat it with affection and respect, after all it’s going to be my best running friend for the next few months and call it Mr. TM.

I live in a small little town called Sandpoint, ID. If you’re not familiar with Sandpoint (and why would you be) it’s in the tiny little panhandle sliver of Idaho way far up north. To give you an idea I can be at the Canadian border in an hour’s drive-time. The summer is phenomenally beautiful here, loads of daylight, a huge natural glacial lake, and lots of mountains with great trail running. The winters, um, well they can be challenging if you’re like me and don’t love winter. In all fairness I’ve only lived here two years and according to the locals the past two winters I’ve experienced have been unusually harsh and not at all normal. Last year our local ski mountain boasted the most snow it’s seen in 25 years. I will run outside until I possibly can’t anymore, wearing layers upon layers making me resemble the Michelin Man. However, if this year is anything like the past two, at some point I will be rekindling my relationship with Mr. TM. Here are a few tips I’ve acquired over the past couple of years to keep your relationship with Mr. TM alive and kicking after the honeymoon period ends.

1. Cover up the Screen. If you’ve been in a relationship you know that predictability of the same-old-same-old routine loses its luster. Covering up the screen so you’re not painstakingly watching the seconds ticks by helps. Use your watch or an interval app to time your intervals. Or if you’re a lucky duck and your treadmill has video options where you can be running in the mountains of Switzerland that would be a great way to transport yourself out of the basement (or gym).

2. Music. Sing it Loud and Proud. I don’t listen to music when I run outside, I enjoy the solitude and quiet of nature, but when it comes to Mr. TM we need a good beat to keep the romance alive. I’ll challenge myself when I’m running intervals on the treadmill to sing along to parts of the song—that helps me know if I’m meeting Michele’s goals for effort. Sometimes I should be able to sing them and sometimes not, depending on what she’s got planned for me.

3. Podcasts. If you’re spending your long run with Mr. TM music might not cut it for hours upon hours. I find podcasts enjoyable and a great way to break up the monotony. For example, if I’m planning three hours on the treadmill I’ll find three 60-minute podcasts, saving my favorite one for last.

4. TV or Movies. If you have this as an option, go for it! It’s a great way to take your mind off the task. For some reason watching tv or movies doesn’t work for me, but I know it does a lot of other people.

5. Play Games. For a relationship to last spontaneity and a little fun is a key. When Mr. TM and I have a long Saturday morning ahead of us I’ll shake things up by challenging myself to see how long I can run at a certain incline and then try to keep besting it and/or changing inclines.

6. Rewards. There’s no shame in the post-run reward. It’s that carrot that’s dangling out there as the prize and sometimes helps with short-term motivation. Find something that’s a true treat for yourself and let that be your reward for putting in the effort and time. It doesn’t have to be fancy, for me I love a latte in the winter time or a soak in the hot tub (or maybe both).

7. Keep your Eyes on the Prize. Remember your why. Remember the goal of all of this, why you’re dragging yourself out of that warm toasty bed when everyone else is still asleep or why you’re calling it early on a Friday night when your friends are going out. No matter how many times I do it, every finish line I cross is magical and I don’t want to stop. When I’m particularly struggling with motivation I picture myself at the starting line on race day. I never want to be at the startling line feeling unprepared. I always want to be at the starting line knowing I’ve done all I can to get there. That one works for me every single time.

If you need more tips, tricks, and motivation head to Google, Pinterest, or the Rugged Running Facebook page. There’s tons out there. And remember keeping a relationship alive and kicking, even with Mr. TM, takes work. Happy Running!

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