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Whether you've been running for years or just picked it up, there's one thing that gets a really bad reputation: the treadmill. I've even heard it referred to as "the dreadmill" since it can be fairly boring compared to running outside.
And for those who think it is boring, they have a fair point: you likely don't have as many surroundings to look at if your treadmill isn't near a window.
I started running more on the treadmill when I'd go to the gym to start weight lifting. It was an easy way to incorporate HIIT cardio. Plus, you have a flat surface that is completely in your control.
But I didn't want to ever look at it as the "dreadmill." So I experimented and now, I actually prefer treadmill running over running outside!
Here are seven ways to make the treadmill less boring and indoor running more fun.
1. Watch a First Person POV video
First person POV videos are a fantastic way to make the treadmill less boring.
The treadmills at my gym offer a service called RunTV, where you can pick an interactive workout. These will show a specific scenery and match the incline to simulate running the beach or mountains.
You don't need a fancy treadmill for this, though - a tablet or phone will do just fine! There are tons of YouTube channels out there that offer first person POV videos designed for running on the treadmill or pedaling on a stationary bike. Just look up "treadmill videos" and you'll find a bunch.
This one is one of my favorites from World Nature Video:
To train for this 5K, here's what I did:
- Signed up early so I could slowly increase my mileage a half mile at a time
- Spent at least a week at a set distance before increasing mileage
- Listened to my body. If I wasn't feeling 2 miles one day, then I wouldn't do it so I wouldn't hurt myself
- Didn't force myself to go my fastest mile. Longer distance means slowing it down a bit so I could make sure I wasn't burning out in the first mile or so. To do this, check in with yourself every half mile or so: "Is this pace maintainable?"
I recommend you do the same, and if you're going virtual, here are a few things you can do to make your runs more interesting:
- Have a good playlist! Music truly helps.
- If you're on the treadmill and get bored easily, look into treadmill videos on YouTube to simulate running through a destination, or watch a new show on your fave streaming service. This can help the time (and miles!) go by more quickly.
- You can also try something like the app Zombies, Run! which puts you in the heart of a zombie apocalypse story.
- Remember: just because a race is virtual doesn't mean the miles don't count! A lot of people don't really like virtual races, but they can be great to use as incentives for training towards a goal. It gives you something to look forward to, even if it is just a medal.
What I'm listening to
Listening to Japanese music has really helped me familiarize myself with the sounds as I learn a bit more, even if I don't understand what they're saying. My husband and I have also been catching up on a lot of anime in quarantine, so I thought it would be fun to compile some of my favorite high-energy songs from anime intros and outros to feature in a running playlist (which works great for hitting the weights at the gym, too).
A huge thank you to the following people for sending me a few songs to add so it wasn't just all my faves, but hopefully some general fan-faves as well!
- hrhrosemary (and her daughter!) on WW Connect
- empathmeetsanime on WW Connect
- bliztoise on Instagram
- pzzuto on Instagram
You canlisten to this playlist on Spotify.
For Weight Training
Getting a set of resistance bands, especially ones that are stackable, are great for both beginners and more experienced fitness enthusiasts. Anthony loves his stackable set because he can get up to 150 lbs of resistance from the bands. This was super helpful before our gym closed due to quarantine so he wouldn't lose his progress! Plus they were great for me since it wasn't just one set resistance, so we could stack them to our needs.
A set of dumbbells is a must! There's so much you can do with them, for your arms, abs, and even legs. Plus even some heavier ones shouldn't take up too much room in your house. Need more than one set and want something a bit more heavy duty? Check out dumbbell sets with racks!
A stability ball is great to include in your home gym since you can use it for so many different workouts. I love my stability ball kit from SoAlpha because in includes some resistance bands and it has a sheet with a bunch of different workouts that you can do with it.
Not all yoga mats are created equal! You want to make sure you can have a good grip on it without necessarily needing special socks. This yoga mat on Amazon is great for non-slip and comes in a variety of colors.
Yoga blocks are so helpful for at-home practices, especially for beginners (like myself!) still working on deepening certain stretches and improving posture in stretches. They're usually made from foam so they're not super hard on your wrists.
Sometimes, a yoga practice will call for a pillow. I like to use a special pillow (sometimes called a yoga bolster) for this so that way, I don't have to run and grab the ones I use on the couch or my bed and potentially get them dirty on the floor. It's nice to have a pillow with one intention (especially since a big part of yoga is setting intentions for your practice!).
Having a punching bag at your disposal is a great way to work on both self-defense and cardio with some boxing drills. Anthony loves boxing for a good cardio-meets-core and arm workout. I used to use these a lot in my karate days, too, and you can't go wrong with anything by Everlast. You can shop their products on Amazon.
I swear by my stationary bike at home. I have it set up in my bedroom facing my television, so if I still need to get a workout in but I'm feeling kind of lazy, I have no excuse: I can just hop on and pedal while my husband and I watch television. I got mine a few years ago, but here's a link to the newer model version of the exact one I have on Amazon.
A treadmill is also something I swear by, especially in the summer (especially living in Florida) when it's too hot to get a run in once the sun comes up. My parents have a treadmill by Nordic Track that really helped me through my half marathon training (and they're the more affordable treadmill brand out there, in my experience). The ones at my gym are by Precor and I really enjoy their treadmills, too (it may not seem like it, but they're not all created equal!).
Having a fitness watch, especially if you're doing a lot of running or other cardio. If you're into running, biking, and swimming, then a Garmin Forerunner 235 will be a fantastic watch that offers a lot of great features, like built-in interval timers. If you need something for the basics but is still a great watch with great features, I'd recommend this one.
I recently treated myself to a Series 5 Apple Watch and love it for the gym since I can track exercises beyond just biking, running, and swimming - including yoga and weight training. Plus, the Apple Watch gets more specific for what type of indoor cardio activity you're doing, so if you're like me and enjoy trying out different pieces of cardio equipment, you can really get your stats super accurate on the Apple Watch.
My husband and I got a shiatsu massager like this one as a wedding present and it is one of our favorite things we've ever gotten! We swear by it after a particularly intense gym session. Trust me on this one - treat yourself.
Foam rollers are great for a few things. Not only is it fantastic for muscle recovery, but also can be a beneficial part of a warm up or cool down routine. It particularly can help with tightness in both your muscles and joints. Similar to foam rollers are stick rollers, for rolling over your muscles after a workout. My mom has a million of these from the various race expos we've been to and she loves them all. This one is her favorite.
After a great run, I make sure to wear compression socks to help with the blood flow and preventing soreness. I find it really does help! My favorite pairs are my Danish Endurance brand ones from Amazon. They sell sleeves and socks, so if you just need it for your shins you have that option too. They're fairly affordable but still get the job done.
I've seen a play on the "freshmen 15" phrase going around this summer - the "quarantine 19" - but please know that it's a stressful time for everyone right now. Don't punish yourself into working out because you put on some pounds during lockdown. Bake that banana bread because you love it, and then try some of these pieces in your next workout because you love it, too. They're not mutually exclusive!
With COVID-19 impacting literally everything, including races, it's been a huge adjustment for me. When I first started my running and weight loss journeys, I always had something on the books. Whether it be a 5K or a half marathon, it was my way of sort of forcing myself to keep up with my training. There was one year where I even ran in an organized race event every single month! However, it's allowed me to shift gears and also shift my goals.
I've run a half marathon... six times. I don't have anything to prove to myself anymore in the regards of knowing I can go the distance (take that, sciatic nerve damage!). However, I do have something to prove to myself... I can go faster. I've been a huge fan of Jeff Galloway's run/walk/run program (it's been a literal lifesaver for my aforementioned nerve damage) and will always recommend it to people starting out or looking to change up their routine. But I want to go beyond my comfort zone and improve my time.
I'm mostly running on a treadmill these days because it's summer and I live in Orlando. Florida summers are brutal, and unless you wake up at 4:00 a.m., you're going to have a potentially miserably hot time... and I value my sleep and would rather just use a treadmill when it's more convenient for me after work and before dinner, ha! I give major credit to those who get up at crazy hours.
I challenged myself one day to just run a mile, plug in some music, and see what happened. I wasn't even wearing proper running shoes (my Hoka One Ones had worn out, and I was still waiting on the new pair of Rincons to arrive after tossing the old ones), but felt like it anyway. To my surprise, I broke a 10 minute mile! I was thrilled. I've been consistently running a 9:20-10:20 minute mile now, but haven't gone farther than 2 miles yet.
But now, I want to just vibe and go, so I've been turning a lot to K-pop and J-pop (music I've enjoyed listening to for years now). I speak only a little Japanese so while I may pick up a word or phrase here in there in songs, I don't really know what they're saying, and I don't speak any Korean at all. Having the music just be really fun songs that I don't know the words to has been a great way of making sure I don't get too distracted by the music.
One Korean girl group I really, really love is LOONA. Each member of the group has a few singles of their own, and there are a few subdivisions within the group. Their vibe is really fun, upbeat, and each girl/subdivision has a unique sound. Most, if not all, of their songs are - as far as my understanding goes - about love and/or girl power, so it makes for a really uplifting running experience. I've compiled a few of my favorite songs by LOONA in order for a warm up, run, and cool down that you can try for yourself whether you love K-Pop or are looking to expand your horizons. I even put them together in a Spotify playlist! Since Spotify is shuffle-only for free accounts, this is a great option if you're looking to go for a run/walk/run and want to let the music decide your intervals for you.
What do you like to listen to when you run or walk (or both)? Let me know in the comments!
Did you know there are plenty of places to go for a run or walk at the Walt Disney World resorts?
Boardwalk Resort area
Polynesian Resort and the Grand Floridian Resort
If you're starting at the Polynesian Resort: Start at the Moorea building and go to the right of it. When you turn the corner, you'll see the ferry boats that take you to Magic Kingdom and the bungalows with a view of the Seven Seas Lagoon. You can see Cinderella Castle, the train station, Space Mountain, and Astro Orbiter as you run by the bungalows, and I recommend leaving your headphones behind for this route so you can enjoy the sounds of the Walt Disney World Railroad (yes, you can hear the train whistle!), the ferry boats, and the monorail.
Bonus: Every Thursday morning, there's the Derby Dash 5k at Saratoga Springs! Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the fun run starts at 8 a.m. in front of Community Hall. Registration is only $15 - just inquire with the front desk! You don't have to be staying here to participate. There is also a free walking league through the resort area - no registration required - on Tuesdays at 8:30 a.m., meeting in front of City Hall and walking for about 1.75 miles through the resort. Read more about events like this here.
Parking options: Contemporary Resort if you're staying there, or park at TTC and take a monorail over.
Pop Century and Art of Animation
The lake between these two resorts has a 1.29 mile long jogging path going around it, so if you're staying at one or the other, they connect. You could try to tack on some distance by taking some of the paths that weave through Pop Century's resort, but depending on the time of day, it may be crowded so do so with caution!
This is a fun trail because of all the potential photo opportunities along the way - you'll have some fun views based on the theming of the sections of the resorts.
âDuring Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in 2016, when the half marathon was canceled due to the weather, it was quite inspirational to see many runners take advantage of the trail and continue to do the loop until they hit their 13.1 for the day as to feel like they earned the medal they'd still be receiving - and even better was that many of the volunteers and even some resort guests came out to not only cheer them on, but set up water stops for them! A little kid in their costume was even offering a "character photo stop" for runners. Fore more on runDisney, click here!
Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter
Bonus: Every Sunday morning for $15, you can participate in the 1.5 mile Beignet Dash! Registration is at 7:30 a.m. at French Quarter with the fun run beginning at 8 a.m. You get beads, some other freebies, and a coupon for three free beignets. Read more about this here!
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I had a total blast at the #FQBeignetDash! I walked an extra lap to get at least 3 miles in to really feel like I earned those beignets and let me tell you, that cheat meal was worth every bite â¡ Review coming soon to my blog (link in bio)! â¡â¡â¡
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Wilderness Lodge & âFORT WILDERNESS CAMPGROUNDS
You can start near Tri Circle D Ranch at Fort Wilderness, near the main lobby at Wilderness Lodge (where you'll see some signage), and a path near the bike rental building at the Villas. If you get lost, there are some New Balance maps around!
Old Key West Resort
Caribbean Beach Resort & Riviera Resort
All Star Resorts
Want to run at Walt Disney World without paying runDisney prices?
Every fun run is $15 per person (free for kids 3 and under) and includes a cute little medal (nothing as hefty as the runDisney ones, but a cute trinket regardless) and either a free treat or some resort swag. Dates and times are subject to change, so double check with the resort’s cast members to be sure if you’re interested! Some of them offer pre-registration, but you’ll have no problem signing up the day of if you get there 30 minutes early.
Fort Wilderness hosts runs seasonally, so check with the cast members working there to see when and where they’re being hosted, if at all. If you’re there for the Fourth of July and want to run for Dole Whip, check out the PIneapple Dash at the Polynesian Resort! Check with resort cast members for exact times, as it may vary from year to year, but you can expect for it to be around 8:00 a.m., give or take.
The Beignet Dash:
I’ve done a full review on this run before, but if you haven’t read it, you can dash for some Mickey beignets at Port Orleans - French Quarter every Sunday at 8 a.m. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. by the Doubloon Lagoon pool, which is where you start. This 1.5 mile course takes you through both French Quarter and Riverside. Be sure to share photos with #FQBeignetDash!
Southernmost Point 3K:
All Stars and Icons:
The Regatta Run:
Ready for some sun salutations?
Resorts that offer yoga
- Grand Floridian Resort, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. (I saw a sign for this on Easter so it may be seasonal as it's not on their website)!
- Saratoga Springs, Monday and Wednesday at 7 a.m. (limited to 20 guests), near Congress Park Pool overlooking Disney Springs
- Contemporary Resort, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 a.m. (limited to 15 guests), by Lakeside Landing
I’m going to do my best to make sure these character locations are accurate; they’ll be approximate, though, as I don’t recall exactly where along the mile they were!
Marker: Kylo Ren
Marker: Darth Sidious/Palpatine
Marker: Boba Fett
Marker: Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover, not Billy Dee Williams)
Marker: General Grievous
Marker: Count Dooku
Likely from weaving around so many people and trying to cut across the road to safely stop to run or walk, my watch was reading 8.20 at the mile 8 marker… I guess this is what Carrie Fisher meant when she said “Instant gratification takes too long.” I was starting to feel the fatigue now on my body - especially since thanks to my knee injury, the longest I had run was 8.3 miles at the Winter Park Road Race - but I knew that we were getting so close to Hollywood Studios.
Marker: Darth Maul
I think I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw Darth Maul’s photo op with Tower of Terror in the distance, because that meant I was finally in the park!
Marker: Darth Vader
I ended up stopping for Biofreeze again for my knee, and the volunteer at the med tent was a frickin’ genius - she was giving it out on popsicle sticks! None lost to the pavement this time! As I ran down the path that takes you from Studios to the Boardwalk, I was super excited to see my Rebel Legion costume judge Jen dressed as Admiral Holdo! Jen was super helpful when I was building my Jyn to Rebel Legion standards and she and her husband came down from New York, so it was great to see her cheering on runners with her sign, “Godspeed, Runners!”
The Boardwalk is always fun to run on, especially to see the resort guests cheering people on with funny signs and, in one person’s case, a dinosaur outfit! At the end of the Boardwalk you could take a photo with Sabine and Ezra, who I stopped for a picture with (like I did last year) because they don’t really have a line (and I’m a huge fan of Star Wars Rebels, so that’s always good news for me!).
Marker: Luke Skywalker
Right before you hit the final mile is another chance to take some photos with the 501st and Rebel Legions! The only time I’ve seen a long line for them was at this point because of Vader; I would have said hi to Vader as I troop with him a lot, but just wanted to be done with it since my knee felt like it was probably inflammed.
So I said hello to our local Sabine (who is a total gem of a human with or without her helmet) and R2 and grabbed a selfie with some friends I haven’t trooped with in forever! It was another much needed break for my knee and when I saw the mile marker of Rey, I thought I was going to cry because I was so excited and ready to be done (yes, you still get emotional after a few of these!)!
Have you run any of the Star Wars races? What did you think? Let’s chat!
*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. But don't worry - these are all products I'd recommend anyway and use whenever I run!
DO train properly!
I know it can be hard to squeeze in the time to do so, but you’ll thank yourself race day. When I was training for my first half marathon, I was still living in Fort Myers, where it’s generally even more hot and humid than Orlando, and I’d be running late at night with my parents - who were also running the Space Coast Half with me - to get the long runs in and beat the summer heat. Our runs wouldn’t end until around midnight, but I went into my first half marathon with so much confidence that I was barely nervous. You don’t have to go out in the middle of the night like I did, but take a look at your schedule and find what works best for you. Who knows - maybe there are some local runs happening that fall in line with your training schedule!
DO a trial run in your costume before race day!
It was a strange combination of sad and comical, so please do yourself a favor and make sure you’ll be able to enjoy the race rather than fussing over an outfit the entire time. Want a tutu but not sure you’ll be able to stand it? Try a Sparkle Skirt instead! These skirts by Sparkle Athletic are my personal favorite, as they rest over your leggings or shorts and are extremely lightweight, while still having the same effect as a tutu thanks to the sequins and the skirt's light swing.
DO make sure you’re prepared for any kind of weather!
DO get up early enough so you’re feeling ready to run and not rushing!
DO show off your bling at the parks!
DON’T worry about the balloon ladies!
DON’T forget about race etiquette just because it's Disney!
Runners who don't do this: this is all the more reason to be aware of your surroundings. I always go into a runDisney race anticipating that absolutely no one is going to be aware of their surroundings so I can act proactively in case of a potential accident.
If you’re running with a group, sticking to pairs of two to run side-by-side is the general rule of thumb. When transitioning from running to walking, raise your hand high so anyone behind you that’s running will know that you’re about to slow down and hopefully not barrel into you. If you can, shift to the side of the road - some people will tell you to go to the right side, but at a runDisney race, just focus on not causing an accident. This is not just for your own safety, but for others as well.
Also, if you’re a faster runner, don’t just blow through people who are walking! While it can be aggravating to see someone in a higher corral than they should be for their pace, it doesn’t give you an excuse to be rude either… something I’ve seen at many a race, but especially runDisney ones because I think people forget that most people’s priorities for the runDisney courses is to have fun!
DON’T just plug your headphones in and go!
DON’T worry about character photos!
When I ran the Star Wars Dark Side 10K and Half Marathon in 2018, I had plenty of time to stop for photos with characters and the 501st Legion* along the way since I was in one of the middle corrals. For Princess Half Marathon in 2018, I didn’t test my luck since the lines were insanely long and, even though I was in a middle corral, I didn’t want to risk it (when I say long, I mean some of these lines had to be at least 20-30 minutes long, no exaggeration!). However, I did get a quick photo with Mrs. Incredible towards the end and I had plenty of time since her line was super short.
DON’T try anything new on race day!
Hopefully, you’re feeling a little more prepared as you approach your first runDisney event! My first half marathon was not a runDisney race, and for that I am grateful. Not to say they’re a bad first option, but they are on a whole other scale of a local race that, while just as fun, would be less stressful than the sheer beast that is runDisney.
What’s your favorite part of a runDisney race? Let’s chat!
Jessica is a huge Disney, anime, and Star Wars nerd who channeled that love into motivation to lose 75 lbs.