11 Ways to Stay Motivated While Running on a Treadmill

We’ve all been there: you’re trying to lose weight, so you finally decide to start going to the gym, but then once you get there, you find yourself staring at that intimidating treadmill and wondering why on earth you thought this was going to be a good idea. If that sounds familiar, read on for 10 ways to stay motivated while running on a treadmill!

1) Find a Specific Goal

It’s hard to stay motivated when you’re running on a treadmill, and that’s because of how much time is spent standing still. You might want to run 5 miles per day, but that goal isn’t very practical while you run every day. Instead, work toward specific goals—like weight loss or calorie-burning. When those numbers start climbing, it can be easy to see your hard work paying off.

Work with a specific goal in mind, and you’ll be much more likely to stay motivated. Set realistic and attainable goals based on your current fitness level. You can work your way up from smaller goals like running for 30 minutes, or setting time-based goals like I want to run outside three times per week or I want my longest run of the week to be 15 miles.

After you meet one goal, create another that pushes you further. Work toward one major long-term goal at a time so that it stays attainable. If you try to set too many goals at once, it can lead to frustration and demotivation when they don’t all work out perfectly.

2) Set Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals when you’re running on a treadmill is key. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew by committing to an exercise regimen that’s too rigorous. It may be better, at first, to start with one or two days of walking or jogging on your treadmill, with each session lasting no longer than 30 minutes.

Once that feels comfortable and doable for you, add in one more day of exercise. Then go from there until you’ve reached your fitness goals. If it takes three weeks or three months—that’s fine. As long as it works for you and your body, go at your own pace.

3) Think About the End Goal

One of the biggest mistakes people make when running is not thinking about their end goal. It’s easy to start running and get so caught up in your routine that you don’t think about why you are doing it. By always keeping your goals in mind, you can stay motivated by feeling closer and closer to reaching them with each step.

But if you only have short-term goals (I want to lose 10 pounds), it might be hard for your long-term motivation (I want to run my first 5K) because they’re too far away or seem unreachable.

4) Know How Much Time You Can Devote to Exercise

If you can’t dedicate at least 30 minutes a day, three times per week to your fitness routine, chances are you won’t be able to find that motivation. The American Heart Association recommends that adults aged 18-65 get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity) each week. If you have no idea how much time you can devote to physical activity per week, figure it out now! You can then plan your workouts accordingly. Most treadmills have an average speed of 3 miles per hour (5 kilometers per hour), which will give you an estimate of just how long it might take for each workout.

5) Give Yourself Grace When Something Doesn’t Go As Planned

Let’s face it: life happens. You could have done everything in your power to stay motivated, but sometimes life just gets in your way. You can’t control when these obstacles appear, so there’s no sense in worrying about them ahead of time. It is what it is, and you just need to roll with it.

In short, give yourself grace! Keep moving forward toward your goal even if things aren’t going exactly as planned. Don’t beat yourself up over things that didn’t go according to plan; use those times as opportunities for learning and growth instead. If you do fall off track, get back on as soon as possible and don’t give up!

6) Listen to Podcast instead of music

Listening to music while you work out is popular, but research suggests that it may not be helping you reach your goals. Music can make workouts more enjoyable, but it can also make them less effective. Instead of listening to music when running on a treadmill or jogging around your neighbourhood, try listening to audiobooks or podcasts instead. Having another voice in your ear will help you stay motivated and focused, which could mean faster weight loss overall.

7) Try New Workouts

Not only does running make you tired, but it can get stale. So why not try other workouts? You can still lose weight by incorporating new exercises that challenge your body in new ways, according to Shape Magazine. Try Zumba or swimming. It’s much easier to stay motivated when you’re being forced outside of your comfort zone and trying new things! It might seem counterintuitive, but it works for most people!

8) Try Different Locations for Working Out (i.e., Park, Trail, Gym)

Many people run on treadmills for convenience. If you’re looking for motivation and inspiration, though, there’s no substitute for a fresh trail or an invigorating session at your local gym. Take some time to explore different workout locations; you might be surprised by how much it can impact your commitment and enthusiasm. And don’t forget: Running outdoors can help you lose weight as well!

Some people find that they run faster and more effortlessly outdoors; others prefer running in a gym. In fact, there are even runners who alternate between outdoor runs and treadmill sessions. Just remember: The location of your workout doesn’t matter nearly as much as what you do while you’re there!

Only Run During Your Favorite TV Shows: Many people use television as an excuse for not exercising—it’s hard to get off your couch when The Bachelor is on! If you really want to lose weight, though, try exercising when a show comes on that inspires you or makes you laugh.

9) Don’t Push Too Hard Too Soon

Many people start running on a treadmill and then immediately push as hard as they can, barely making it halfway through their program. Don’t do that. You may find yourself experiencing some of these common treadmill-related injuries if you aren’t careful: shin splints, runner’s knee, ankle sprains, muscle tears and strains. Start slow.

Run at a comfortable pace for your skill level—try setting it anywhere from 75% to 90% of your max speed for one minute and then increasing by 1% each day until you get used to running at full throttle. Always listen to your body; if anything feels sore or painful, back off!

10) Reward Yourself For Hard Work Done So Far

One great way to stay motivated is to reward yourself. It can be as simple as taking time out of your day and going for a walk, getting your favorite snack or watching an episode of your favorite show while eating it. You’ve been working hard so it only makes sense that you should reward yourself after all that hard work! Staying motivated is crucial when working out, especially if you are running in place on a treadmill.

Making sure that you feel good after a run will help motivate you to keep going and not quit. Reward yourself for finishing one mile, two miles, even ten miles in order to stay motivated for future runs. Check out 10 ways to stay motivated here!

11) Stay Hydrated During The Workout

Hydration during workouts is critical. Drinking water or other hydrating fluids will not only help your body flush out lactic acid, but it can also keep you energized and focused throughout your workout. Be sure to sip small amounts of water periodically during your workout rather than drinking a big glass all at once just before beginning. This way, you won’t feel weighed down as soon as you start running.

Staying hydrated can be hard while working out inside on that treadmill, so make sure that you take breaks to get more water or an electrolyte drink (like Gatorade) into your system. You don’t want dehydration to put an end to your workout before you finish!


In conclusion, there are plenty of ways to stay motivated while running. If you’re looking for faster results, try increasing your speed and incline. Alternatively, you can increase your duration and distance. And don’t forget about music! It can make all the difference when it comes to endurance training. Music is like medicine; if you want something bad enough, it will keep you going until your mission is accomplished! Happy running!

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