5 Tech Resources to Make Treadmill Workouts More Engaging and Fun
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5 Tech Resources to Make Treadmill Workouts More Engaging and Fun

Aug 25, 2023

If think walking or running on a treadmill is boring, wait until you try these exciting apps and resources to spice up your treadmill workouts.

Love them or hate them, treadmills are incredible training tools. Whether you’re short on time or avoiding lousy weather, they are fantastic ways to get a run workout in. These apps and other resources can help make those treadmill runs and walks feel a bit more enjoyable (and maybe even fun).

With a library of over 200 immersive videos from around the world, you can use BitGym (available for iOS and Android) to explore locations such as Patagonia from the comfort of your treadmill belt. It's a fantastic way to engage your attention and learn more about gorgeous places all over the globe.

Open the Exercise Tracking feature for a variety of ways to create an interactive training experience. Use your phone's front camera or pair a wearable run sensor with the app. Once paired, the speed of the videos adjusts to your actual pace, creating a more lifelike experience. The app can also work with elliptical machines, rowing machines, and stationary bikes.

Watch the videos from your phone or tablet or cast them to a larger screen for an even more immersive experience. Plus, pop-up facts about each area you explore offer greater historical and cultural information. You just might discover your next vacation destination from this handy app.

Eight of the app's tours are available for free, and a monthly subscription unlocks more than 200 tours. For subscribers, new areas get added to the app each month, so you always have fresh destinations to explore.

In addition, there are plenty of virtual run videos available on YouTube. Although they will not be as interactive as the BitGym app's videos, they are still a great way to engage your mind with beautiful scenery and beat boredom. For instance, the Mount Rufus virtual run from Virtual Running Adventures on YouTube offers some striking shots of Tasmanian forests.

Give your treadmill runs a greater sense of purpose by working with a training plan. Designed for true beginners, the None to Run (available for iOS and Android) app offers an approachable entry to structured workouts.

Follow a 12-week plan to improve as a runner with set running and walking intervals. Your running coach, Mark Kennedy, narrates each workout and encourages you every step of the way.

The app can work directly from your Apple Watch, which is handy for tracking steps and heart rate data. If you don't use a fitness tracker, then the app can use your phone to track steps and even gauge your pace during treadmill workouts. As long as the app has Motion & Fitness permission, then you're good to go.

This helpful, no-nonsense app offers plenty of encouragement and advice to help you improve as a runner over the 12-week duration of your training plan. It's an excellent option for those new to running, as well as athletes returning to the sport after a break.

In addition, check out the many online sources for running plans, such as Runner's World and Strava. While many of the plans (such as Marathon Handbook's Couch to 5K treadmill guide) work well on the treadmill, in other instances you may want to use the treadmill for specific speed or hill workouts. Experiment to find the mix of treadmill and outdoor training that works for your goals.

For many athletes, nothing is more motivating than the support of a dedicated coach. With the PulseTread: Treadmill Trainer app (available for iOS), you'll get a new, unique, 30-minute treadmill run from celebrity trainer Mark Harari every weekday.

Whether you're a newcomer or a more seasoned treadmill runner, these audio-guided routines can work for a variety of athletes. Harari stresses that you are in charge of every workout, so adjust the speed and incline to meet your fitness level accordingly.

As you go through the guided workouts, it's easy to see why Harari has such a following in the Los Angeles fitness scene. He tells you exactly how long to stay at various speeds (from a 5.0 steady jog to a 6.0 run, for instance) and offers tips and good-humored motivation for the entirety of the workout.

If you like the social aspect of using a virtual coach for workouts, then consider joining a virtual running club or community designed to make your running habit stick. Chat with your fellow runners in supportive online environments and learn from professional coaching plans. There are plenty of ways to interact with the lovely running community wherever you are in the world (and yes, treadmill runners are definitely welcome, too).

Create your own workouts with variable speed and elevation using the Kinni app, which interfaces with more than 75 treadmill brands. From the Run screen, tap the Treadmill button to connect with your Bluetooth-enabled machine.

Note that the Treadmill full support button offers the most control over your machine, while the Treadmill experimental button supports a wider range of devices, sometimes with less functionality. With a new device, try out the full support button first.

Now, for the customizing part: tap the Plus button on the Workouts screen to start building your own customized treadmill run. Add in your selected pace, incline, and duration for each split, and include optional voice prompts. If you're working from an existing training plan, or you simply want more control over your treadmill workouts, then this is an excellent way to experiment with intervals, hill training, and other aspects.

In addition to the custom options, the Kinni app also offers a large workout library. Focus on your pace, aerobic fitness, or recovery, or tackle some hills with these varied workout options.

Download: Kinni: Running & Workouts for iOS | Android (Free, subscription available)

Intervals are a great way to shake up any workout and keep them interesting. In this video by the IBX Running YouTube channel, Coach Rachel talks you through an invigorating 30-minute interval workout.

Sometimes, the only thing you need to spice up your workout is a little friendly coaching and some challenging intervals. Crank up the incline and follow along with Coach Rachel's encouraging instruction.

If you're into the idea of mixing walk breaks into your runs, then check out the apps for training with the Galloway run-walk-run method, a popular form of interval training for runners. Whether you're aiming to tackle to mile or the marathon, there are plenty of Galloway devotees who love this approach to training.

With help from a few apps and YouTube videos, your treadmill runs can become a dynamic, enjoyable part of your workout regime. By playing around with your speed, incline, and duration—as well as listening to some advice from running pros—you can learn to appreciate the dreaded treadmill.

Lindsay E. Mack is a seasoned writer with a focus on health and fitness technology, having authored over 2,000 articles for various industries over the past decade. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Business Administration. As an active athlete and early adopter of fitness apps, she loves testing new technology for MUO’s readers.

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