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How To Beat Cardio Boredom By Running For Distance Instead Of Time

July 18th, 2008 · 12 Comments ·


I normally do my cardiovascular exercise after I finish my weight lifting routine. As it is the last activity, I seldom run for too long. Therefore, I set the timer to do the count down of time, say 15 or 20 minutes. It can be pretty boring after some time. If you feel the same, read on because lately, I found a new way to bust the boredom.

Instead of focusing on duration, I go for distance. Start with half a mile (about 800 meter), then 1 mile (about 1.6 kilometer) and more if I have more time to kill. Some of the treadmill, bike or elliptical trainer allows you to set the pre determined distance.

While you are going for that distance, even though you may not be paying attention to the time, you should still push yourself to do your best. Not to worry too much about calories burnt, just run or cycle. When someone ask you what you have done in the gym, you can proudly say, “I have run 2 miles today.”

Of course, others have much better way to beat the boredom of doing a routine. The above example is just one of the ways. If you use other methods, I would want to hear from you too.



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Category: Gym Going

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12 responses so far ↓
  • Marina // Jul 18, 2008 at 2:42 AM

    Hey! I just stared doing the distance ploy instead of running for duration and it totally works for me. AND I get to say I ran 3 miles, if anyone ever asks me. I also break up my lifting routine before and after my run. I do chest, shoulders, back before running and then finish with arms, stomach and lower back. Saves me from getting bored. Love all your posts!

  • Ken // Jul 18, 2008 at 8:33 AM

    Different treadmill gives different reading. I have tried a few with the exact same settings but the differnce of the readings were between 10% to 20%.

    Especially the machine that let’s you stride, striding 12.94 km in 30 mins and burning 794 calories sounds ridiculous to me. Even the exercise bikes give a better picture of how much you have done.

    As a rule, I always calculate more conservatively than the readings on the machine just to be safe.

  • hcfoo // Jul 18, 2008 at 10:04 AM

    I’ve started going to gym for 3 weeks now doing resistant training and cardio in between. Usually I start with resistant training for 30 mins and another 30 mins on the treadmill (walking face-paced, not running).

    30 mins seems long but the only thing that help me to focus is the TV. I just have to spend my time watching the entire sitcom and I’m done ;)

    Btw, want to ask, which one is better, resistant training first the cardio or otherwise?

  • Mun // Jul 18, 2008 at 10:47 AM

    To Marina and Ken: Thanks for dropping by!
    To hcfoo: About resistance training before or after cardio, check out Cardio Before or After Weight Training?

  • Angie Tan // Jul 18, 2008 at 11:27 AM


    I’ve started to look at the distance measure on the machines as well. :-)

    However, got to ask the folks @ the gym if it is in miles or KM. Hahahaa.. I found that as I get stronger, it takes me a while before I feel that I get a good cardio workout and perhaps, I should start looking at how far I can go versus how long it takes me to complete my workout.

  • trey // Jul 18, 2008 at 1:00 PM

    how about saying, i ran a Mile in less than 7 minutes?

    or i ran 400m splits in 1min 30secs?

    running for distance instead of just time is good, but if you’re an advanced runner, try go for both.

    go for the distance, in less time. more work in less time = more power output.

  • dailymuscle // Jul 19, 2008 at 6:08 PM

    I find my IPOD to be the single most useful tool to eliminate boredom when I’m doing my cardio. Any mp3 player can do – as long as you can choose the songs you like – thats important.

    I’ll be honest.. I dont love doing cardio.. but it’s necessary. And when we can ‘distract’ our mind, and cause it to focus on something else – time can fly, and you’ll be surprised to discover that you may even be able to push yourself to greater levels while being ‘distracted’.

  • ria // Jul 21, 2008 at 1:12 PM

    This is a great idea! Must try it out. Usually the interval cardio training works for me – walk two minutes, run two minutes, then repeat.

  • stupe // Jul 22, 2008 at 1:14 PM

    Try racing yourself on the treadmill. :) for me, the only way to beat boredom on the treadmill is to do HIIT.

  • Tom Parker // Aug 10, 2008 at 12:09 AM

    I always used to go for distance when I was running on the treadmill and always found it much more effective. Instead of running for 30 minutes I could tell myself I’m going to run 8km in 30 minutes, I’m going to run 3km before the clock gets to 10 minutes etc. By running for 30 minutes with no targets I wouldn’t have been nearly as productive.

  • dena // May 8, 2009 at 11:31 AM

    i have been running for 6 miles on the treadmill in an hour each time i go to the gym lately! and im so proud to say.. i ran 6 miles.

  • Thomas Bailey // Jun 29, 2009 at 4:47 AM

    I usually bike to a destination instead of time or distance. In 1990, I biked to San Bruno. In 1992 I biked to San Francisco-Balboa Park, in 1994 to Gilroy, in 1995 to Hayward, in 1996 to Sausalito, in 1997 to Half Moon Bay, in 2001 to Pacifica, San Leandro, and Santa Cruz. In 2008 I biked to Oakland and Hollister. I live in Sunnyvale. I am planning to bike to Richmond, Concord, Berkeley, Castro Valley, Hercules, San Rafael, or Novato. In 1988, I walked to Redwood City. I have walked to San Jose three times, and to Saratoga once.

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