5 Cardio Tips for When You Hate Cardio

Bianca Bialk

Cardio. What a love/hate relationship. I’m one of those people that managed to convince myself that running feels good, but I also dread most moments before a workout knowing I’ll be on the treadmill. There’s a reason it’s good for you, and it’s because it sucks! However, I feel I have ~come to terms with death via cardio, so I’ll teach you my tips.

1. Switch it up

I automatically think of running when I think cardio, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, cardio is defined as any exercise that increases your heart rate. This can be done in many ways (circuit workouts, tabata, biking, rollerblading), so don’t force yourself on the treadmill if you have anxiety just thinking about it. Even better, try those activities in a workout class — Classpass offers a free month trial, Chicago!

Bianca Bialk

2. Find a buddy

I used to think my friend Taylor was insane for running without headphones (I still kind of do) but running while catching up with a friend is the perfect two-birds-one-stone scenario. Talking while breathing is a whole other story, but having a partner gives you someone to chat with and HOLD you accountable. This also works especially well if you are competitive 😉 (I’m not, but I heard it’s a thing).

3. Use interval workouts

Especially useful on the treadmill, interval workouts are foolproof ways to make the time go faster. Switching speeds and inclines during your workout is great for you, but it’s also an INCREDIBLE boredom-fighter. This is that “I only have to do this 5-min chunk four more times” mentality that helps us get through any tedious tasks. 

4. Work for a goal

For new or old runners, having a time/distance goal to keep in mind is a great way to stay motivated. Whether this means being able to run 3 miles without stopping, being able to run a mile under ten minutes, or even training for a race, giving yourself an end goal encourages you to keep going until you make it happen. 

5. Change up your setting

Nothing bores me to tears more than routine. Not only do I make a conscious effort to switch up the kind of cardio I do, but I also try to change the scenery as often as I can. While this is a liiiiitle more possible in the summer, I recommend taking your run somewhere new to keep things from getting monotonous.

How do you make cardio bearable? LMK, THANKS!

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Photos by Laurel Pierce