How to Read and Run at the Same Time

When I tell people that I run on the treadmill, listen to music AND read all at the same time, I get a lot of perplexed looks. This is one area of multi-tasking that I excel greatly in and discovering it was an absolute game changer for me. Disclaimer: I do this only on a treadmill when I can rest my kindle on the ledge. I also want to disclaim that this is not for the un-coordinated. Otherwise, read on to learn how I learned to read and run at the same time.


If you don’t already know, music is my life. It has been a critical part of my being since I was a child. It’s something I connect with deeply and I can’t imagine a world without. I love having the beautiful voices, riffs, beats and tempos vibrate over my ear drums on the regular. However, although it can really get me lost in thought when I run, sometimes music alone didn’t pass the time or distance fast enough. So what better to do, than add reading.


I found that when I started reading while I ran, I became so engrossed in the story that I forgot what I was even doing and before I knew it, I had already made it a good distance. It helped my endurance which in turn helped my mile time.

Music While Reading

My music, although in the background, keeps me pumped. Once in a while the music would move to the forefront of my attention and distract me from reading, but I would be able to take my attention back to reading pretty easily.

Once in a while, I will read a word and the musician will sing the same word at the same time I was reading it. That’s always fun and equally creepy when that happens.

How I did it

1. Make the print of the e-reader huge.   

This is definitely key because when you’re bobbing up and down, it’s hard to focus on small print. I’m really lazy though. I never change it back to a normal size, so I likely get looks or people thinking I have terrible vision if I am reading in public somewhere else, like an airplane. I would rather keep it simple and ready to rock and roll when I hop back on the treadmill again.

I just recently needed to buy a new e-reader to replace my Nook and I chose to go with the Kindle this time around, and got this one.

2. Start slow

This is kind of important because you don’t want to get hurt. Start slow so you can get your bearings and work your way up to a faster speed.

3. Cover the display with a towel

Because the e-reader rests on the display of the treadmill, it’s a good idea to cover the display with a towel so wandering eyes aren’t constantly checking to see where you are at for time and distance.

That’s about it.

The race against myself

There were so many times I would say, “I’m just gonna run 3 miles”.   However, once I got to that 3 miles, I would be so engrossed in the story I was reading that I would say, “I’ll go until I finish this chapter”.  But when the chapter would be done, I would be at 50 minutes and 5.4 miles so I challenged myself just to make it an even hour or 6 miles, or both. 

This skill is something I am so glad I learned because now, with two kids, the only time I have to read is on the treadmill.  So if you are wanting to learn to love running and need a new distraction, or you want to find a way to love the treadmill, or maybe even not have to pick and choose between reading or exercise, this could be the answer to your conundrum.

There you have it! That’s how you learn to read and run at the same time! To read more about how I learned running in the first place, click here.

Good luck and stay safe.

Similar Posts