Blog Post: A Treadmill Desk–Of a Sort

I’ll confess:  I am a most reluctant DIYer.  My ultimate goal is to make a salary where I can pay someone else to put things together or fix things for me.

I suppose I don’t mind buying a kit of something to put together, although I’m a bit burned out on that with my recent move, but when I walk into Home Depot with nothing more than a few measurements scribbled on a Post-It Note, I run the danger of hyperventilating.

So as you can imagine, I tried everything else first to construct my own treadmill desk but for some reason nothing quite came together for me.  Part of it is my work space, which will change when I move.  Part of it is I’m not prepared to spend $2,500–$4,500 for a premade treadmill desk.

I started out by ordering a Nordic Track treadmill for $599 (along with a warranty, since the belts are awfully expensive).  Then I looked at a Trek Desk for an awfully long time.  The only problem is that my work space is not quite big enough for one.  I still might buy one of those when I live in a place with a bigger office.

Then I looked at IKEA’s height adjustable workstation—but found out they discontinued it a few weeks ago.  Author Courtney Milan suggested a Geek Desk, but they’re expensive with several week’s delay in delivery (it still is an option, just not one I have taken yet).  Another writer friend Dan O’Shea built his own treadmill desk station, but while his idea was ingenious, his solution was again, too big for my work space and… so much work.

Meanwhile my treadmill got delivered and assembled today.  So close, and yet so far away from my treadmill desk!  Desperately I turned to YouTube and watched videos of what other people did.  I did not trust myself to figure out how to fasten a board onto my treadmill safely with bungee cords, so I settled on this guy’s option:  He claims it is how to set up a treadmill desk in under 30 minutes for under $25.

Well, as for the first part of his claim, it took much longer for me, but the second half of his claim was true for me.  My Home Depot bill came to $23.95.  But because I avoid Home Depot like the plague, I first had to stop at Office Depot (across the street) to see if THEY had any height adjustable work stations that didn’t take up too much room.  FIY, at this point in time, they don’t.

So I slunk into Home Depot, my scribbled buy list in one hand.  I wandered around and looked pathetic enough until a store employee asked if I needed help.  Oh yes, I did.

They cut a piece of shelf board to fit my length requirement of 43 inches, and the very nice young man helped me get all the other pieces I needed.  Then I came home tonight and managed to bash and screw the thing together.

You can see where I screwed it up and had to redo it in the second photo, but thankfully, it doesn’t matter what it looks like underneath the board.

And I attached it with zip cords, just like the YouTube guy did.

One thing is for sure–this puppy feels secure and it’s not coming off by accident, which is GOOD for the health and safety of my precious laptop and its contents.  I still have my small sit down computer workstation to use when needed.  And I’ve not given up on getting another, more permanent solution… perhaps one of the smaller Geek Desks after all.  But for now I have somewhere to work so I can learn how to type as I walk.

Tomorrow, I begin.



11 Responses

  1. Dan O'Shea says:

    Hey, looks like a solid solution. Good luck! Now, next time I catch you on twitter, we can get all sweaty together.

  2. Angela says:

    Great job!! Sometimes it feels like DIY projects are so hard, but I’m sure you feel great now that it’s finished. : )

  3. Katherine says:

    Wow, what a great idea! Good luck on the walk and type skills.

  4. Allie says:

    How clever! What a wonderful idea! And no more guilt as you type with all that sitting in one spot. I wonder if I should do this. I spend all day typing for work, at home. I have to listen to doctors, though. I wonder if they make silent treadmills. 🙂 Or maybe I could get one of those elliptical things.

  5. thea says:

    Thanks! You’re right, Angela, I do feel good now that it’s all over!

    Katherine, I haven’t actually shifted things over yet today… soon now, so I’m sure I’ll be making lots of typos.

    Allie, maybe your doctor will think this is a great idea for you.

    Last night, I also bought the last laptop holder that Amazon was carrying, so I’ll be elevating my laptop higher than the desk piece, which will be good for standing straighter and also give me more room on the board for other things.

  6. julaine says:

    And to think that all I do is listen to music and read while I’m using my treadmill. I’m obviously a hopeless slacker. I have thought about mounting a TV on the wall in front like the do in the gym but since I watch so little I just haven’t bothered. Typing and running at the same time? You guys are dedicated.

  7. Diane says:

    Looking good enough to write on?

  8. Cat says:

    interesting captcha, btw.

    Also, love the Ikea hack. I am oft on the dang stability ball, and it’s just not doing anything for me , other than causing me to spill my coffee.

  9. Naoufel says:

    A better Idea would be to make holes in the wooden peace to avoid damaging the machine handles.
    I used your Idea in a better way and it works. I used hood straps, screwed them to the wooden peace so the laptop would be more stable.
    Thanks for the original idea.

  10. Trevor says:

    Like your treadmill desk. its great idea use treadmill desk in workstation to get rid of health problems.