When you first start running, it can be exciting as it is all new. But as you train over weeks, months and even years, it can sometimes get a little boring. If you are feeling like your runs are becoming a chore, it is time to spice them up with something new. Here are 7 tips and tricks to renew the excitement in your runs.
1. Run with Friends
Running with friends can be a great way to pass the time. A great conversation can make a long run seem short. If you can’t talk your current non-runner friends into joining you, its time to also find some friends who run. Join a running club. You can find a club by asking at your local running store or gym. Some of the best people I have met have been my running buddies.
If you don’t have a run club locally, start your own. You can post your runs on social media, or advertise locally in the gyms, athletic stores or in your local newspaper. Starting and finishing your runs at a coffee shop or local restaurant is a great way to encourage other runners to join you. Runners like food.
2. Listen to music or an audio book
Listening to music or an audio book is a great way to enjoy a run. Music has been shown to motivate people to run and run faster with perceived less effort. A great playlist with a tempo that matches your stride rate can help you have a more pleasurable run. Focusing on an audio book can be a great distraction too. Watching a TV show or a movie while running on a treadmill can also help pass the time.
If you choose to run with earbuds, only use one earbud. You need to be able to hear your surroundings. Outside you need to be able to hear traffic, cyclists and other people on foot. Inside on the track or treadmill, you also need to be aware of what is happening around you. Be safe. Only wear one earbud.
3. Run in a new location
A change of scenery can help spice up a run. If you normally run on roads, try a trail run. Running in the trees is wonderful and the ground is softer, but you need to be especially aware of your footing to avoid tripping on a root, rock or hole. Be sure to listen to your surroundings both for safety and to soothe your mind. Listening to the wind in the trees, birds singing or a babbling brook does wonders to alleviate stress in your life.
Take a runcation; a slang term for a vacation with the purpose of running a race in a different city. You can find a race in almost any major city, and even some smaller towns. It is a great way to travel, meet fellow runners from all over the world and renew your passion for running. It can even inspire you in your training runs, especially as you get closer to your departure date. Run Disney has some especially fun events, for example.
4. GPS Art
There are some amazing examples of art that people have created through running. While I have never done this myself, I have seen some really fun results of GPS art. You need to plan out your route ahead of time, using maps of streets around you. Let your imagination loose. You run the planned route, then look at the masterpiece you created when you download your run from your GPS watch. It can be such a great adventure.
After surviving being hit by a car in which his leg was fractured in multiple places, Tom Veilleux runs every day. He is a GPS artist who says that GPS art added a spark to his running. He has a blog called #DrawWithYourFeet , where you can see more fantastic GPS art and a guide on how to do this for your own runs. The GPS art featured in this post was created by Tom Veilleux.
5. Sign up for a race or fun run
Races can be great motivators. The energy during some races can be inspiring. The anticipation at the start, the spectators encouraging you along the route and the cheers at the finish line can be very energizing….and addicting. You celebrate your amazing accomplishment of finishing your goal race with like-minded people. It can be an amazing experience, leaving you wanting more.
Fun runs are just that, runs for fun. Most are charity fundraisers, so have the added benefit of helping a good cause. Runners sometimes dress up in costume for fun runs. Two of my favorite charity fun runs are the CIBC Run for the Cure and the Salvation Army’s Santa Shuffle,
If you can’t find a race or fun run, there are also virtual runs. A virtual run is an event that can be run anywhere. Some are organized by online virtual event companies, but some are also established races that allow a virtual option. The concept is that you sign up online, you run the distance on your own or with friends, then you post your times on the virtual run website or social media. A finisher’s medal is mailed to you. It can be a fun way to reward yourself for your runs.
6. Meditate while running
A solo run can be the perfect place to find time to meditate. Mindful meditation is a great stress reliever. It helps you be fully present and aware. It can help calm your emotions and help you be less reactive in daily life. Scientifically, mindful meditation has been shown to have beneficial effects on both mind and body when fighting cancer and other diseases.
You can read more about how to practice mindful meditation while running on this blog post.
7. Play running games
Playing running games can be a great way to turn a boring run into something fun. Some games can also help improve your running. There are some games that can be played with friends and some that can be done by yourself on solo runs. You can let your creative side take over and invent your own running games.
One of my favorite games to play while running is actually a speed enhancing workout called fartleks. I start out by running at an easy pace as a warm up. Then I pick a random distance, perhaps between street lamp posts, to run fast, Once I have achieved this, I will go back to running my easy pace until I find the next chosen marker. You can play this same game with cars, as a variation. When you see a red car, you run fast until you see the next red car.
Group running games can also be fun and creative. Find your inner child and try a sack or three-leg race. Run a relay style run and pass a baton back and forth. Track workouts can also be great fun with a group of friends. Try alternating between fast and slow laps on the track. Race your friends on the fast laps or pick a pace, don’t look at your watches and see who runs the lap closest to the pace time.
Running doesn’t have to be boring and monotonous. With a little imagination, running can be a lot of fun.
What do you do to make running fun? Comment below.