For some of us – as much as we love running – it sometimes just gets a bit same ol’ same ol’. You’re running the same route, at the same time, listening to the same songs. It’s all getting a little too déjà vu.
Boredom means less motivation, which means you’re less inclined to give it your best. If you’re not giving it your all, you’re unlikely to be making progress.
So how do you keep your run fresh and interesting? For the miles to fly by, try these boredom-beating tips to make your runs less of a chore, and more fun, enjoyable and productive!
1. Invite a friend
Running should never be a wretched experience be fun, and running with a friend can definitely boost the fun factor. In fact, having a running buddy might be better for brain health than running solo. Buddying up makes your run more social and stimulating. You can chat, take it in turns to set the pace and even make up your own games as you run.
Tip: For a running partnership to be successful, you should be of a similar level of fitness, have similar running goals and be prepared to commit – no standing up your running buddy or turning up late for workouts!
2. Change your route
Running the same route over and over almost guarantees your workout will become boring with time. Rather than do the same old loop every time you run, look for new running routes and even drive to new areas to enjoy a change of scenery and stimulate your senses.
Tip: Check out running websites for your local area, which will have tips from other runners about great running locations. Look for different environments in which to run. Not only will changing running surface and terrain make your runs more interesting, but it will also make you a better runner and challenge your body a different way.
3. Make it a destination run
If you live in an urban area, consider running to a fun spot (a delicious doughnut shop, your friend’s apartment, a park, etc.) and then taking public transportation back home. Live in the suburbs? Have a friend or family member drop you off and run back home. Knowing you can’t stop until you reach your destination will give the run more purpose!
4. Listen to music, audiobook or podcast
Listening to music can be both super motivating and provide proven distraction from the sometimes monotony of running. Exercising with music has been shown to make people exercise harder. You can also listen to podcasts, radio talk shows, radio plays, sports commentaries or audio books.
5. Focus on your technique
Running is pretty easy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it wrong! Focusing on your running technique can be a great way to distract yourself and will also make you a better runner.
6. Problem solve
Running is a great opportunity for working through problems and coming up with solutions. The increased flow of oxygen to your brain and the production of happy hormones (endorphins) mean you are probably at your most creative when you’re running. If stuck on a problem or suffering with a creative block, lace up your running shoes and head out for a run. Chances are, by the time you get back, your creative and problem-solving juices will be flowing freely.
7. Try cross training
If running is losing its appeal, try cycling, rowing, hiking, swimming, aqua running or join a circuit class. Doing other activities works your muscles in different ways, targets muscles that running might not, can improve strength and are generally lower-impact than running. Cross-training can help improve your fitness and running performance and reduce the risk of injury. Of course, runners must run but that doesn’t mean that other exercise modalities should fall to the wayside. Consider swapping one or two runs a week for an alternative type of exercise.
The next time you set out for a longer run, try out some of these tips and leave your boredom at home. You’ll be an endurance pro in no time!