“Running is boring.”
“Ugh, I have to go running after work!”.
“I really don’t want to go running today.”
“I should take a day off from running, but I’ll go anyway.” Etc.
If you’re a runner, chances are you’re no stranger to the above statements.
Take it from someone who knows. I’ve been a runner for a very long time, and there come these times where I feel like running is the last thing I’d want to do.
Before we proceed, let me tell you a little bit about myself.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog (you are, right?), then you already know that running is a favorite form of exercise.
I’d wager that if you don’t know me, you most likely know someone like me. Running is our favorite topic. We talk ad nauseam about our training and workouts (heck, this whole blog is devoted to the subject). We’ll skimp on sleep to pound the pavement.
I could go on and on, but I think you get it.
But here’s the kicker. I wasn’t always as passionate nor enthusiastic about running as I’m today. I only started falling in love with running once I learned how to make training more fun. That’s where today’s post comes in handy.
7 Ways to Make Running More Fun
Here are a few measures to make running more fun. Apply them to your training program, and you’ll be able to jolt life back to your running routine, and stop it from being, well…routine.
1. Slow Down
Many beginner runners start off at a sprint, but quickly flame out. That’s a big mistake.
Here’s the truth. If you’re going full speed on every and each one of your sessions, then training is going to hurt. Doing so achieves nothing but run your body into the ground, and you don’t want that.
Your musculatory and circulatory systems need time to both build aerobic fitness and adapt to running’s high impact. You cannot skip stages here. You can try, of course, but you’re just going to end up hurting yourself.
So how do you start slow?
What I’d recommend you do is to alternate easy jogging and walking—say a minute of each. That’s what’s known as the walk/run method, and it’s the best way to get fit without getting hurt.
As training progresses, adjust your intervals. Increase the time spent jogging while taking less and less for recovery until you’re running for 30 to 45 minutes a session without panting for air.
Even then, don’t be hard on yourself when it comes to training pace. Instead, run by effort, and stick to a conversational pace. This is the sort of pace in which you can hold a conversation with a training buddy without much huffing puffing.
2. Get A Running App
You can find tons of fun, cheap (often free) running apps that you can download and start using right now to make your runs more fun. Some of these apps not only tracks your runs, but also inspires you with music, provides valuable coaching, keeps you safe, and so on.
Here are some of my favorites:
Couch to 5K. One of the most popular apps in the running world. The C2K app is ideal if you’re looking to go from zero to a true runner. The app guides through three 30-minute sessions per week to get ready for a 5K race within two months.
Zombies, Run! Do you enjoy the idea of being terrorized by brain-eating zombies chasing you? Then you should give this app go. This app turns your running sessions into a game that takes place in the middle of the aftermath of an apocalyptic zombie world. The app provides a series of stories and missions for you to listen to and complete as you run.
Rock My Run. For music lovers, this app is a must. As the name implies, RockMyRun is an app that provides the best workout music so that you can maintain your energy and keep up a rockin’ pace while running.
Runtastic. This is one of my favorites. Runtastic has a more detailed approach to tracking and will record duration, elevation gain, distance, speed, calories burned, etc—Ideal if you’re a running nerd like me.
3. Switch Up Your Routes
One of the things I did was to run the same course over and over. That was a huge blunder. In fact, going for the same loop day after dreary day makes running unbearable.
So what should you do?
Simple. Instead of pounding the same pavement, I strongly urge you to switch up your route and go somewhere you haven’t run before.
Changing your running scenery can do wonders for your mental outlook and training enjoyment. You’ll be so focused on the new setting that you won’t even notice the minutes flying by.
And the options are countless, depending on where you live of course. Seek some local pristine spots. Run on the beach. Head to the park. Tackle a mountainous path. Take to the hills. Get off-road. You get to choose.
4. Get a Friend
I’m not a social person by any means, but what I learned is, having someone to run with usually makes running fun.
Pairing up with a buddy might be just what you need to make your training fun again. Not only doing so holds you accountable to your routine, but it also ensures good company.
So, what are you waiting for?
Ask a friend, a family member, or colleague to join you on your next run.
Just make sure that both of you are on the same about fitness ability and training goals.
Can’t find a partner who’s game to join you? Look them up online or head to your local running store to seek out group runs.
5. Watch TV on the Treadmill
Watching Tv is one of the ideal ways to make treadmill runs more fun. In fact, distraction is key in beating boredom during an indoor workout, especially if I have a longer, easy-paced run on schedule.
I tend to prefer humor shows for short runs and drama or police shows for longer runs. Some of my favorite treadmill shows include The Big Bang Theory, Amy Schmidt, Bojack Horseman, The Blacklist, The Flash, Arrow, etc.
6. Get Music
I’m a big fan of music, and I couldn’t be the kind of a runner I’m today without the impact of the tunes.
My running music depends on my mood. I usually pick different songs for different purposes: high-energy playlist for faster-paced and interval workouts, and a relaxed playlist for my recovery and long runs.
I’m certain you already tried working out with music, but there’s a science to choosing the best playlist. Done right, the proper tunes will have drastic effects on your running performance and training enjoyment.
And I’m not just talking from personal experience. According to research out of the Brunel University in London, subjects who listened to music while exercising were able to run farther, swim faster, and bike longer than usual.
To get the most out of music, look for songs with the right tempo and groove, and you won’t be able to resist moving to the beat.
For that, I recommend playlists organized by BPM (beats per minute). Apps like Tempo Run and RockMyRun are fantastic to help you do that.
To err on the side of caution, when running outside, pay attention to your surroundings by either keeping the volume low or using just one earbud.
7. Try Fartlek
If all the above prove futile, then consider changing your running approach. This is especially the case if you tend to stick to the same training pace day in day out.
To get you started, try fartlek training. Swedish for “speed-play” fartlek training alternates fast running bursts and recovery intervals in a random manner, either for distance or time.
Not only this method makes training more fun, but can also help you practice different paces, add more challenge to your training, and break out from a training rut.
Fartlek training is also the ideal introduction to speedwork training, but without committing too much of your time and effort. It’s ideal as a transition into more formal speed work.
Here’s how to proceed with on next fartlek workout.
After a 10-minute slow jog as a warm-up, pick a stationary object in the distance, whether it’s a tree, a telephone pole, or a house, then run as hard as you can to get there. Once you clear it, slow down and recover.
Next, sight the next target and repeat for 15 to 20 minutes. Once you can’t do anymore, wrap up your session with 5-minute cool-down.
Here you have it.
The above training strategies might all you need to breathe some life back into your running routine. You have to take action and do your best.
What about you? Do you have any other fun building tactics?
I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.
In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.
Keep running strong.