Do you dread the thought of going for a run? Or maybe your runs are just being done out of obligation. If this describes your running routine, then it is possible that you need to spice up your runs a little. If you do anything the same way each time, the fact is you will become bored with it over time. Consider making some changes, and mixing things up a bit. You will be surprised how making a few of the changes listed here really will make your running more interesting and fun.
* Find a New Running Route. Some of these routes may start from your house, while other routines may require driving to a park or a trail to run. I know it takes more time to get in the car and drive to a new running route. But, it will be worth the benefit of seeing new things while you run.
* Run at Different Times of the Day. Do you always run in the morning, or are you an evening runner? Try to flip-flop when you run. You may only be able to change the time you run once a week or so due to your schedule, but it will be worth it to try. I like to run first thing in the morning, because I know I will get it done if I do it first. But, sometimes I run at lunch or in the evening as well to break it up a bit.
* Vary your Run Length and Intensity – Throughout the week, it is important to run varying distances and intensities. This is important for your body to recover, but it also makes the week more interesting. You should not run at a high intensity or distance two days in a row. Instead, run a hard day followed by an easy day or rest day. If you ran an exceptional distance or intensity, you need to give yourself two easy days. If you run four days a week, then perhaps your routine will include a short run, two medium runs, a long run, and a run with some fast running workouts.
* Find a Partner – If you do not have a running partner to run with once in a while, then you are missing one of the best ways to make running more enjoyable. Run with your friends on your easy days or on your long distance runs. And, it is okay to talk while you are running. In fact, your easy runs and your long runs should be run at a ‘conversational pace’ anyway. Just make sure that your partner runs at about the same pace as you do. You do not want to turn this into a competition. You are just trying to build up your running endurance and base. Save the competition for the race day!
* Add a Running Workout. If you have not been including some speed or hill workouts, then you are missing an aspect of running that I think is truly exhilarating. Running workouts and running training, such as speed-work and hill workouts are used to improve your running times, by improving your aerobic capacity, muscle strength, form, and your fast twitch muscles. I will be talking more about running workouts here, but for now, you may want to try out the running workout that is known as a Fartlek. I am not sure where the name comes from, and no I did not make it up. But, the idea of a Fartlek it to add some fast paced stretches of running to a regular short or medium length run. The fast stretches may be a few hundred yards up to a half mile. And the fast stretches could be pre-planned or they can be done spontaneously.
* Cross train - If you are just completely burned out of running altogether, or if you just want to change out one or two days a week for another exercise, then go ahead. If you are training for a race, then you will need to maintain a few days a week of running. But if you are just running to lose weight or stay in reasonable shape, then cross training is a great idea. I like to use the elliptical machine once a week to cross train. I also recently discussed how I used the P90X program for cross-training.
* Set Some Running Goals - I recently discussed how having goals can be a great way to stay motivated and improve you running. However, having goals can keep you running more interesting as well. Signing up for a race, being able to run longer distances, and losing a few pound share all goals that will make running more enjoyable for you.
* Run on a Treadmill - The idea of running on a treadmill may not seem like a monotony buster at first. But, for someone who always runs outdoors in the heat or cold, running indoors with the air conditioning for a change might actually be fun. There are advantages to running on a treadmill, too. You can watch television while you run, you can do it anytime of day or night. For those that are taking care of children, the treadmill allows you to be close to the kiddos while you are logging a few miles.
* Music (Or No Music) - But if you are running in a location where running with headphones is safe, then it can be a good way to make your runs more enjoyable, and can help the time go by quicker. I personally like to listen to podcasts while I run, but also listen to music sometimes as well. But, if you always run with headphones, then you should also break up the monotony by running without headphones. Take a while to run without the distractions of life, and enjoy the world around you. Use the time to think about your life, your goals, or your problems.
Select one of the ideas to spice up your running routine, and apply it this week.
What do you think?
Which of the ideas do you think is the best to spice up your running routine? Do you have another way to make a running routine more interesting? Please do leave a comment, and let me know how you have ‘spiced up’ your runs!