8 Ways to Make Running Less BoringNov 12, 2021
So why don’t you see more people out for a morning or midday run? Boredom may play into it.
“Whether you’re new to running or a seasoned veteran, there comes a time for every runner when the novelty wears off, the routine turns into a chore, and motivation takes a hit,” says Jack McNamara, MSc, CSCS, of TRAINFITNESS, who has specialized in coaching running for nearly a decade.
This happens to just about every runner at some point — and it doesn’t mean you’re bad at running or should choose another exercise.
If you’re wondering how to make running less boring, these strategies can keep you engaged and relight that fire for pounding the pavement.
1. Get Off the Treadmill
“When we run outside, there are natural starts, stops, ups, and downs,” McNamara says. “The environment naturally forces us to alter our speed and even our stride.”
All that variety adds up to more distraction, which may make for a more enjoyable run than heading to the treadmill again.
2. Find a Running Buddy
A running buddy can make it easier for you to show up — and can make the miles feel less tedious.
Choose the right person, and you may even improve your mile time. “Researchers have found that pairing up with a faster runner (or even just someone we perceive to be slightly faster than us) forces us to get out of our comfort zone,” McNamara explains. “The increased intensity, as well as a competitive edge, not only helps to keep things more interesting — it’ll also help make you a faster runner.”
But even experienced runners have some challenging runs, and that’s also where a buddy comes in. With a running partner, you have someone there to cheer for you and support you through the tough pushes (just make sure you do the same for them).
3. Take a Running Class
Having a runner partner is great “until they go on holiday, get injured, or work and family commitments take precedence,” McNamara cautions.
So even if you have a running buddy, you may want to look into Openfit LIVE running and walking classes.
“You’ll know there’ll always be someone there to help you through when your motivation starts to wane,” McNamara says.
And for those wanting to speed up their pace, “the competitive spirit of a running group can encourage you to push a little bit further and harder than you’d do when you go solo,” he adds.
4. Enlist a Coach
Coaches provide a wide variety of workouts, which can help you make more progress. “You’ll change your paces, inclines, and training zones repeatedly, all of which will challenge you physically and mentally,” McNamara says.
They can also help you improve your running form and hold you accountable to your training plan. “When you prepare your own plans, you’re also more likely to ignore them,” McNamara adds.
5. Try Fartlek Training
“Variety is the spice of life,” McNamara says, adding that feeling bored or unmotivated shouldn’t surprise you if your long runs have become repetitive.
One way to mix things up — and improve your endurance or speed — is to try fartlek training, which originates from the Swedish term for “speed play.”
Although this type of training can be structured, it can also be as simple as changing up your speed while running. To try it, just pick a landmark and speed up your run until you get there. As soon as you pass the landmark, return to a comfortable speed. Do this several times throughout your run.
As you get used to fartlek training, you can play with how you apply it. If you’re entering a race, try doing pace work for the time you’d like to hit during the competition during the fartlek intervals. Try sprinting some intervals if you feel up to it.
6. Reverse Your Route
Yes, it’s easy to track how long your runs are when you always travel the same route. But it’s also a recipe for boredom since you see the same scenery each time.
You don’t have to map out an entirely new course to keep your mind engaged, though. Try running your same route — but reversed — next time you lace up your shoes.
7. Watch Your Favorite TV Show
No choice but to get your run done on the treadmill? “Plan your treadmill sessions while you watch your favorite show,” McNamara suggests. Getting caught up in the plot is a much better way to pass the time than watching the seconds tick by.
8. Go for Distance, Not Time
Setting a distance goal can help you feel more in control of your run, because you can vary your intensity rather than knowing you’re not done until the clock says so.
“If we want to get it all over and done with, we have the option to push ourselves and run faster,” McNamara says.