Hitting trails and city streets in search of some exercise is a great way to stay fit, lose weight, and feel great, but running day in and day out can quickly become mundane. If you're bored, you're going to start finding excuses not to run.
What can you do to alleviate boredom when you hit the road? Here are some running hacks to combat boredom and keep you on track.
Watching the same old scenery go by can get boring over time. Instead of retracing your steps day in and day out, add some variety to your routine by trying a new route. If you always run through your neighborhood, go to another area of the city or try out some local wilderness running trails instead. New settings can really spice up a fitness routine that includes frequent running.
Whether you run on level asphalt, hilly streets, or uneven trails, your body will eventually adapt when you run on the same terrain for a while. If you're not being challenged, you're likely to get bored. Try varying the terrain with hills, trails, stairs, or other elements underfoot to increase your awareness and challenge your body and mind in new ways.
Most runners settle into a comfortable pace pretty quickly, and if you're not careful, you'll end up stuck in a rut, so to speak. If you want to make your exercise fly by, adding speed challenges not only gets you moving faster, but helps to break up the time you allot for running, making every workout seem quicker and more enjoyable.
If you took a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach to training, maybe it's time to switch to a structured workout that forces you to focus on what you're doing with timed intervals for different running drills.
When training, motivation can become an issue. While goals like running a five-minute mile or hitting a certain distance are great, they'll only keep you going so long because they are not immediate - you virtually lose nothing (except maybe a bit of pride) by failing to reach these goals.
Every goal becomes more urgent when you have a race coming up because of the importance of performing at an acceptable level. When accomplishing your goals will result in recognition and approval from your peer group (i.e. other runners), you raise the personal stakes for success and boost your motivation and engagement in the process.
Getting there is half the fun, or so the saying goes. The other half is what you find when you arrive. Think about planning runs so that you reach a certain destination, like a landmark. This is a little cliché, but you could plan to hit the top of the Art Museum Steps in Philadelphia at the end of your jog and take a celebratory selfie a la Rocky Balboa, just for example.
It takes a long time to cultivate a playlist that varies your BPM to increase and decrease your jogging pace to perfection. If you've been stuck on the same progression of songs for a while now, it's time to revisit your iTunes account and create a couple of new playlists to mix it up.
Some runners enjoy solitary running as it provides time to meditate, ponder the existential questions of life, the universe, and everything, or, you know, plan your meals for the week. However, if you find you're getting bored, you might want to think about joining a local running club or making a date with a running buddy once or twice a week to vary your routine and add socializing to the menu.
It's easy to get complacent when you've been practicing an activity for a time. As a result, you may not pay a lot of attention to what you're doing. Instead of zoning out when you run, try focusing on your form, different body parts, or movements throughout. This may be easier when you add new terrain or speed drills that challenge your body.
Cross training is a great way to re-engage with your running routine, so think about introducing training for a triathlon or simply adding walking lunges, push-ups, sit-ups, or other exercises to your run at intervals.