10 Easy Ways to Put the Joy Back into Running
Serious runners are renown for not wanting to skip runs. Illness, injuries and time constraints commonly have committed runners climbing the walls in frustration. We just don’t want to sit out for extended periods of time. But, let’s be honest: Even the most passionate runners sometimes find themselves in a running rut. Days where even the best intentions aren’t enough to drag your unwilling self out the door for a run. Fear not, though, because most running ruts are quite simple to get out of. Here are ten easy ways to put the joy back into your running:
Take a break
A continued lack of energy and a feeling of being drained and overly fatigued can be a symptom of overtraining. Are you recovering correctly and adequately between running efforts, giving your body time to rebuild and repair itself? And do you get enough, proper rest? If your honest answer is no, then it’s time to step back and take a break. Be disciplined enough to give your body the rest it needs for as long as is required. You’ll bounce back with renewed vigour and enthusiasm.
Shift your focus
Have you been chasing an elusive new PB for months (or even years) and are you just not able to nail it? Then cut yourself some slack. As a recreational runner, focusing all your attention on the performance aspect of running can drain all the joy right out of it. Instead, try shifting your focus to some of the many other perks of running: Exploring new cities/countries on foot; making new friends; or conquering a new race distance. Discovering some new-to-you joys of running may be just what the doctor ordered to fan that running flame.
Proclaim a year of running fun
Instead of setting yet another list of previously unmet running goals for the new year, why not take an entire year to explore and discover ways in which you can have fun with running? Whether it be costume runs, obstacle course racing, travelling on the run or hitting the trails, find out what floats your boat and do more of it for a whole year. Forget about clocking PBs and reaching milestones – just have fun. And you know what? You might even surprise yourself with some pretty stellar performances in the process.
Invest in new gear
Want an instant spark of inspiration and joy? Then invest in some new running gear. And don’t worry: It needn’t cost you an arm and a leg. Never underestimate the power of a bright and funky pair of new running socks!
Enlist the help of a running buddy
If you’re not overtrained and you simply need a kick in the pants, enlist the help of a running buddy. Because it really is easier to get off the couch when a friend is waiting to run with you. Plus what could be more joyful than catching up with a good friend over a few leisurely kays? Turn one of your weekly runs into an active coffee date – text your buddy now!
Use the power of social media
Gone are the days of running without your own, personal cheerleading squad – even if it means that they’re situated on the other side of the globe. Fellow runners love supporting and cheering each other on, so if you haven’t done so yet, set up a profile and get those virtual high fives rolling in!
Join a running group
Are you slogging away on your own, never having any company on your runs? Although using running as your “me-time” can be highly beneficial (and often essential!), the benefits of joining a running group are also many and varied. From providing motivation and new friendships, to being a source of running tips and info, joining the right running group is sure to benefit you in a host of ways. So why not turn one of your weekly runs into a group run see where it takes you?
Become a parkrunner
Many describe the global parkrun phenomenon as the happiest running community on the planet. And with good reason. Although the running community in general is a very supportive one, parkun takes the concept of running happy to a whole new level. Join thousands of pro runners, budding athletes and shuffling grandmas every Saturday morning for a free, timed running kick – it’s highly addictive!
Enter a bucket list race
Have you always dreamt of running along the streets of Paris? Or through the boroughs of New York? Then this might be the time to take action and make it happen. If it’s within your means, stop dreaming and start planning today. And if it’s not? Then get out a big glass container, write “Running Adventures” on the label and reward yourself with $1 for every run you take. Taking (even very small) action steps towards making your running dreams a reality is powerfully motivating in itself.
Take a step back
And finally, if all else fails, it might be a good idea to take a step back and take a hard and honest look at your love for running. A healthy relationship with running is an extremely positive thing, but an obsession with running that negatively impacts on your own health and the well-being of your family, is not. So seek help and do what is needed to rectify your relationship with running if you fall in the latter category. It’s the right thing to do!