How to Make Running More Fun
Running is most often described as a love-hate relationship. Pushing your body is not going to be pleasant, and yet most of the time, running can make you feel amazing. As with any relationship, feelings can ebb and flow. Every now and then the “same old, same old” can get a little stale, or you can feel like you are stuck in a rut, and perhaps, you need a little extra oomph to get out the door for your run. Here are some ways you can add a little fun to your run when you need it!
Have a Purpose
Often when runners are not training for a specific goal they fall into a mental slump. Post marathon blues, training group breaks and a lull in race season can make any runner feel a little ho-hum. A lot of runners need the focus and goal of a race to help them feel like their runs mean something. Next time you are in a slump, think outside of the box. Is there something you can do on the run that will benefit others or your neighborhood?
You could take one small plastic grocery bag with you and spend a portion of your run stopping when you see trash to pick it up. Depending on the route and its condition, you might stop just a few times or a lot. It’s important to make sure you get your run in but 20 minutes of stop and go on an hour run won’t do any harm.
Some runners raise money via charity race. However, you could do it a bit different and go out on your own and set up a small Kickstarter page for a local charity you want to support. Maybe you know of any lower-income school that could use some Track & Field or Cross Country equipment. Set up the donations so that each mile you run during a set time period you ask for a small donation.
Maybe neither of those ideas are your cup of tea. There are plenty of other ways you can help. Here’s a few more ideas:
- Take a neighbor’s dog for a run
- Check on neighbor’s houses that are out of town
- Ket some of the neighbor kiddos race you on their bikes (you’ll really get a workout)
- Literally, run errands
Leave the Watch at Home
If you are tough on yourself and live by your watch, it might be time to leave it at home. Even one run without your watch could change your mindset. Go out and run to run. Feel your pace and mileage instead of watching it on your watch. Pay attention to the scenery around you instead of how fast you are zooming past it.
Constantly striving to be your best or your version of perfection can rob you of the joy of running. Everyone has goals, but it’s equally important to remind yourself why it is you run in the first place. Taking your watch off can be freeing and could make for one of the best runs you’ve had all year. It’s you and the road. No electronic device dictating whether it’s a good run or a bad run.
Plan Something After
Even running with a group or the same running buddy can get boring. A little something extra to look forward to can go a long way. Pick a morning that everyone has time for breakfast or 10 minutes for coffee post run. You don’t even have to go anywhere. One person can pack muffins and another can bring a thermos of coffee. If you run in the evening, sitting down for a beer or possibly dinner once a week after a tough workout could really be the motivation you need to hit those hills after a long day at the office when all you really want to do is go home.
Running alone? You can still treat yourself with something as simple as a cup of coffee. Enticing yourself to do something “extra” after will make your run seem a little more fun with a reward at the end.
Wear Clothes and Shoes You Actually Like
Runners have three sets of running clothes: ones they loathe, ones they like and wear constantly and the ones that make them feel like they are invincible and that they save for special races. Ditch the clothes you don’t like. It doesn’t matter how much you paid for them or if they are considered “the best”. If your running gear doesn’t change your attitude and make you feel good the second you put it on, you need to get some new gear.
Not only is feeling prepared ideal, but you need to feel like the best, strongest version of yourself when you put on your running clothes. Buy the cool looking running sunglasses. Friends making fun of the bright colored shoes you like to sport? Who cares? You know it looks rad. Having fun with your attire is going to translate to your run. If you feel and look good you will run well and enjoy it more than if you run in a pair of baggy black sweats and a faded concert tee from high school.
There are plenty of small things you can do to make your run a little more fun. Update your playlist. Change your routes. But sometimes, it’s more about adjusting your mindset. Talking to other runners and simply announcing your ho-hum feelings can also help you move past them. The good news is that any slump or feelings of boredom towards running usually goes away quite quickly.