“Doesn’t running get boring?”… I hear this all the time. The simple answer is… Not if you do it right.

Running like a hamster on a treadmill could get boring – I suppose. Running the same three mile loop through the neighborhood may get boring – I suppose. Running alone at night with no external stimuli may get boring – I suppose.

However… I have run on a treadmill (when forced), I have run the same loops over and over again, and I have run alone in the dark without music or amazing views… And I have yet to be bored. If you find running to be boring, might I suggest five things you may want to try to eliminate the possibility of boredom… They have worked for me.

1. Run with a group or at least another person. There are three or four people I run with on a regular basis. Each person is of course unique and the conversations vary from politics to nutrition to current events to random crazy stories to whatever. When you run for an hour or more with a person all sorts of topics come out. Invite a friend to run with you. If one of you is faster allow the faster person to run the cul de sacs as the slower person stays in the main roads. Create a running group and you will always have someone to run with you.

2. Get outside. I have yet to bore someone with an amazing sunrise or sunset or the wildlife and scenery of a trail. Schedule runs around times that offer changes in the weather. If you live by the water try routes that take you over bridges and meander along rivers and streams… Or if you are lucky along oceans. Run in the rain. Run in the cold. Run in the snow. Don’t run in hurricanes.

3. Fartlek. Yes you heard that right. Fartlek is a Swedish word meaning “speed play”. Try doing a five minute fast run and then a one minute jog. The change of pace will keep you alert and on your toes. Try playing speed games with others by racing to the next stop sign. If you are a treadmill runner try doing these by increasing the speed for a few minutes and then lowering it.

4. New routes. Yes get lost. Well no need to really get lost. Use to create fun, safe, challenging routes around where you live. If you enjoy a route, try it backwards. If you want to get really crazy, try creating a drawing with the route you create. My friend Chris created a Rudolph The Reindeer run shaped like… You guessed it… And we ran it. Create loops to avoid out and backs. Collect roads. Explore new part of your town or city. Might I suggest driving routes beforehand if you question the safety the area. Keep a map of your town in your car and highlight the roads you have run.

5. Get competitive…. With yourself… With others. See how fast you can run your neighborhood loop. See how far you can run before breakfast. If you use the Strava app you can race segments and keep track of them versus yourself and others. Log your miles for the week and the month. If you are tracking your run trying better your time the run will go by quickly (literally… Maybe). Run with other who are faster than you. My quickest 5k, 10k, and half marathon were all run as I ran with faster members of my running club.

5.1 Listen to the world around you. Cars. People. Birds. Wind. Water. Your body.

Lone wolf

Running solo doesn’t happen often anymore for me and because I started a running club many think I don’t like to run alone.
They are wrong.
I love the chance to run alone. The chance to hear nothing. To think of nothing and everything. Running alone is pure meditation. The longer the run the longer the meditation. After about six miles I begin to get in the zone, into a feeling of flow and relaxation.
Those who say “I can’t run because I have no one to run with” are wrong should rethink why they run.
Why do you really want to run? If it is for fitness, you don’t need others. If it is for weight loss, you don’t need others. If it is to reduce stress, you don’t need others. If, like me, you run because you truly love to run you don’t need others.
This morning I ran one of my favorite runs… The parking garage. It is a hamster-like route. I basically ran around the outside the perimeter of the garage going up five floor and then down five floors. It was soothing, calming and yet exciting and full of life.
The repetitive looping of the garage clears the mind.
What do I think of? Half of the time nothing. The other half… Family, friends, work, my pace, the view, and the time. One thing I never think of is food which is strange because sometimes my runs are three or four hours long.
My run early in the morning alone are my time to reflect and set goals. This morning I set a few 2015 goals. One is to replace 90% of my liquid intake with water. Another is to focus on invisible training… Meaning training that takes no time away from my family. Two running goals: Run a sub-four marathon. Run across Delmarva. Run a 5k with my boys. Run another 50k. Limit meat intake. Eliminate sugary snacks between meals.
Running is personal…. Go take a solo run and then let’s go run and talk about it together.