“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 mapmyrun.com 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.