Running is a great cardiovascular activity and can make you feel on top of the world. But what about those runs where you simply can’t go on? Or those mornings you wake up dreading the miles in front of you? We know it can be a hard activity to stick with and this is why we have written this article to tell you a little more about ways you can make running fun so you look forward to your runs every time!
Top Tips For Making Running Fun
A lot of new runners hit the roads and sprint till they can no longer. This is a bad technique and if it hurts, you know you’re going too hard. When you first start running, you need to develop fitness levels and get used to the impact and repetitive motions that running involves.
To do this, try alternating between running and walking and adjust these intervals over the coming weeks. The most important thing is to listen to your body. Once you have logged some continuous runs and feel comfortable with jogging, you could try adding in bursts of speed followed by periods of slower running.
You could maybe run up a hill quickly, then slowly jog back down it, These short, harder efforts will not only better your running, but will also boost heart rate and reduce injury risk.
Listen To Music
Listening to music can encourage movement. Whether upbeat tunes or relaxing and calm melodies are what motivates you, professional runners swear by this technique. Put together a playlist before you set off, or even choose a workout-friendly podcast.
Grab a Running Buddy
Running with a friend can improve your running, as well as make it more fun.
Having a buddy will not only motivate you but catching up whilst getting your miles done is a great multitasking event! Search online for a running buddy or head to your local running store to find some group runs. You might even already know someone!
Rethink Your Route
If you do the same route every single day, chances are you are going to get tired pretty quickly. Try a new park, a new sidewalk, or even run through town. You could try a destination run where you end up at a fun spot such as a coffee shop.
Your favorite coffee could then also be used as extra motivation for the end reward. If you do this, make sure you know how you’re going to get back home in the end.
Notice the Beauty
If you are running through lakes or the forest, focus on these beautiful surroundings, instead of how tired your legs might feel. Notice the smaller things in life, like a child riding a bike or your favorite breed of dog or a small robin on a branch nearby.
This can help your run go faster and inspire you to keep going. You could extend this by writing down what you are grateful for like your family, how energized you were this morning, or even how close you live to a beautiful running path. Put these in your water bottle and pull them out whenever you need motivation.
You will get a sense of gratitude and stay grounded and motivated as you log your miles.
Focus and Train Your Mind
Tuning into your run can make a huge difference. Making sure you are focused on the activity and you are putting your all into it can help you enjoy it more and motivate you to work harder.
We recommend spending the first few days of your run doing a full scan of your body and mind and the world around you. You need to recognize how your feet are hitting the ground, the sounds of birds and trees, and be fully aware of your surroundings.
If your mind wanders, bring it back to the moment and focus on your environment again. Your mind is powerful enough to boost enjoyment, so make sure you focus on this.
Make Your Run Meaningful
When you run, you should always have a target in mind. Whether this is finishing your long run, completing a 5K, or simply improving your last time. You need to realize and evaluate how much this goal means to you before setting off.
You can also dedicate your miles to someone special who can no longer run, or run to raise money for a charity, or even pace a friend in an event that’s meaningful to them. Making the run bigger than yourself can bring back the enjoyment you had when your first started running.
Re-Frame Your Self-Talk Purpose
When you decide to run, this is a conscious choice, unlike the mundane jobs you have to do throughout the year like seeing the doctor or picking your kids up from school, you are actively deciding to improve health, well-being, and overall fitness. Focus on these benefits and it should make running more enjoyable.
Remember how good you felt at the end of that last run? Think back to that memory and remind yourself this is what you are going to feel like again at the end of the next run. This can be enough motivation to get you going again.
If you’re bored of road running and want to switch things up completely, why not try trail running? This can bring back enjoyment and introduce a new element into your training plan. It can open up a whole new world beyond the paved surfaces of cities and can get you to the off-beaten path.
If you want to start trail running, here are our favorite tips.
Find a trail Near You
Choose a short, easy trail that is relatively flat and close by. As you get stronger, you can try more adventurous trails and more technical terrains, but always start light.
Find the Perfect Trail Running Shoes
Road shoes should work when it comes to short trail runs, but if you keep up with trail running, you’re going to need regular trail running shoes to help protect your feet on such uneven terrain.
Get the Gear
You not only need to find the perfect trail running shoes, but you will also need basic equipment ranging from clothing, insect repellent, gaiters, and a headlamp or flashlight, especially if you are running in the dark. This will help your run go smoothly and keep you safe.
As with all running, you need to start slow. The same distance you run on the roads is going to take a lot longer and a lot more endurance to complete on the trail. You should expect to run around 10-20 percent slower on trails and instead of focusing on pace like you would with road running, focus on rhythm.
Once you have mastered these basics, you can dive deeper into the world of trail running from learning proper forms such as stride length and breathing to trail running safety for longer runs.
Always take a cell phone, a map, water and be visible at all times. We also recommend you run with a buddy if you’re going off the beaten track into the forest
We hope by reading this article you have learned more about how to make running fun and how to bring back that enjoyment and thrill you once felt when you first started running.
If you have tried all the tips in this article, but you still find running is becoming a chore, why not switch it up and try some trail running! Be sure to start with an easy route and start slowly, and you could be on your way to your new favorite way to log your miles. Happy running!