When motivation is low or our running feels flat and uninspired, it's time to change things up and infuse some more fun into our routine. Check out these boredom-busting ideas to up the fun factor on your next run.
Bring a Buddy2 of 10
Some mornings it's a tough choice between that snooze button and those 5 miles on your schedule. Meeting up with a friend for a run can give you that extra push to hop out of bed. Being able to talk and laugh while the miles fly by can mean the difference between a run you are dreading and one you are looking forward to. Plus, knowing you've got someone counting on you to show up helps squash that urge to skip.
Run a New Route3 of 10
Variety is the spice of life and that holds true in running as well. To be a well-rounded runner you need all kinds of runs: long runs, slow recovery runs, speed runs and fun runs. Running a brand new route is a great way to shake things up and add some fun into the mix. Check Strava Heat Maps or USATF's map database and see if you can find a new route near you to try. The variety of running someplace different can give you something new to focus on and take your run from dull to delightful.
Beat Yesterday4 of 10
What's better than a PR? Nothing. Challenge yourself to run the same route faster than you did the day before. Many GPS watches allow you to see how you are progressing on a route that you run multiple times over the course of your training, and you can use this data to set a new target time for your standard route. Start your watch and just go for it.
"Run" Errands5 of 10
Have a letter to deliver in the neighborhood? Or need to drop off something a few miles away? Why not have some fun while "running" your errands? I get a big kick out of confusing the poor sales people at my local mechanic when I drop off my car and then run home—only to return on foot when the car is ready! Use those strong runner legs to tackle small errands that you might normally use the car to complete. Just be sure to put your items and cash or cards in a plastic bag so they don't get covered in sweat on the way.
Plan a One-Way Run6 of 10
Spice up your workout by planning a one-way run. Arrange to have a friend drive you to a location and then run home. Or—my favorite—ask a friend or family member to pick you up at a coffee shop a few miles from your home. Run to the coffee shop, and treat yourself and your friend to a post-run treat you can enjoy on the ride home.
Make a New Playlist7 of 10
New tunes can turn a run from tiring to terrific. Making a new up-tempo playlist you are excited to listen to can help give you that extra motivational boost to get out the door. I save my peppiest songs and playlists for those runs where I know I need it the most, and it becomes a treat for me to get to run and listen to the tunes I've picked out.
Embark on a Destination Run8 of 10
One easy way to increase the fun factor of a run is to do it in a brand new city (or country!). Vacation runs can be a blast—it's a wonderful opportunity to explore your destination city on foot. With so many new sights and sounds to take in, the miles will speed by, and you'll have the chance to scout out places you may want to visit later.
Wear New Shoes and Gear9 of 10
A new pair of shoes can make your next run a lot more fun. With some extra spring in your steps you'll feel energized and excited to get out there. A new running top or shorts can have the same effect—putting on new sleek clothes that make you feel good can give you a mental boost while outfitting you for peak performance.
Head For the Woods10 of 10
Trail runners around the globe know that sometimes heading to the woods for a workout can significantly boost your "run happy" factor. Running trails changes the stimulus on our bodies and minds and our run becomes part workout, part wilderness adventure. Not only do the softer surfaces of trails work our lower body differently (challenging the small, stabilizing muscles in new ways), the reduced amount of pounding gives our legs a much-needed break from the solid asphalt we typically run on. The mental break is awesome as well—with no cars to worry about, it's easier to feel immersed in nature and at peace with ourselves.