As with any type of workout, running can eventually become humdrum, making a once-invigorating activity feel like a drag. The same route, the same pace, the same time, etcetera… and pretty soon there’s nothing exhilarating left to the exercise you used to love.
But there are plenty of ways to pull ourselves out of this running rut and put the joy back into the jog. By switching things up, finding new motivation, and looking at this excellent exercise in a different way, we can breathe new life into a running regimen that’s gone stale.
Below are 7 tips recommended by regular runners to rejuvenate your run:
1. Blaze a New Trail—
Most runners have a set route because they’ve measured the distance and know it meets the requirements for adequate exercise or caloric burn.
But what if you stop thinking about running as your daily workout, and remember the excitement you felt when you first discovered the path you now know by heart? Wasn’t it exciting to see the sights for the first time?
You can have that again simply by changing to a different route, or even switching to trail running if you’re usually a city-slicker. Consider a new neighborhood, or even mixing it up by driving to a nature trail and running on a non-cement (and more knee-friendly) dirt or grass surface.
2. Howdy, Partner—
If you’ve always been a lone runner, joining a running club can open up your social circle, help motivate with group accountability, and spice up the exercise experience with interesting conversations.
Running clubs are a great way to make friends with healthy, like-minded people who might also be able to teach you about new areas or trails you hadn’t yet heard about in your area.
3. The End of the Rainbow—
Speaking of socializing, many pals find that running with a specific destination in mind at the end of the run, such as brunch, lunch or an afternoon cocktail/coffee break can majorly motivate both parties to propel toward the prize.
To try this, pick an informal meeting place, such as a restaurant or bar located midway between you and your friend, and set a time to meet for a treat.
By ending running time with entertainment, food or libations, you can create a positive association that makes you look forward to the entire exercise—and eliminate guilt over the calories consumed once you get there.
4. The Early Bird Catches the Motivation—
Studies have shown that exercising early can help the brain perform better and increase energy for the rest of the day.
Many find that something about getting the blood circulating and the whole system up and running seems to set the pace for high productivity.
If you’re a night owl, try getting to bed early on the night before your next run, wake up with the sun, and see how it feels to be an early bird. You may be pleasantly surprised by the extra energy you experience.
5. Make It Musical—
If you run in silence, consider adding music to your routine. Music can inspire us and brighten our day with lyrics that encourage, and melodies that enhance the exercise experience with aural energy.
Consider making a special playlist of songs that push you or challenge you, make you remember how strong you are, or simply choose tunes with a good beat to keep your pace moving steadily forward.
More of an NPR in the car kind of person? Listen to interesting podcasts or audio books while you move it.
6. Set a Schedule—
If running is something you half-heartedly do when you can squeak it into your week, consider upping the ante and putting on the books.
By setting up appointments in your daily planner for your run, you will elevate it to a new status in your life which can give it a feeling of importance that may motivate you to stick with it or enjoy it more. Because now you’re not just an occasional runner: you’re the real deal.
7. Be a Running Writer—
If you’re having trouble getting into your runs, keeping a diary or journal to record your distance and times can give you a tangible way to track your progress and feel good about it.
Starting a blog is another way to talk about running and reach out to other runners who may be experiencing the same blahs you’re going through. Sometimes knowing you’re not the only one feeling a certain way can get you through a rough patch.
No matter how bored you’ve become with your running routine, don’t give up. It’s normal to occasionally lose interest in an exercise regimen, but if you hang in there and use some of the motivational tips listed above, you can definitely put the fun back into your run!