“Most important advice: just lace up your shoes, and get out the door. After that, it’s cake.”
~ Leo Babauta, Zen HabitsRunning can prove to be great exercise and a fantastic way to relieve stress. If you find yourself becoming bored with it, however, below are some ways to find your way back to enjoying it again.
Listen to music. Take your MP3 player or other portable music device and use it with headphones while running. Listen to some of your favorite, upbeat music to help keep you going while taking your mind off of your heavy breathing and how much farther you have to go.
2 Switch it up.
Run in different locations. Don’t always run around one track, your neighborhood, or on a treadmill. Having a change in scenery can be refreshing and enjoyable, and may allow you to be slightly distracted from running, which will let you forget you’re tired. You may want to scope suitable areas out beforehand, just to be on the safe side.
- Try different running techniques, such as changing speed, running up and down hills, long runs, tempo running, cross country running, etc.
- Give barefoot running a go and see if you enjoy the change. Make sure to find soft areas to run on.
3 Don’t run too hard. While it can be good to push yourself, know your limits and don’t go past them. Keep your pace at a good speed, and don’t go too far or too long. Repeatedly killing yourself will cause running to become something that you dread rather than something you enjoy.
- Avoid competitive running when you’re just in it for fun and fitness. Who are you really trying to beat?!
- Put away the stopwatch. Learn to judge your pace by how it feels rather than by what the stopwatch is telling you.
4 Use mental training skills to overcome your mind-speak that suggests you stop.
- Rehearse yourself through your motivation problem by stating the desired outcome (running half an hour every day); detailing the challenges that your mind keeps coming up with (feeling too tired, worried about unmade dinner, feeling sore, etc.) breaking the challenges up into a series of actions to let you break through the mental barriers.
- Rehearse running over and over in your mind to bring into line with the way that you act and think. End up by focusing on the good feelings that arise at the end of each running session.
- Running can be a good time to think about yourself. Try to focus in on certain parts of your life. Tune in to your emotions, besides tiredness. Running can be a good method of meditation and self-discovery.
- Reward yourself. It’s a good idea to treat yourself after a run, to give you something additional to look forward besides the high from exercise. It might be a coffee at a favorite local cafe, or a special show you’d like to watch. Keep it simple and enjoyable.
5 Stretch. Several of the most common injuries that hinder runners can be prevented by stretching and exercises to increase muscle balance. Illio-Tibial (IT) Band syndrome, Patello-Femoral syndrome, and shin splints are all caused by such imbalances in strength and flexibility between different muscle groups. Prevention is possible with proper stretching and simple strength training exercises.
6 Run properly. On the same note, use good running form. Technique can make the difference between a miserable and an exhilarating running session. Advice and feedback from experienced runners is always helpful, and running clubs exist for all levels of runners. Make sure you have proper running shoes, too. Anything that makes running more comfortable is likely to make it more enjoyable. Different people have different needs for support, impact cushioning, etc. Many shops that specialize in running shoes can offer advice on a shoe that will best complement your body and gait.
7 Run with friends. Having other people around can help the workouts go by faster, makes it more fun, and will provide accountability to ensure you are keeping up with your workouts.
If none of your friends are runners, find a group of people to run with. Check out local stores that specialize in running gear and advice. They will often organize running groups that you can join.
- Take your dog running with you. A canine pal can be an enormous source of motivation, with the added benefit that both of you get much needed exercise.
8 Have rest periods. Another important means for ensuring that you continue to enjoy your running experience is to build in adequate rest periods, to give your running muscles a break. If you are a sporty person, intersperse your running with swimming, bike riding, etc., to shake up the routine but stay consistent with the days that you run. This gives your running muscles a break and helps to keep running an enjoyable activity for you.
9 Learn to listen to yourself. Know the difference between the usual run-of-the-mill aches and pains that you can push past and real injuries that need attention. Eat well, and sleep well. If you’re having a day where your emotional self is really out of whack, think about whether or not a run will clear your mind or just make things worse. Get the balance right, and you’ll continue to enjoy running.