Growing up, running has always been a form of punishment during physical education class, and because of that, I always found it boring and hated it. However, it started growing on me during my stay in Melbourne, and I found myself liking it more the more I ran. I love how it makes me feel free like a bird; how it gives me confidence; how it makes me believe that I can conquer every challenge and how it leaves me feeling high-spirited after (almost) every run.
As much as I have grown to love running over the past 9 months, I have to admit that it is not the most interesting sport around. In fact, over the past few weeks, there were some occasions when I was bored of running. A few weeks back, when I started to run longer distances, I found myself getting bored of the repetitive loop. I did not look forward to my runs, and ended cutting back on my mileage. My lackluster attitude frustrated me, and I started looking for new ways to make my runs more interesting.
How to Make Running Fun & Interesting
These are some of the ways that I have been using to motivate myself, and make running a lot more fun and interesting.
Keeping an online log
Keeping a training log, and reviewing my performance certainly keeps me motivated. I learned about the Daily Mile a few weeks back, and I think it’s a pretty cool website - it’s the perfect way to keep track of one’s training progress. It’s like a Facebook for runners, cyclists and athletes alike – you get to share your workout, running route, and events. It’s a fun way to know like minded individuals too! What I really like about this site is that they plot graphs for your weekly performance. I am a very visual person, so looking at a visual representation of my training record over the weeks gives me a sense of satisfaction.
Run with new music
A good playlist always gets me pumped up for my runs. It gets even better when variety is built in. I like having new songs to listen to when I go for my runs because it makes my runs more interesting. Lately, I have been using Podrunner.com for my workout mixes. New mixes are uploaded on a weekly basis, so you can look forward to a new “companion” every week.
Be social and run with a friend
I have learnt that running does not have to be a solitary activity. I have made it a point to get my friend, Jonathan, to join me in some of my runs, and this has made my runs more enjoyable. Time certainly passes faster when I run with a friend, because we get to chat during our runs together.
Explore new routes
Doing the same loop over and over again can be the most boring activity in the world. I enjoyed my run a lot more when I try out new routes. I try to run to somewhere different on my longer runs, and make my longer runs feel like an adventure. Ever since I started venturing out, and trying new routes, my sense of direction has improved. I find Gmaps Pedometer to be particularly useful for planning out routes. Who says girls need to have a bad sense of direction?
Reward yourself at the end of the run
I always look forward to a my little reward after my run. Sometimes, I’d reward myself with a square of dark chocolate. Other times, I will look forward to having a nice breakfast at my favourite cafe. This often acts as an incentive to run faster.
Cross train or do something different
There was a week when I ran almost every day. After that week, I got so sick and tired of running. I have since learnt to add variety to my training schedule. I try to run about 4 times a week, and do other activities on my non-running days. I like yoga, cycling, body combat and body pump. I find myself enjoying each run more when I vary my routine. It is also important to listen to your body, and give it ample rest.
Some days may be harder than others, but even when the run is tough, it is important to have fun. Enjoy each step that you take, and rejoice because you can run!