You’re bored when you run?
Good news! That means that running doesn’t take the entirety of your mental capacity anymore. Now the question is, can you stick with it when it’s not novel or exciting?
16 Boredom Busters for Running
1. First off, do you have a goal in mind?
Running is a sort of monotonous action, one foot in front of the other and repeat. It helps if you’re actually going somewhere. Have a goal.
Figure out what you want — do you want to run a 5K? Do you want to run more consistently? Then, peg that down in concrete terms. What does “be more consistent” mean? Does that mean 3 days a week for any amount of time? Does that mean 12 miles a week, no matter how many runs it takes? 3 runs of 3 miles for 9 weeks?
It’s amazing how your brain perks up when it actually knows what you’re trying to accomplish out there.
Ok, so you have a goal, but you’re still bored…
Maybe you need to shake things up.
2. Measure differently
Do you always measure by miles? Try measuring by time. Do you run X times a week? See how long you can run every other without breaking the chain. Make days for fast & short runs and long & slow runs.
3. New race, goal, or distance
Perhaps your goal isn’t exciting you, and you need to rethink it. Perhaps your goal is a long way away — and coming up with a “half goal” would help.
If you run big races, try a small one. If you run small races, try a big one.
Try a novelty race like a Color Run or Bubble Run.
4. New setting
Try a different time of day, place, or route. Always run a loop? Try an out and back. Always take a right at that corner? Try a left.
Run on a trail, up a mountain. Run a trail race. Run in a mud run.
5. New friends
Find a running group and run once a week with them. Find a friend runner or someone who wants to try running, and go out with them.
6. Different workout
Try a different workout. Try a tempo run or farklets. Try some circuit training and do push ups, planks, or lunges in between periods of running.
Add in swimming, yoga, or walking to your workout routine.
7. Audio pleasure
Consider a reward
8. New gear
This works well with measuring differently. After 30 runs, you can buy a new pair of running shorts or some socks with super-hero capes.
9. A race entry
Treat yourself to a race entry when you “shouldn’t really buy more race entries”.
10. The piggy bank
Deposit $1 or $2 into a jar or into an account after every run to treat yourself later.
11. The food reward
I avoid food rewards, because I tend to over-reward and lose sight that food is fuel and nourishment for my body. But if an ice cream sundae on Sundays after a week of good running is what works for you, then by all means!
Change your internal response
12. Know that boredom comes and goes
Those who have run consistently for years know that boredom is natural. It comes and it goes. It doesn’t have to be the downfall of your running career. You can change your stimulus to decrease boredom, or you can change your internal reaction to boredom.
13. Don’t let feelings dictate your runs
Don’t ask yourself, “do I feel like running today?”, but “when am I running today?”. Boredom and other de-motivating factors lessen their hold when you remove “option” from the equation.
14. Level UP
Use the time while you’re bored to contemplate something you’re avoiding thinking about. Change your life by considering options that you don’t have talent for and that would require hard work. (Is it possible? Yes, just remember how it was when you started running.)
15. Remember gratitude
Have you ever been injured and saddened by the fact that you couldn’t run? Have you ever been forced to miss running? Remember those times and remember that part of the reason you run, is because you can. Be thankful for that.
16. Take a break
In severe cases, you can take a break from running. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this to someone who’s running habit is still tentative, but for some, taking a break with a scheduled start and finish can help with perspective. And sometimes, taking a break “until you miss running” can be a way, too.
Running is YOUR time. Shake things up if needed, reward sporadically, and get things done.