If you run regularly, you’ll probably find that no matter where your route takes you, no two runs are the same. Sometimes the minutes will fly by, other times, the end never seems to get any closer, no matter how hard you push. There’s no doubt that running can be repetitive, and sometimes it’s boredom, rather than tiredness that gets the better of you. But there’s no reason why boredom should stand in the way of your fitness goals. Here are a few tips to beat boredom whilst running.
Adding some music to your run is probably the simplest way to add some variety and motivation, keeping boredom at bay. Bringing along an mp3 player can turn a mundane run into an experience. Choose music that pumps you up and gets you moving- it’s the best way to help keep you putting one foot before the other. If you already listen to music whilst you run and are still struggling to focus, try adding some new music. Afterall, it can be easy to get fed up of the same songs over and over again. For more variety, you can even try listening to the radio. The prospect of new music to listen to can do wonders for keeping you on the tarmac.
As an alternative to music, an audio book can be a great way of keeping your attention and giving you motivation to run. Choose a story that really gets its claws into you and you won’t notice the minutes or even hours slip away as you run. If you find you need motivation to start your run, tell yourself that you’ll only listen to the audio book as a soundtrack to running. It takes self control, but if you’re dying to know what happens next, you won’t be able to keep your running shoes off for long.
Find a partner
Running can be a lonely affair, and all the factors that make you want to stop- tiredness, boredom, self conciousness- can all seem far worse when you’re out on your own. Finding a running partner can be an excellent form of motivation, and if they’re chatty, make a perfect boredom reliever! Turning running into a sociable experience can make it easier, both to start your run in the first place, and to keep pushing onwards when you might otherwise consider stopping. Runners often find that they build close friendships with those they run with- long runs can bring about the kinds of long, random conversations which would never take place in other scenarios.
Make up games
Remember those long car journeys as a child? The ones when you thought you’d never arrive? Running can sometimes remind you of these, leaving you wishing you could cry out “are we nearly there yet?!” Now, remember how you dealt with this kind of back-seat boredom. Making up games, even really silly ones in your head, can be a good way of helping time pass quicker whilst running. Try counting certain types of car, or making up stories about people that you see. Look at houses you run past and try to imagine who lives inside, or make up limericks about the things you see on your run. It doesn’t matter how weird it all is- it’s inside your head so there’s no one there to hear! You can even try incorporating your games into your running style- up your pace for 10 seconds every time you see a yellow car, or pretend cracks in the pavement are lava and avoid them. Who said your inner child can’t come back to help you now and again?
One of the best forms of motivation when running is the element of competition. And the person you’re competing against doesn’t even need to know you’re racing. Keep an eye out for nearby runners and try to race them to certain landmarks. If they’re a long way ahead, see how much distance you can make up in the space of a minute. Racing helps you to vary your pace and add motivation to your run which can stop boredom from setting in. And if you beat your opponent, you have that satisfying winning feeling too. This technique is great both for running outdoors and on a treadmill, just focus on a nearby runner and try to run faster or longer than them.
Count your steps
The mind is your best form of entertainment whilst running, and even the simplest things can help you to prevent boredom. Ditch the pedometer and count your steps yourself. Having a number to gauge your process is a great way to boost your confidence and encourage you to push harder. Incorporate your counting into motivational games- try to guess how many steps if will take you to reach a certain landmark, or predicting which foot will hit a particular point on the pavement first. This doesn’t just keep your brain stimulated whilst running, it also helps you to gain a greater knowledge of your pace and rhythm as you run.
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