Are you sticking to your running routine but not enjoying yourself as much as you used to? Do you sometimes get bored with your runs? Are you struggling to motivate yourself out the door? Like most runners, your answer is probably yes to some or all of these questions, if not now, then at some point in your running journey. So today I’m discussing seven different approaches that may help to spice up your runs so you feel happier on the road again!
1 – Ditch Your Neighbourhood. Running around your neighbourhood is easy and convenient. I’ve discovered many loops within my neighbourhood and there are many days I like the familiarity of them. But let’s face it – week after week of the same routes can get boring. So my first approach to beating the boredom is simple – run some place different! This is usually possible for me over the weekends when it’s more practical to venture further afield and I love it! Sometimes it involves a long run starting at my house and heading to different parts of Gaborone but other times I drive to another part of town and set off from there. If you’re in Gaborone, these previous posts may offer some fresh ideas – here, here and here!
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, I’d also recommend running in another village or town for that added excitement. Although Gaborone’s air quality is probably better than most cities, by virtue of it being a city, it comes with a lot more car exhaust, road intersections and people. Running outside the city always feels refreshing with lots of different sights and sounds.
2 – Change Up Your Runs. Running the same distance at the same pace will usually become monotonous after a while. So something I’ve learnt from the two coaches I’ve had as well as several blogs I’ve read is the importance of scheduling different runs. These runs can vary in speed, distance and type, for example, a fartlek, interval training, tempo runs and easy runs. A trip to the stadium for some track and stair work combinations can be quite exciting too.
And then there’s hill work – tough on the lungs but often good for the soul and those glutes!
3 – Slap On Some Lipstick. Some people may roll their eyes at this! But let me explain! There are days when running is the last thing I want to do but putting on a bright colour, my favourite tights, and yes, even lipstick, can make a huge difference. I’ve told you this story before, but when I started running, I felt self-conscious running outdoors and found that the more drab my clothes were, the more unworthy I felt. As soon as I started having fun with my wardrobe, I felt I owned the road. It is still one of my secrets for feeling like champion even as I move in slow mo’!
4 – Hunt For Treasure. Some of you may remember an interview I did with my friend Zurika a few months ago – the crazy girl who ran 10km a day for 40 consecutive days to celebrate her 40th Birthday! Well, one of her tricks was to look for art all over town – sometimes she found it in visible places but other times it was hidden in little nooks and crannies around town. I love hunting for art too and on Valentine’s Day I found this little gem I hadn’t spotted before.
I also like looking at different architecture, noticing differences between new and old buildings, exploring areas with monuments and running past different places of worship.
Fellow blogger Judy once had a rainbow challenge where she hunted for various colours and I did something similar for my Spring Challenge. You may be interested in different things but whatever it is, a hunt around town can add a new and fun twist to your run.
5 – Run For A Cause. You often see running events advertised to raise money for charities. But it doesn’t have to be anything formal. I’ll give you an example. The 4th of February is World Cancer Day and this year I didn’t feel like running. But knowing it was a special day gave me the extra push to get out. In orange and blue, I set off and under a cloudy sky and light drizzle, I ran with intention for something – to support the fighters, celebrate the survivors, honour the taken and stand with all the hurt families left behind. There are many special days marked throughout the year and observing them can make your runs more intentional and fulfilling.
6 – Bribe Someone To Join You. You knew I couldn’t leave this one out right? I’ve told you before, I’m a talker on the road so running with someone often distracts me from the act of running as we tick off discussion topics instead of kilometres. With the pandemic, many of us are running solo but my husband has been a life saver on many of my long runs. On days where I really need to dig deep, having him there with his favourite talk of ecological restoration, has helped me finish strong, happy and more informed of environmental affairs! LOL!
7 – What About A Biathlon? Hear me out! Combining running with another activity is a great way to stop the boredom. Many people around Gaborone have started combining running with cycling in the same session, basically a self-made biathlon. Throw in swimming and you have your own triathlon! But it doesn’t even have to be that intense. During the week you could add lifting, boxing, pilates, cycling and yoga, etc. to your routine. For those not into other fitness activities, one thing I’ve done over the last few months is alternate my longs runs between road and trail. Hitting the trails every other week has been an amazing way to zhuzh up my runs! .
As much as running can be fun and enjoyable, it’s also easy to lose your mojo now and again. That’s where changing things up goes a long way in keeping you in the game. So if you’ve been feeling bored lately or you’ve hit a slump, you’re not alone. Try some of these strategies and let me know how it goes. Here is to better, happier and more fulfilling running!
Do you sometimes get bored of your runs? What approaches do you use to spice things up? Did you know “zhuzh” is actually in the dictionary?
I’m joining Kooky Runner and Zenaida on their link up, Tuesday Topics. I’m also joining the Runner’s Roundup with Mile By Mile, Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Runs with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running! Be sure to read their blogs and catch up with other runners from around the world.