Whether you’re a serious runner for years, or only a couple of weeks into the sport, it’s only inevitable that the really good days will be punctuated by a few spells of boredom. If your running routine suddenly has you feeling dull and making excuses, it may be time to spice it up with one or all of these clever variations.
Parkour it up: The easiest way to feel like a superhero or a stuntman on your run is to mix it up with a bit of drama. Parkour running refers to crossing whatever’s on your path without breaking your rhythm, so leap over those fences, zigzag around hawkers, climb over sidewalks or swing down a vine—it’ll beat your regular route for sure.
Change your playlist: Music goes a long way in keeping up your spirits, so ditching your old playlist for new will make a difference. Seek out new music from online playlists or apps dedicated to runners or load up on recommended hi-tempo songs from a friend. Alternatively, take a break from music altogether and switch to podcasts– they are very effective at keeping you distracted on a familiar route.
Run with friends: Add some company to your misery with a running buddy. Cement the date with fun post-run plans like a brunch or a movie; it’ll be something to anticipate and you’ll think twice before making excuses. Besides, a little friendly competition will only egg you on further. Then again, you could consider running with your dog; some of that boundless energy is sure to rub off on you.
Discover new trails: Much of the monotony stems from running past the same sights every day, so use the rut to discover new spots in your city or just outside it. Explore beaches, hills, nature reserves, promenades and other natural running spots nearby; local running clubs often have a good directory of places to check out. A fresh terrain will reward you with new distractions, while also developing your coordination and confidence on new ground. You could even consider giving barefoot running a try if the conditions allow it.
Play mind games: Spice up your run through imaginary targets in your mind—such as, going as fast as possible till you cross the next red car, or completing 25 sit ups before the traffic light goes green. Get competitive with a cyclist on the next lane or simply use a walk-run method with every third song on your list. Adding strength routines, stretches and jogging intervals to your runs also help in keeping you recharged through the hour.
Main image: La Trompo