Running challenges are a great way to stay motivated, accomplish goals and gain momentum. Whether you’re a beginner runner or seasoned athlete, there is a running challenge for you.
30 Day Running Challenges
- Running streak
- Negative split every run
- Plank after every run
- Set a mile PR
- Run at least 5x/week
- Increase mileage by 10% each week
- Set a 5k PR
- Run on a trail once a week
- Complete every run in the morning
- Run a 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon in one month
Whether you’re setting new goals for yourself or are looking for a way to stay motivated until your next race, a running challenge is a great way to keep your momentum going.
Monthly running challenges and 30 day running challenges set a realistic timeline to accomplish a significant goal without the feeling of overwhelm that comes from many longer goals or training plans.
What is a running challenge?
Many people automatically think of training for a specific race when they think of a running challenge. However, a challenge don’t have to involve such a structured goal or lengthy time frame. Running challenges can be any sort of goal you are hoping to accomplish. You can challenge yourself to complete it in a week, a month, or a year.
Finding a creative running challenge idea is a great way to stay motivated in between training plans, during an off season, or even when training for a race.
Many runners find that they are less motivated during times when there is no specific goal for which they are training. Having an end goal not only keeps you accountable, but helps you progress over time and improve your fitness.
The run challenge options are limitless: from a classic mile a day challenge, to a creative 30 day running challenge, a 5k challenge, jogging challenge or anything in between, there is certainly one for every runner.
How do I set up a running challenge?
Setting up and completing a running challenge doesn’t have to be a formal thing. While there are plenty of virtual running challenges for those looking to stay motivated during training, there are tons of options to keep you motivated besides race.
If you’re just looking for some motivation and accountability, often all it takes is setting up a run challenge for yourself. Commit to a goal, set a timeline, and create some method of tracking. During your challenge, record your daily progress towards your goal.
Running challenges can come in many different varieties, from streaks to strength training, mileage or speed. Any running challenge that keeps you motivated to improve is a good one.
Committing to a 30 day running challenge is an excellent way to push yourself while knowing that it’s not going to last forever.
>>Download the 30 Day Running Challenge for Beginners HERE!
Whether you’re struggling without a race on the horizon or are just looking to mix things up and stay motivated to run, these running challenge ideas are a great way to continue making progress.
While it may feel difficult to continue putting in the work during a slow season, committing to show up every single day in some way, no matter how small, can quickly add up. Before you know it, you’ve conquered goals and dreams you never would have time for before.
These 10 monthly running challenges will inspire you and help you stay motivated this year when you need it the most!
10 Epic 30 Day Running Challenge Ideas
Try any or all of these running challenges to keep you motivated each month. From the classic running streak challenge to an epic undertaking such as completing a 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon all in one month – there’s something for everybody.
Running Challenge #1: Complete a streak
One of the most popular running challenges out there – a running streak! Completing a running streak means running at least 1 mile every day, for a designated amount of time. In this case, the challenge is to run 1 mile a day for 30 days.
The most popular time to complete a run streak is during the holidays, when excuses are high and motivation to get outside is low. Committing to running 1 mile every day during a busy month will help you stay accountable.
Streaks are an excellent motivator, and most runners find that once they get outside for that 1 mile run they end up completing a few more miles.
Challenge yourself to run 1 mile a day every day for the next 30 days! Can you complete a running streak?
>> Here’s what you need to know about a mile a day challenge.
Running Challenge #2: Negative split every run
Arguably one of the most challenge aspects of running for just about everybody is trying to not let your body get tired. The more miles you run or the more effort you put forth – the more tired you’ll begin to feel.
But in a race or hard workout, the last thing you want to see is your pace getting slower as you run along.
This running challenge means committing to complete every run for 30 days with negative splits. Negative splits mean that each mile gets slightly faster than the previous. It could be faster by just 1 second per mile, or faster by 30 seconds. No matter how small the margin of increase is, it still counts.
Challenge yourself to complete every run during a 30 day period with negative splits. You’ll need to stay focused and dedicated during this challenge. Can you complete negative splits?
>> Check out 5 tips for running negative splits.
Running Challenge #3: Complete a plank after every run
While planking isn’t directly related to the act of running, your core certainly plays an important role on the run. Planks are beneficial exercises for just about every athlete, especially runners.
Planking works many different muscles all at one time: your core, back, arms, shoulders, glutes, quads and ankles. Getting in the habit of regular planking will increase your strength and efficiency on the run.
Our core does a great deal of work during each run to keep us upright, and a stronger core just might be the key to preventing yourself from getting tired on those long runs.
Challenge yourself to complete a plank after every single run for 30 days. This will help you get into a routine of regular core work, and improve your running along the way. Can you complete this plank challenge?
>> Download the 30 Day Plank Challenge for free!
Running Challenge #4: Set a mile PR
One of the best indications that you are improving is that your mile time will begin to decrease. Taking less time to complete each mile means that you are running faster, and therefore more efficiently.
Setting a mile PR doesn’t have to be a one time thing. Dedicate 30 days to setting a mile PR. If you set a new mile PR on day 3, spend the next 27 days trying to improve your time.
Training to complete a mile PR means running more than just one mile at a time. You’ll need to complete long runs, intervals, speed workouts, strength training, and practice proper nutrition.
Can you set a mile PR in 30 days?
>> Learn how to run a faster mile!
Running Challenge #5: Run at least 5 times/week
New runners and runners coming back from a break often want to increase the frequency at which they run. When starting to run or coming back from some time off, running once or twice a week feels like quite a bit.
But once you’ve gotten used to that, it’s common to want to start running more often. This running challenge requires you to run 5 times a week for 30 days. The distance of each run doesn’t matter, just the fact that you get out there and complete a run 5 times.
Running 5 times a week may sound easier than it is. What happens when the weather is bad? Or if it’s dark by the time you get home from work?
Committing to running a certain number of times each week will keep you accountable and help you power through those excuses. Can you run 5 times a week for 30 days?
Running Challenge #6: Increase mileage by 10% each week
Another common goal among runners of all ability levels is to increase their running mileage. This can be a tricky goal, as it often takes time to achieve it safety. Many runners make the mistake of letting their excitement get the best of them and increasing their mileage too quickly.
Running too much mileage too soon usually leads to burnout, and eventually injury.
This running challenge requires you to increase mileage by 10% each week. While it may not sound like a lot, that 10% will really start to add up. By the end of a 30 day period, you will be running 40% more mileage than when you started.
And the best part – you increased your mileage safely. Can you increase your mileage by 10% each week for 30 days?
>> Here’s what you should know to safely increase your mileage.
Running Challenge #7: Set a 5k PR
One of the best parts about running is that there are so many opportunities to participate. Local races pop up just about every weekend, and groups of runners gather together to run on local trails. Finding a 5k is usually fairly easy no matter where you live.
Since 5k races occur so frequently, committing to the goal of setting a 5k PR in 30 days is a great way to stay motivated. Having a race on the horizon helps maintain training motivation throughout the month, and keep you focused on your goal.
You’ll have 30 days to set a new 5k PR, so if you try for one early in the month and don’t quite make it – try again. Can you set a 5k PR in 30 days?
>> Download the free 5k Pace Chart to stay on track!
Running Challenge #8: Run on a trail once a week
Running is such a versatile sport. There are road runners, racing fanatics, lifelong neighborhood runners, group runners, barefoot runners – and trail runners. It’s so easy to head out the door and run through the neighborhoods every day that so many of us forget about the endless opportunities on the trail.
If you’ve been curious about trail running but just can’t find the motivation to drive to a trail, this running challenge is a great way to get started.
Complete one of your runs each week on a trail instead of the sidewalk or road. Sometimes forcing yourself to do something that makes you uncomfortable ends up being one of the best things you can do.
Can you run on a trail twice a week for 30 days?
Running Challenge #9: Complete every run in the morning
Ah, those early morning runners. There’s nothing like seeing a runner outside on your dark, dreary commute to work in the morning to make you feel guilty.
Morning running is a habit so many of us wish we could commit to. Whether you’ve tried and failed, or just gotten inspired hearing stories from those who run in the morning, there’s no reason you can’t do it too.
Getting started is always the hardest part. Giving morning running a try for 30 days might feel a bit more manageable that committing to it for an indefinite amount of time.
Knowing that you have an excuse to stop after 30 days will help you power through, all the while powering through might just show you that it’s not as difficult as you expected. Can you complete every run in the morning for 30 days?
Running Challenge #10: Run a 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon in one month
If you’re looking for a hardcore running challenge that will really push you to accomplish it all – this one is for you. Completing a 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon in one month involves running 48.6 miles for races alone!
Runners are known for their crazy feats, and this challenge is no exception. If you’ve been training for long distance races and are feeling healthy and ambitious – try signing up for all 4 races in one month.
You have 30 days to complete a 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon – are you up to the challenge?
The possibilities are endless with running challenges! Take some time to brainstorm goals you’ve considered – whether they’re big or small – and see if you can come up with a way to fit them into a running challenge.
It doesn’t stop here, either. You can create a daily, monthly or yearly running challenge for yourself at any time. Try out a different 30 day running challenge every month for a year, commit to completing something every day, or try your first 30 day running streak!
Getting yourself outside of your comfort zone will only lead to improvements and new discoveries.
More running challenge motivation:
- 30 Day Running Challenge for Beginners
- 30 Day Strength Training Challenge for Runners
- 30 Day Running Streak Challenge
- 30 Days to Become a Better Runner eBook
Tuesday 16th of February 2021
All of these are great. Thanks for sharing.
Runnin' for Sweets
Wednesday 17th of February 2021
Thanks for reading! Hope you find one to try :)
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Sunday 14th of October 2018
Hi Maggie, Thanks so much for all your coaching and inspiration. I'm almost 62 yrs old and yesterday completed my first marathon! In 4:22:51 !!! Battling the blues today tho. And yes, I cried at around mile 18 and after finish. Such a tremendous accomplishment, I still can hardly believe I did it (but my legs keep reminding me). Good Luck in Chicago!! Cheryl G
Running for Sweets
Sunday 14th of October 2018
Hi Cheryl - wow, CONGRATULATIONS!! What an amazing accomplishment. And that is such a great time!! That is just so, so cool. There is something about the actual experience of running a marathon that brings so many emotions to the surface - it is such an incredible experience. I know the blues well and can definitely understand that feeling of loss after a race! I certainly hope you get to enjoy all those endorphins and some well deserved relaxation and many treats. Keep running and inspiring! Thanks so much for sharing!! ?