We’ve all been there before. We feel motivated and energized before heading out for a run, only to get started and discover that …we’re bored.
How do you make running less boring?
This is not an uncommon thought for runners. Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned runner, we’ve all found ourselves wishing that we could make running more fun from time to time.
While most runs are enjoyable, it’s common to get stuck in a rut and find yourself feeling bored while running.
Luckily, these moments of boredom are often fleeting in the grand scheme of things. Running is fun more often than not once we’ve adjusted to the sport. However, having a few ideas on hand to use when running starts to feel boring will help you keep things fun, fresh and interesting.
Can you make running fun if you hate running?
Many new runners find themselves wishing they could “like running” as they are getting started and things feel miserable. It’s easy to imagine that every other runner you see feels good and experiences joy with every single run.
But as we settle into a groove and become more adept at the sport, we realize that moments of boredom still arise, even to the most seasoned runner.
Incorporate a few fun running ideas
What’s important is knowing how to combat this boredom when running to make things fun more often than not. Whether you’re running alone, with a group or another friend, making running fun is key to your enjoyment and success.
While most physical activities require a bit of grit, willpower and endurance, we can still make running fun – even during those long runs and hard workouts.
Try any or all of these 10 strategies to help make running fun when you need it most.
10 Ways to Make Running Fun
Listen to a playlist or podcast.
Most runners find that their biggest moments of boredom come when they are running alone. With no one around to serve as a distraction, it’s easy to get lost in thoughts of how difficult things might be feeling.
In moments of struggle, or just plain boredom, one of the most effective ways to make running more fun is to distract yourself. And what’s an easy distraction? Listening to music or a playlist.
Finding some upbeat music might be all it takes to lift your spirits and keep things enjoyable. If you’re more of a multi-tasker, try listening to an inspirational or educational podcast. Having something to keep your mind distracted will help make the miles fly by.
Slow down and take breaks.
Another common reason that some will say they “hate running” is because it feels too hard. When every run feels difficult, it’s easy to dread it.
It’s hard to have fun when running feels impossible.
A simple, and practical, way to make running fun is to slow down. If you’re struggling to finish your runs, you might be running too fast. Take some of the pressure off by slowing down and enjoying a few breaks along the way.
Run to your favorite park and stop to take pictures of the scenery, or plan a stop at the local gas station for a quick drink of water. Relaxing the pace will reduce some of the difficulty, helping you enjoy running each time.
Find a new route.
Just about anything in life will begin to feel monotonous or boring when repeated over and over, with no variations or differences.
Running is no different. In order to make running fun, you’ll need to mix things up every once and a while. A simple way to do that is to vary your route.
Pick one run each week to explore new trails, running paths or neighborhoods nearby. Even just running your usual loop in reverse might be enough to make things more exciting.
If you’re really feeling desperate, take a road trip to another area to explore some of the best trails in your state. You might find that the extra time and effort it takes to travel will be well worth the newfound inspiration you find. Keeping running fun means mixing things up and finding new areas that help you stay inspired.
Run with friends or a dog.
Many runners find themselves especially bored when running alone. If you’re struggling to maintain motivation, try running with a friend, group or even a dog.
Bringing something or someone along with you will provide a valuable distraction during your run. Not only does running with friends or a group make running fun, it also helps you stay accountable with training.
If you don’t live by or know other runners, try running with your dog. If you don’t have a dog, volunteer to take your neighbor’s dog for a run once a week. Your pet will love the excuse to get outside and seeing their joy will help you channel your inner excitement as well.
Make GPS pictures.
When running feels boring and you feel like you’ve tried just about everything, a unique way to make things more fun is to try making GPS pictures.
If you log your runs in an app, you probably are able to see a picture of your route via GPS.
Runners have gotten really creative with planning their routes so they are able to spell certain words or create a particular image via the GPS. Try spelling a short message for a friend, something that’s meaningful for a cause, or creating a picture with your path.
Share your GPS image to stay motivated and have some fun on the run!
Challenge yourself or others.
Running can sometimes feel boring if you have nothing to show for all your hard work. If you’re getting bored while running to lose weight or just to stay in shape, try setting up a challenge for yourself.
Invite others to join to make it a game, or just keep track of your own progress towards completion. Competing against others, or even yourself, can quickly make running feel more fun.
Create a purpose for every run by coming up with a challenge to run a certain mileage, beat your previous pace, run as frequently as possible, or travel to new areas. Compete against friends or just show off your individual progress.
Related: 10 Epic 30 Day Running Challenge Ideas
Try a themed race.
Training on your own or even with a group can eventually start to feel monotonous. One of the most effective ways to make running fun is to try a themed race.
There are so many options that it’s hard to find an excuse not to try one. From local 5ks with unique themes to extravagant obstacle runs, there is definitely something for everyone. These themed races are often relatively short, too, so they don’t require much training.
Sign up for a color run, a mud run, a foam run, a costume run, or anything else that pops up in your area. When you’re struggling with running boredom, sign up on a whim to run the next weekend. You’d be surprised how easily the fun from these events will translate to your own training.
Incorporate fartlek runs.
While consistency is certainly important for runners, completing the same workouts each week can quickly lead to running boredom. A beneficial strategy to make running more fun is to incorporate regular fartlek runs.
The best part about fartlek runs is that they’re never the same. Incorporate some short bursts of speed during one run each week. Sprint to the end of the street and then jog for 5 houses before repeating. Test out 1 minute intervals or simply run as fast as you can for as long as possible.
Fartlek runs are a great way to increase your fitness while simultaneously mixing up your workouts and keeping running fun.
Dedicate your run.
Oftentimes running seems boring when we feel purposeless. When training for a race that is still months away, it’s often difficult to channel motivation from a goal that is so far off.
Instead of trying to stay motivated by focusing on something in the future, try channeling some inner motivation in the moment. To do so, dedicate your run to a person or cause that is meaningful to you.
Spend each mile thinking about a person who might be struggling or a particular cause that needs a bit of support. Focus on putting in the effort now to send positive vibes or energy to your cause.
Having an external purpose for your miles will not only make running more fun in the moment, but it will help you stay motivated to work hard.
Find a purpose or mantra.
In a similar way, it might be helpful to really spend some time thinking about your purpose for running. Are you running to get healthy, find some alone time each day, or set a positive example for your kids? Reminding yourself of your purpose on the run will help reduce your boredom.
If your purpose isn’t quite as meaningful in the moment, utilizing a mantra of some sort will help you stay encouraged and enjoy the efforts you put forth.
Related: 35 Motivating Running Mantras
Find a mantra that is motivating, inspiring, funny, or relatable to repeat during your run. Adding a little fun to running might be as simple as reading a few funny running mantras before heading out for some miles.
There are so many ways to make running fun.
Whether you’re struggling from repeated boredom or simply looking to spice up your training, these strategies will help keep things fun and exciting in the long run – literally.
Further reading: Running Humor | 42 Funny Running Quotes, Jokes and Thoughts