No matter how much you love to run, there are bound to be days when you're burnt out, bored, or frustrated and want to throw your runningshoes out the window. Sure, routine helps you be consistent with yourworkouts, but mixing things up every once in a while can help you prevent yourself from falling into a fitness rut. Here are six easy ways to revive your passion for running.
1. Get a Change of Scenery
Find a new route. If you have a GPS, set out to run only on streets and routes that you haven't explored before—Runner's World route finder wasmade for this! If you're a roadie, hit the trails. The softer surface will give your bones and joints a break from the impact on the asphalt. In the woods, the trees will provide the shade and breeze that you can't get in the city. Plus, focusing on navigating technical terrain (not falling face first over rocks and roots) will take your mind off the mileage.
Already run trails? Hit the road or the treadmill with these treadmill workouts. Freed from worrying about your footing, you'll be able to get some quick work in. Keep in mind that everyone has their preference—and some terrains may be more beneficial (and safer) for others—so make sure you pick the best place to run for your body.
2. Get Some Company
If you're used to going solo, try meeting up with a buddy or joining a group. Having company can make the miles roll by faster, and you can explore new routes and run at times of days and in places that you might not feel safe covering alone. And knowing that you have to meet someone at 5 a.m. may be just the commitment you need to keep your training on track, when it’s so tempting to sleep in.
But choose your partners carefully: Picking the perfect training partner can be tougher than dating. Check out these tips to find the right running mate.
You could also ask about group runs at a local running store or club.
Friendly, informal runs are usually offered weekly and are open to runners of all abilities. Before joining a group for the first time, find out about the typical pace, route, and crowd. Are you likely to be the only newbie? Is it a bunch of grizzled vets?
3. Reset Your Goals
Make some goals that have nothing to do with pace or the outcome of a race or any given run. You might jump into Runner's World's summer running streak or start one of your own. Make a goal to run someplace new every day. Set some smaller short-term process goals that ultimately help you get fitter and faster.
Do you always bonk on your long run? Aim to perfectly execute a fueling strategy, refueling every 30 minutes. If you typically walk up hills, tryrunning up them or maintaining the same pace as you do on even ground. There are plenty of awesome goals you can—and should!—set right here.
4. Go Race
Even if you're a die-hard long-distance runner, jumping into a 5-K is a great way to get a break from the monotony of training solo and rev up your competitive juices. There are usually 5-Ks in most areas on most weekends, so it should be easy to find one any time near you. But if you need a little help, the Runner's World's race finder is just the tool you need.
5. Plug In...
Sometimes it's hard to gauge your effort level on your own, and the wind, fatigue, hills, and burnout can make your daily workout feel like a slogfest. If you usually run without technology, strap on a heart rate monitor and a GPS to determine exactly how far and how fast you’re going.
On easy days, these devices can help ensure that you're going slow enough
to give your muscles a genuine chance to recover so you have more energy for high-quality workouts like speed sessions, tempo work, and long runs. During high-quality workouts, these devices can ensure that you're working hard enough to get the most benefit out of your workout so you can reach your race-day goals.
And you don't have to take technology so seriously: Strap on the GPS to run your errands, to find out how much distance you usually cover in the car. Run to a destination you typically drive to and have a friend pick you up. Even just hooking up some tunes can do you good. Studies have shown that listening to upbeat music will make the effort seem easier—might we suggest revamping your workout music with some killer playlists? Oh, and if you're on the roads, keep the volume low enough to hear an oncoming vehicle, and wear only one earbud.
6. ...Or Tune Out
If you tend to be a slave to the numbers, on one day each week take a tech timeout and run by feel. Sometimes, trying to boost the pace your training watch is displaying can spur you to override important signals your body is sending about how hard you're working and whether you are on the verge of injury or burnout.
By leaving the devices at home, you can continuously scan your body to evaluate factors like how labored your breathing is and whether you're overreaching on your stride.
When you’re running without a watch, it will be easier to bring yourself to adjust your effort if it's hot, there’s a headwind, or you forgot to fuel and are running on empty. And some studies suggest that tuning into your body may be the best way to dial in to your perfect pace. Another bonus: You may be able to enjoy your run more if you’re free from the stress of constant feedback on how fast or slow you're going.