Hello my awesome friends! I hope you’re having a splendid day.
I’m so tired from training. I’m really enjoying it, though, and this cycle has been pretty amazing so far. My coach is keeping things real and varying my workouts. So far, no boredom yet! Which got me to thinking of all the awesome run possibilities that exist in the world. I’ve decided to compile a list (who else loves lists?!) of ways to keep your runs fresh and exciting. Similar to my “5 [Fun] Workouts to Improve Your Running” post, this list is meant to give you options and help you avoid burnout or training-fatigue that plagues so many of us throughout our training cycles.
6 Ways to Keep Your Runs Fresh and Exciting
1. Run trails. (Or roads.)
Running [non-technical] trails is great to vary your workout and the muscles you use if you’re primarily a road runner. And if you’re experienced with trails, sometimes it’s good to try out a more technical part that you’re not familiar with to keep your legs and mind fresh and in the moment.
If you’re an experienced trail runner, you should hit the road every once in a while. Again, changing the muscles and gait you use is a great way to avoid injury.
|(Photo credit: K. Spears)|
2. Hit the track.
The track is really, really fun. I promise — it is! I know there are some that pooh-pooh the track because of intimidation or past negative experiences in grade school/high school. But believe me — as an adult, it’s super fun. Even if you’re not actually running super fast, it sure does feel like it. Plus it’s a fun place to turn up your tunes and zone out (if it’s safe enough to reasonably do so). No worry about cars or random foot traffic here!
Running on the track, again, is great because if you don’t do it every day, you change the way you run and therefore don’t stress the same muscles again and again. (I think there’s a common theme here…)
3. Run with a buddy. Or two or three or four…
Running with friends can be both therapeutic and cathartic. You can talk through challenges of training, life, and love. You can go over your ups and downs from the week and receive (and provide) valuable feedback to those you run with. You can laugh, tell jokes, and generally have a good time.
Running with friends tends to also affect your run. Sometimes our friends are faster than us so we speed up just a bit. Sometimes they’re slower than us, so we slow down a touch. And sometimes we just like to have a relaxing, fun run, and stop and chat every now and again. All of these small changes have a wonderful overall impact on your training. Plus, friends. Win-win.
4. Run on the sidewalk with lots of traffic around you.
I would wager to say that most people prefer to run on quieter roads, away from high volumes of traffic. However, there’s something fantastic about running when the streets are busy and full of action. It keeps you on your toes — you’re more aware of potential obstacles and even dangers. Plus it keeps your mind busy, which is really great when you need to get a few miles in when you’re tired. Running with some traffic also keeps you from running too fast, particularly when you need to cross intersections. Sometimes a quick breather helps more than you expect.
5. Run with the sunrise.
Running with the sunrise is one of my favorite times of day to run. It’s quiet. It’s beautiful. It’s serene. There’s something valuable in waking up with the sun and watching the day unfold in front of you. Inspiring? Motivational? Picturesque? Whatever it is, you should experience it for yourself if you don’t already do so.
6. Run under the stars.
On the opposite end of the spectrum of sunrise-running, there is something magical about running under the stars. If you run in the winter’s morning, there’s no one awake. It’s dark. The air is crisp. The stars shine brightly. It’s indescribable. And if you run in the summer’s evening, the warm air, the stars slowly appearing in the sky as the sun disappears on the horizon — it’s just remarkable.
I challenge you to switch up your runs this and next week, and report back on how they went. Ready? Go!
What are two other ways you keep your workouts new and engaging?