4 fun ways to make your regular runs less boring

by Jeff Galloway, The Runner's World Editors
·3-min read
Photo credit: David Jaewon Oh
Photo credit: David Jaewon Oh

From Runner's World

When you are starting to run, the regular exercise can be great at helping relieve stress. But why can beginning on a new fitness journey sometimes feel really stressful? No matter how long you’ve been running, we’re all vulnerable to fear, doubt, and anxiety when starting out.

And no matter how much you love to run, there are bound to be days when you’re burned out, bored, frustrated. Sure, routine can help keep you consistent, but mixing things up with fun runs—whether by yourself or with a running group—every once in a while can help prevent you from falling—feet first— into a fitness rut.

With the help of walk/run legend Jeff Galloway, we outlined four easy ways to put more fun runs into your regular running routine. Try them out the next time it’s a little hard to lace up and head out the door.

Prediction Run

Write down the time you think it’ll take you to run a familiar route and leave that piece of paper, along with your watch(!), behind. When you finish, see how close you came to your prediction. This super fun with a group: The winner could earn a free coffee, a doughnut, or the privilege of choosing the next workout.

Tip: Trying this type of run frequently can really help you learn how to run consistently without endlessly looking at your watch.

Leap Frog Run

This one’s only possible with a group. After a warmup of a few miles, run single file at an easy pace. Every one or two minutes, the person in the back picks up the pace and runs to the front (no sprinting). You can do this for 10 minutes at a time or for the whole run.

Tip: Take this type of fun run onto some quiet trails. The different terrain will force you to pay attention to your surroundings, adjust your pacing regularly, and work as a group to finish together.

I Spy

The game that entertains your kids on long drives can help the miles fly by. Pick an item you’re likely to see frequently en route: a red traffic light or stop sign, a falling leaf in autumn, a barking dog. When you see it, pick up your pace for 10 to 60 seconds, walk for one minute, then start spying again.

Tip: You can also play this game with a group. Once you have an item to spy, the first person to call it out could run a normal pace while everyone else has to sprint ahead. The more people you have on this run, the quicker your reaction will have to be!

Beat the Clock

Do this by planning an out-and-back route for any distance. At the turnaround point, pause your watch and take note of the time. On the way back to the start, increase your pace with the mission of beating your time, whether that’s 30 seconds to two minutes. This is a great way to understand your pacing and what it takes to negative split (running the second half faster) your next race!

Tip: Use a route that’s pretty consistent. Running a faster second half is much harder if you have a mostly downhill beginning but mostly uphill return!

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