Easy Ways To Make Running More Fun

Updated:

While we love running, we’ll admit that it’s not always easy to get out and run. We think most runners – whether you’re a casual runner or training hard for a race – can agree that lack of motivation can hit any time.

If you find yourself struggling through your runs, sometimes all you need is to change things up a little to rekindle your love of running.

Here are some easy ways to make running more fun and bring back that sense of joy.

1. Photography Run

Our phones have amazing cameras, so why not capture the scenery and make some memories along the way? Take your phone with you, but make sure it’s easily accessible so you can snap away.

This is a great idea if you live somewhere with a beautiful view. But even if you live in a city packed with buildings and people, there’s always something to photograph.

Look for unusual things to take photos of as you run. If you’re unsure what to look for, create a mental list before running. You can put anything you want on the list, so get creative! Your list might look like this:

  • A red flower
  • Something lime green
  • An unusual road sign
  • A cute dog (make sure you can get close, though!)
  • Fallen leaves
  • An interesting texture

This is a great way to hone your photography skills and start building up a bit of a photo portfolio at the same time!

2. Run a Scavenger Hunt

This is similar to creating a photography list. Make a list of things to find during your run, even if you don’t take photos of them. This can add an element of exploration and excitement to your run! You might want to look for:

  • Specific types of flowers
  • Wildlife or pets
  • Particular colors or textures
  • People wearing certain items or colors
  • Architecture or landmarks

3. Join a Running Challenge

Apps like Strava often incorporate weekly or monthly running challenges. These could be things like:

  • Mileage Challenges: “Run 100 miles this month.”
  • Time Challenges: “Run for 4 hours in total this week.”
  • Number Challenges: “Do at least 15 runs this month.”

Most of them are free to enter and have a leaderboard, so if you’re the competitive type, this could be a great way to keep things fresh and fun! You should also get virtual medals or badges, and there may even be real-life prizes.

4. Run for a Cause

If you want a more meaningful cause for your runs, you can enter a race that donates your entry fee to a charitable cause. In many cases, these kinds of races also encourage you to go out and raise your funds for the race, so it’s an amazing way to make running more fun and make a difference at the same time.

5. Run to a Beat

If you don’t usually run with music, having music in your ears can really get you motivated. Even if you often listen to music, try to match your running pace to the beat in your ears.

Or, put together a playlist beforehand of songs that match the cadence you want to hit. Then, do your best to match the beat on every step. It’s not only motivating to have a great beat in your ears, but it can help you to improve your performance as your cadence improves.

Be careful, though. We recommend using bone conduction earphones so you’re still aware of what’s happening around you.

6. Run in New Places

While running the same route every day is comforting and easy, switching up your route can inject something new and fun into your run. You can simply run down a different street than usual on your next run, or you can select a different route beforehand.

Apps like Strava can help you find new routes or see what routes others recommend. You can also switch up your runs for a change; if you usually run on the road, try a trail run now and then.

7. Join a Running Club or Group

If you’re a sociable person, joining a running group or club could be an excellent way to stay motivated. You’ll meet new, like-minded people and have the opportunity to make new friends.

Having people around you who enjoy running as much as you can keep you accountable and motivated. You’ll also have the chance to run with someone else if you want company.

8. Set Specific Goals for Rewards

Set small goals and rewards for each one. Knowing that you’re getting closer to achieving a goal can be a great inspiration for your runs. Make sure the goals are challenging enough to push you but not so difficult that you lose motivation. Try small goals/rewards like:

  • Run 5 times this week → Go see a movie on the weekend.
  • Run 20 miles this week → Get your favorite chocolate.
  • Lose 5 lbs this month → Buy a new shirt.

9. Practice Mindfulness

Running can be an amazing opportunity to practice mindfulness. An easy way to do so is to focus on your breath as you run and match it to your steps—breathe in for three steps and out for three steps or more, and continue with that pattern.

Or, you can do a “body scan” as you run, assessing sensations in each part of your body. Spend a few moments focusing on your right foot, for example, and what you can feel in it. You may feel your toes bumping against the upper of your shoe or a tingling feeling in your toes.

Then, move into the left foot, the right shin, the left shin, the right calf, the left calf, the right knee, and so on. This meditative experience is designed to help you focus, calm your mind, and become more aware of your body—NOT go into a trance or “empty your mind!”

10. Add Interval Training To Your Runs

If you aren’t doing interval training yet, you’re missing out! Not only is it a great way to change up your runs and make things more exciting, but it’s also a way to improve your performance.

HIIT training boosts cardiovascular strength, burns more calories in less time, and may even build more muscle than slower, steady-state cardio.

11. Run For Your Favorite Drink

Whether you’re a beer drinker, a coffee lover, or just love a good ol’ chocolate milk now and then, make running more fun by only allowing yourself to have your favorite drink after you finish your run.

You’ll need a bit of discipline to do this right, but it can be a great way to spike your determination and help you push through those runs.

12. Gamify Your Runs

We all have mobile phones, so why not use yours to turn your runs into a game? Check out these apps and pick one that’ll motivate you to run with more enjoyment!

  • Zombies, Run!: You’re one of the few survivors of the zombie apocalypse, heading towards one of the last remaining outposts on the planet. You’re humanity’s last hope for supplies, rescues, and protection.
  • BattleSuit Runner Fitness: You’re on a secret mission. Listen to the prompts, speed up and slow down as necessary, and get closer to the end of the mission. Earn points and use them to upgrade your BattleSuit after each run!
  • Fit For Battle: Set off on an epic adventure where your every move alters the story. Fight off orcs, win battles, and navigate challenges to move forward in the mission and come out victorious.
  • Pokemon Go: Pokemon Go is a fun way to add some excitement to your run. Run, search, collect Pokemon, and inject some fun back into your workouts.
  • Run An Empire: Run. Conquer new territory. Lead your people. Battle your rivals. Build an empire as you run.
Photo of author

AUTHOR

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.