While you always feel better after a run, that doesn’t mean you always feel like going out for one. Sometimes it’s just because running doesn’t feel fun. Some days, it feels like a drag and you don’t want to do it.
That can be easily solved by changing things up a bit and doing some new things to make running fun again. In this article, we’ll cover 9 great ways that you can make running more fun. These are easy change-ups to your routine that will give you a fresh perspective on lacing up and getting out the door.
1. Slow Down
If you’re new to running, you might not enjoy it because you’re not used to it, and you’re going too fast. All you need to do is slow down and take walk breaks, if needed. Don’t turn your run into something that hurts; set your pace to make sure that you enjoy it.
Even if you’ve been running for a while, you might want to consider slowing down or reducing your mileage if you’re experiencing burnout. Sometimes I go for a run and tell myself just run what’s comfortable. I don’t look at my watch and just enjoy it.
Taking the time to slow down (or at least telling yourself to run what is comfortable) will likely make you find running fun again. I often find myself running at the pace I normally would even when I tell myself to run what’s comfortable, but it’s not as stressful.
2. Change Your Mental Programming
It doesn’t matter what you’re doing in life. Negative thoughts just won’t do you any good. So turn that frown upside down and try to come up with happy things. Experts suggest thinking of as few as three positive things can do the trick.
Instead of thinking about the negative (like running is too hard, I’m too tired, and the weather isn’t good), focus on the positive benefits of running.
Try these thoughts instead: I always feel great after you finish a run. It’s great stress relief when I get a couple miles into it. Or I get an amazing feeling of accomplishment when I complete what I said I was going to run.
3. Try a Running App
Another way to make running more fun is to try a running app to encourage you to keep up your running. Garmin Connect, the mobile app if you have a Garmin watch, can help you track your miles and progress.
I love that I can compare data to see how much I run in one month versus another. It also allows you to compare your progress to others, including people like you (which for me is females, 25-29) or other groups of people (like males, 30-35).
You can look at your speed, how often you run, and so forth and compare it to other Garmin users. When I feel like I haven’t gotten very many workouts in, sometimes it’s nice to look and see that there are plenty of other Garmin users in the same boat!
Similarly, Strava is a fun way to see where and how far your friends ran. Plus, they’ll congratulate you on your own run.
Aaptiv offers guided indoor and outdoor runs from personal trainers if you’d like a change of pace.
4. Make GPS Running Art
If you’ve never tried this, it’s definitely worth doing. You simply have to run a route that spells out words or draws a picture after it’s uploaded from your GPS watch. The things people have been able to do are pretty amazing.
For example, people have created a wide variety of amazing drawings like a whole Star Wars set, the Welsh Dragon, a GPS proposal (great news if your partner is a runner), Ursa Major, an elephant, and an owl.
If you’re a little nervous about figuring out how to map a drawing or letters yourself, you can use an app like FigureRunning. This app gives you more flexibility like “no pencil” running or “invisible lines” if you’re trying to do a complex drawing.
5. Join a Running Challenge
If you’re getting bored with running, there’s nothing like a little competition to put some pep in your step! There are so many options with running challenges. You can run a certain distance in a month, you can try one on Strava, or you can create your own.
If your family and/or friends are inclined, ask them to join in too for some sort of prize. I’ve done this several summers with my family. We’ve had competitions to see who walks/runs the farthest. It’s a great way to get everyone exercising, and a competition makes it fun!
6. Change Up Your Routes
Sometimes what gets boring is that you’re doing the same run over and over. While it’s great that you’ve found a route that you’re comfortable with, doing something different will likely make your runs more enjoyable.
Find some new places to run. Maybe consider going for a short drive and then running somewhere you’ve never run before. You also should consider changing surfaces, too. If you always run on roads, try trail running, go to the track, or run on the beach if you’re lucky enough to live close to one.
A super easy way to do this is to simply switch directions. Just do your typical route in reverse to make it a totally new route. Everything that was on the right side is now on the left side, but it’s still familiar and that you’re used to.
7. Find a Running Partner or Running Group
Nothing will make running more fun than to have someone there with you doing it too. If you’re a people person, it’s a great way for you to kill two birds with one stone. You get some physical exercise, and get to hang out with someone else!
Running goes by much faster when you run with others. It also provides motivation when others are expecting you to show up and run. You can’t get out of it unless something is seriously wrong.
If you’re lucky enough to have friends or family members who run, they might be willing to be your running partner. Or maybe even your dog! If not, there are a lot of running groups out there that you can join and get to run with other people.
8. Add Some Tech to Your Workout
Like most people, I don’t really love running on the treadmill, but if there’s a TV, it can make all the difference. I’ve watched miles fly by when I was watching episodes of The Office on TV and running on the treadmill.
Obviously, you won’t be able to do this outside. But you can always listen to music or podcasts while you’re running. Experts recommend saving books/podcasts that you really want to listen to for your runs only.
Then you’ll be motivated to go for a run. That’s the only time that you’ll be able to listen to something you want to listen to. If you make it a treat, it will also turn running into a treat as well.
9. Vary Your Type of Runs
Changing the surface that you run on and/or changing where you run can help, but another thing that can do the trick is changing up the type of your runs. By changing the distance and pace of your run, you’ll be doing something different and that will be more interesting.
You can do this in a variety of ways. If you typically prefer long runs, add in a few short runs to mix things up. If you typically run fast, do one run slower and see how you feel. Another way is adding in some speed work.
You can add speed work by doing intervals, including hill repeats – a great way to build endurance and give your mind something to think about. Or you can do more random intervals: a fartlek run. This will break up your run and make it more interesting.
I would recommend, though, that you still don’t overdo it on your speed work. You could push yourself too hard and end up hating speed work just as much as you dislike some other type of running. Typically things aren’t fun if you are pushing too hard for too long.
At the end of the day, this is just a start as to how you can make running more fun. Figure out what makes you happy and then personalize your running to that. You’re sure to make running more fun.
For example, if you love dressing up and wearing great clothing, make sure that you have nice running gear and reward yourself with a new piece of clothing every month or so if you’ve been consistently running.
If you love doing something different, try doing a fun run like a mud run or a glow run. The Kiwanis Park near me has fun runs in the summer where you get some sort of treat at the end like cupcakes!
Just find some component of running that you love and capitalize on it, trying out some of these easy ways to make running more fun. You won’t be dreading those runs anymore!