Frustration is one of the most common hang-ups with runners and tends to affect those who’ve logged a lot of miles. Runners will begin to feel the same dryness and lack of desire in their training program as they do in their actual job. When an experienced runner doesn’t add something new and exciting to their training plan and continues doing the same workouts every week, then running will become stagnant and boring. In order to prevent the runner from becoming unfaithful to the activities they love, here are three ways a runner can spice up their running life before their strides hit the skids.
1) Change your environment. Too many miles on the pavement can turn running into more of a hindrance than enjoyment. Instead of getting on the treadmill or running your normal route, find someplace new, like a local park or wooded area where you can do some short intervals and trail running. These are great ways to mix things up and train with nature’s obstacles: tree stumps, mud, loose rocks, mulch and unpredictable trail layouts. Country roads are another great place to train. They offer a great alternative to pavement and allow you to get acclimated to running on gravel, dirt and even sand. Not to mention there are generally some good rolling hills and most of these roads are marked every mile.
2) Change your agenda. Too many runners get caught up with having an agenda. They’re more focused on their training schedules and workout plans. Instead of worrying about how many miles you’ve logged or how quickly you ran a certain distance, just go and run. It’s okay to scope out a general idea of where you want to run for safety reasons, but once completed, lace up your shoes, leave your watch at home and go. Get adventurous, go explore some neighborhoods you’ve never been to and enjoy the outdoors. You’re more likely to enjoy your time without having to think so much.
3) Change your workout. While it is standard for runners to train at a different distance based on their experience, skill and desire, there is nothing wrong with adding some different flavors to the mix. Having a change in your workout will break the monotony and provide more flexibility and enjoyment to your workout. Fartlek running is a great workout that allows for variations of speed, time and distance, making it a workout that can easily be manipulated to fit any workout.
Tempo runs allow for a runner to build speed, but most importantly endurance. These types of runs are based on time rather than distance and are an excellent way to train when you have no idea how long a specific trail is. Long, slow distance is the act of running a longer than normal distance at a slower than normal pace. These runs are designed to build endurance, strength and provide a more enjoyable way of training while also logging some good mileage.
The main thing to remember when running, is don’t forget the reason why you began to run in the first place. Just because your desire may be to lose weight or train for an event doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy running. Running has many rewards, though at times it seems more like punishment, it’s meant to be enjoyable. If you’re willing to be flexible and add some adventure and variations in your training, your running will improve and so will your life.