How to prevent your running getting boring

Photograph: Getty Images

Photograph: Getty Images

Fri, May 2, 2014, 11:00

Variety is the key to keeping your running interesting and to making you stronger. If you do the same run, at the same pace, at the same location, the body will get used to it, and your training will stagnate. Not only that, you will get less fitness benefits from the run as your body gets comfortable with it. It’s up to you to challenge yourself and keep your runs fun and enjoyable.We have enough excuses to put off running without having boredom as another one. Here are some simple ways to bring variety into your running routine.

Change your route around:
Very simply, just reverse your normal route. It is amazing how something so easy can give you a whole new perspective. If you are a little more adventurous, get a bus or train somewhere and run home. Try running on different surfaces: grass, sand, trail can all make a pleasant change from a footpath.

Get a running buddy: Running with someone else is a great motivator. Firstly, if you have arranged to meet someone, you are more likely to go and not to procrastinate. Secondly, once you are out running you will encourage each other on, the time will fly by and you will have less time to focus on those negative voices in your head. If you don’t have anyone near you to go for a run with, why not bring one of your kids along on their bike.

Change the speed:
Introducing variety into the speed of your runs is superb for making you a faster runner. You don’t have to sprint: just occasionally, along your run, introduce faster sections followed by slower recovery sections. You can do this between lampposts, at each corner of a block, or when you meet the next person along the road. It doesn’t have to be strict. Run fast when you feel good, pull back and recover regularly. Over time, your comfortable running pace will get a little quicker.

Find a hill:
Hill training is a fantastic way to get stronger in your run. Find an area near you which has a long gradual hill. For one of your weekly runs, use this area to run. Try doing some fast uphills, followed by slow downhills. Focus on your hill-running technique, and enjoy the change in the gradient. Naturally this is going to feel a little harder on the lungs, but once a week, this is a great session.

Include exercises along the run:
A run doesn’t have to always be about a consistent time on your feet. Have a bit of fun with it and occasionally, along the way, try some exercises. Use park benches, steps and walls. Try some lunges, stepups, wall squats, planks and anything you can think of to introduce variety. This is a great session to do with a friend: take turns to decide what exercise is next and when you will do it.