Consistent running has many benefits, from lowering your blood pressure and resting heart rate to improving your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, many people struggle with boredom during their runs, which leads to us dropping the habit before we truly get to see the positive outcomes.
Luckily, there are many easy ways to avoid boredom while running!
If you’re struggling with boredom on your runs, the first thing you should experiment with is your training pace and running routes. Staying stimulated mentally with music, podcasts, meditation, or brain games will also help prevent boredom. Adjusting your running form and tracking your workouts will also help keep you engaged during runs.
If you’re battling boredom during your runs, we’ll break down fifteen of the best ways you can remain physically and mentally stimulated while running. By incorporating multiple tips from this list, you’ll avoid the dreaded boredom plateau as you achieve your fitness goals.
Here’s how to not get bored while running!
- #1: Change Up Your Running Pace
- #2: Start Running To Destinations
- #3: Make Yourself An Upbeat Running Playlist
- #4: Listen To Mentally Stimulating Content
- #6: Explore New Areas
- #7: Consider Trail Running
- #8: Go Running With Friends
- #9: Start Tracking Your Runs
- #10: Try Low-Heart Rate Running
- #11: Work On Adjusting Your Running Form
- #12: Sign Up For An Upcoming Race
- #13: Play Brain Games While Running
- #14: Practice Meditating During Runs
- #15: Keep Challenging Yourself During Runs
15 Ways To Avoid Boredom While Running
#1: Change Up Your Running Pace
One of the best ways to make running more stimulating is to regularly change up your running pace. When you’re constantly running at the same pace, boredom is usually inevitable. Changing up your pace can be as simple as alternating between easy, medium, and hard paces. Try some speed work over shorter distances, too.
Many full and half marathon runners swear by progression runs, which incorporate this idea. For the first half of progression runs, runners usually run at a relaxed pace. During the second half of the run, they gradually increase their speed until they’re running at their marathon pace for the last few miles.
Generally speaking, it’s difficult to stay bored for long when you’re in the middle of a speed workout.
#2: Start Running To Destinations
Starting and ending a race in the same place is one of the main reasons people get bored during runs – especially if the run isn’t particularly eventful. There’s only so many times you can be stoked to complete that same old park loop.
By running to a specific destination, you can avoid the boredom that accompanies runs. While you’re running to a specific destination, you can think about what you’ll be doing there.
Whether you’re running to complete an errand or meet up with friends, this will greatly prevent the monotony of runs. If you completed an errand you’ve been putting off, you’ll feel a double sense of accomplishment on your run back. If you meet up with friends, those endorphins from running will feel even better!
#3: Make Yourself An Upbeat Running Playlist
Music remains one of the best ways to stay motivated during runs and other workouts. If you’re getting bored during runs, you’re probably not running to a beat. By crafting an upbeat running playlist for yourself, you can avoid boredom during runs.
You should ensure your playlist is long enough for the duration of your run. For your playlist, you should choose upbeat and energizing tunes that will keep you on the right track. Songs with motivational and inspiring lyrics will also help you crush that boredom.
Some runners like to listen to the same music every time, others don’t care as long as it has a certain number of beats per minute.
Word of warning though — the tempo of the music should match how fast you want to run. Many of us have seen our ‘slow runs’ turn in to speed work by listening to music with a rapid beat that ramped up our pace!
#4: Listen To Mentally Stimulating Content
Instead of upbeat music, some runners prefer to listen to mentally stimulating content as a simple means of avoiding boredom.
Music streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify now give subscribers access to various podcasts. The benefit of listening to podcasts during runs is that you can choose content that appeals to your interests and stay engaged the entire time you’re working out.
There are also plenty of podcasts aimed at runners specifically. For example, Matt Chittim’s The Rambling Runner is perfect for amateur runners who are trying to balance their passion for running with the rest of their lives. Podcasts like this will provide you with food for thought while keeping you focused on the activity at hand!
We recommend podcasts for recovery runs, longer runs and any session where speed is not a prerequisite. You will quickly notice: it’s difficult to run fast while listing to a podcast!
#5: Lookout For Landmarks Along Your Route
Another way to keep your mind occupied during runs is to look for landmarks along your route. Which landmarks do you see when you’re halfway through your route? What about landmarks when you’re nearing the end? Landmarks can be used to track your runs and keep your brain occupied while working out.
Of course, this method works best when you’re not hammering the same routes every day, or looping around your local park.
#6: Explore New Areas
If you’re tired of seeing the same landmarks along your jogging route, maybe it’s time you explored a new area during your runs. When you’re running along the same route every day, you’re bound to get bored eventually – so why not explore new parks and neighborhoods during your runs to keep things interesting?
Strava is brilliant for checking out the routes of other local runners and getting some inspiration for new courses you can explore.
#7: Consider Trail Running
Running on roads can get boring quickly when you’re not mentally stimulated. Ultimately, this is due to the consistent and unobstructed forward movement of road running. If you’re tired of road running and want to try something new, why not consider trail running?
Trail running combines running with elements of hiking on unpaved surfaces. Your mind will be consistently engaged as you explore uneven terrain, which will have obstacles such as rocks and bodies of water. Not only does trail running give your brain a workout, but it improves every element of your body’s fitness.
It’s a more reliable way of getting fresh air that running around your local roads, too!
See more: how to find running trails near me
#8: Go Running With Friends
Finding a running buddy is a fantastic way of overcoming boring runs. In fact, there are many benefits to running with a friend or family member. Consistency is key with running – and doing it with a buddy allows you to hold each other accountable.
Some healthy competition between running buddies is a great way to motivate yourself.
Running with friends is also a fantastic social outlet. By introducing a social aspect to your runs, you’ll look forward to your running sessions. It also gives you and your running partner a common interest to bond over. Not to mention, if you decide to enter a race, you’ll have a ready-made companion for race day.
If you don’t know anybody who is available or willing to run to your schedule, consider joining a local running group. These are perfect for letting other runners with similar objectives.
#9: Start Tracking Your Runs
Tracking your runs is a great way of remaining focused on your continuous improvement over time. Smartphones and smart watches are a fantastic way of tracking your runs. Once you get home, you can sync up the data to one of many social networks designed for runners.
These networks are ideal if you have only just started running and want to chart your progress. On platforms like Strava, you can see similar routes by other runners, compare times, and even compare historical personal bests.
Knowing that every step of your next long run is tracked and ‘public’ will give you that extra incentive to push through the pain, helping to prevent boredom along the way.
#10: Try Low-Heart Rate Running
Low-heart rate training is one of the best ways for runners to improve their aerobic fitness without the risk of over-exerting themselves. It’s also quite difficult to achieve, which is a useful recipe to beat boredom when you’re tired of plodding along at the same pace.
Low-heart rate training will allow you to eventually achieve your race pace with a lower heart rate. This type of running requires you to calculate your MAF (maximum aerobic function) heart rate, which is the BPM you should be running at.
While you’ll need to start slowly at first, your speed will gradually increase while your heart rate remains the same. Overall, low-heart rate training is highly beneficial to runners and a great way of keeping your mind occupied while running. You’ll also increase your aerobic capacity and prevent injuries.
#11: Work On Adjusting Your Running Form
If you’re battling boredom during runs, you can always work on adjusting your running form – there’s always room for improvement!
There are many great ways to do this, even if it does feel silly at first.
Focus on looking ahead instead of staring down at your feet. Experts also recommend relaxing your shoulders and keeping your arms at your sides during running. Some additional cross training and strength training (seek out a personal trainer) combined with better form will trigger a rapid improvement in your best times.
By focusing on good form while running, you can effectively prevent boredom.
#12: Sign Up For An Upcoming Race
If you’re feeling bored while running, consider signing up for a race.
Sometimes what we need to drag us through those long runs is the impending sense of doom of an upcoming race day. It’s a good way to get our minds back in the game!
By committing to an upcoming running event, you’ll be able to motivate yourself as the event approaches. Whether you choose a local fun run race or a scenic destination race, this is the perfect opportunity to motivate yourself and beat the boredom while running.
#13: Play Brain Games While Running
Brain games are a quirky way to keep your mind stimulated during runs. Brain games can be as simple as looking for a word representing every letter of the alphabet in order during your run.
However, you can also tailor these games to your interests.
If you love dogs, you could try counting and naming the different dog breeds you see along your run. If you’re a fan of vintage cars, you can count how many classic cars you encounter along your route. Mental games like these will keep your brain stimulated during the next running time.
#14: Practice Meditating During Runs
Instead of playing a brain game, you can practice meditating during runs.
This is not something you want to try on Hill Repeats Day, but it’s a good option for the less intense runs.
While running, you can focus on an object in the distance. As you run towards this object, you should try to clear your mind and focus on physical sensations. For example, focus on your pace or breathing. Creating a running mantra can also help keep you motivated and meditative during runs.
In essence, practicing meditation during a run will show you that it’s okay to be bored. Why fix something that doesn’t have to be broken in the first place?
#15: Keep Challenging Yourself During Runs
Boredom while running is often a sign that you’re not challenging yourself. Even if you love running, have you felt the spark die as winter draws in? Don’t want to grab your trainers in the morning anymore?
Chances are, you need a new challenge.
The main way of preventing boredom during runs is to keep challenging yourself mentally and physically.
From this list, it’s clear there are many ways to keep challenging yourself, from signing up for a race to trying out a new form of running. By tracking your runs, you can use data to challenge yourself.
Our advice is always the same: set new goals.
Whether you want to explore different routes or hit the gym treadmill for hours on end, it always helps to have an end goal in mind. A race you want to finish, a time you want to beat, or a health target that you want to crush.