I've received some questions over the past months regarding similar topics: how to learn to "like" running, how to keep oneself from getting bored on runs, and how to boost motivation and prevent burnout. First things first: I truly don't know how you learn to love running if you don't initially. I always loved to run - it's always been a huge part of my life - so I'm probably not the best person to ask in that regard. However, that's not to say I don't think it's possible! I listen to podcasts and read blurbs all the time about individuals who hated running in high school and then found it again later in life and fell in love with it. I'm just not exactly sure the mechanism of that haha. However, I am certainly familiar with loss of motivation and keeping oneself engaged in training, so let's chat a bit about that.
How to Prevent Boredom on Runs
1. In my opinion, treadmills are the death of running. I do know some individuals who love them - they feel that they can just hop on and mindlessly watch a movie or listen to music and it helps their pacing and cadence - but I am not one of those people. I would honestly rather run outside in a blizzard than get on a treadmill. I think they are SO BORING. Thus, my first tip is to avoid treadmills.
2. Listen to fast-paced music, a motivating podcast, or an audiobook on your runs. I find that if I have a new playlist I've created, or a new Rambling Runner or Joe Rogan podcast I'm dying to listen to, I'm more amped up for my run.
3. Concentrate on the run itself. Count your stride-rate. Focus on your form. Key into your breathing. Simply focus on making yourself a better runner on your training run. If you switch up your approach and attitude toward training, you may just find yourself becoming more motivated.
4. Run with friends! Possibly the best advice I can give you. You'll be distracted with stories, you'll have fun, and the miles will just fly by. If you don't have many friends that run, check out MeetUp or troll your neighborhood running stores for local run groups. Or bribe a friend with ice cream, whatever works
5. Run trails. I swear: running on trails instead of roads makes the time fly. For one, you're often concentrating on the rough terrain so you're distracted, and two, you have gorgeous scenery to gawk at!
How to Boost Motivation/Prevent Burnout
1. Make goals. SMART goals, preferably (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound). Aka, don't just write down that you want to "get faster." What's your time-line? Do you have a race in mind? At what distance would you like to be faster? What pace is that? What steps do you need to take to achieve said goal?
2. It's easy to get into a routine when training. It's virtually mindless to lace up your shoes and run the same route from your house day after day. But in my experience, that can become monotonous and unmotivating, so I definitely recommend switching up your running routes often! Hop in your car or on your bike and drive to a nearby trailhead. Or run your typical route backwards if you're under a time constraint.
3. Remember how good you feel after a run. Seriously - don't discount those endorphins, that "runners high" you experience. Because it's freaking awesome, and it makes it all worthwhile.
I know how tough it can be to stay motivated in training 24/7. I've had so many ups and downs through my running career; I've felt the lowest of the low and the highest of the high. If all else fails, consider how you would feel if you became injured. Would you regret taking all this for granted? I know I would. If not - if you almost feel relief when you consider an injury - perhaps you really do need some time off to regroup and regain motivation.
I hope these tips were helpful! Please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email at email@example.com with any questions or comments. If interested in either in-person coaching or personal training in and around Wheat Ridge, Colorado, or online coaching or personal training from anywhere, please reach out!