Even the most dedicated and motivated runners will run out of encouragement eventually. It’s more than likely not fault of your own. Maybe it’s just every runners worst nightmare: boredom. It can happen anywhere, on the road, at the track, in the gym or even on the treadmill at home. Part of the fun of running is being out and about, but eventually, when the gasping has stopped and the soreness abated, you may look around and think, “Aren’t there better things I could be doing?”
If you find yourself doing this, don’t worry; it’s a natural part of the process and one of the most difficult barriers for any runner to overcome. The good news is that you don’t need to be on the last leg of an Iron Man to get past it. All you really need is a little attitude adjustment and a few changes in your routine.
Why You’re Bored
1.You’re Getting Better: You’ll look back and remember those first few painful weeks when your lungs were on fire, your legs feeling as if their only wish was to give way. Boredom on your runs wasn’t an option back then, you didn’t have a choice but to pay attention, and it was everything your brain could do to keep to blood moving through the heart and the air through the lungs.
2. You’re In the Same Place: Eight blocks up, three blocks over. Sound familiar? Even if you change your pace, your time of day or your length of run, you’re still in the same place, looking at the same things. Your brain is lacking stimulation.
3. You’ve Hit Your Goal: Maybe it was weight loss or wanting to take the stairs with ease. Whatever your reason for getting into the running game, you’ve hit it now, and you’re back at the motivational square 1, only this time, you don’t have anything to be passionate about other than your morning run of plodding along.
Learning to Run Past Your Boredom
So, you know that you’re plodding along, one foot in front of the other, and you’re tired of it. There is nothing wrong with that. But it would be a shame for you to give up on your new routine simply because of a lack of things to keep you interested. So, instead of turning in your laces from those expensive running shoes, rethink how, when, and where you run.
Making Your Run New Again
Find a New Home: If your neighborhood has been your methodical stomping ground then find a local track. If you’re not up for running in circles, thenhead out to a trail. You don’t have to do something different every day, but try out different locations and realize that each one offers a new challenge.
Find a New Time: Maybe you’ve been running when you get home from work, boredom could be just the catalyst you need to make you give mornings a try. Sunrises are missed by many, but you don’t have to be one of them. Instead, find out what the sunrise looks like, see the moon set and learn who you trash collectors and newspaper boys are firsthand.
There’s Always Another Hill: Hit all the hills on your route? Then find a bigger hill, take a friend who’s a little bit faster than you, or sign up for a race. Whatever it takes to make those lungs burn again, do it. There’s no point in running just to maintain, push yourself a little bit harder. If you’re tired of sprinting, then take it to a new venue, add in a few different challenges, and keep it fresh and new every week.
Find a New Goal: You can always get faster, or conversely, you can always go farther. Either way, try a new goal. It could be the race you always wanted to run in, or it could be a personal quest that you never thought possible. It’s easy to think that you’re at the end of your running quest, but remember a 4 minute mile isn’t impossible…
Whatever it takes, a new venue, a running partner or bringing Fido out for a surprise walk, don’t become derailed by boredom. Instead, do your runs better, harder and with bigger goals than ever before.