Running is fantastic exercise. Not only does it burn tons of calories, but a good run can also increase your power, endurance and cardiovascular health. Some research even suggests that running can dramatically improve your mood and memory, too. Plus, running can be done just about anywhere with minimal equipment.
There’s just one problem: Running is boring. Or, at least, it can be. So how can you make running fun and actually enjoy your workouts?
The Power Of Music
By far the most common strategy for making runs more fun and interesting is to use music. A huge body of evidence shows that well-chosen music can improve athletic performance, rating of perceived exertion, and – yes – enjoyment.
Exactly what constitutes “well-chosen music” for you is a very personal decision, based on your preferences and the style of your run. Some runners take things even further and use music as a training tool by selecting tunes based on their beats per minute (bpm).
By designing a playlist wherein the bpm matches your pace, you give yourself a sort of musical coach to guide you through the run. You may also find that running on tempo with the music makes the whole experience feel just a bit more… zen.
There are several ways you can use competition to add some spice to your runs. First, you can literally sign up for a competition – whether it be a 5K, a mud run, a marathon or whatever sort of run you can find.
This will help your runs for a number of reasons. Above all, you’ll have a deadline – a date by which have to be at your absolute best. But it’ll also give you a purpose behind your runs, rather than just running because you’re supposed to do it. Thanks to all the options when it comes to events, though, you’ll also have options when it comes to your workouts.
A mud run, for example, will provide a totally different set of challenges than a standard race – demanding a completely different training style. And then you have events that are just plain fun, like color runs and inflatable runs.
Or, you can keep your competition a little more modest by simply challenging your family and friends. This is a perfect way to build a support system for your runs and give you a little extra encouragment to push yourself.
“Running” really is a sort of umbrella term that can refer to a huge number of different workouts. You can do speed runs, distance runs, tempo runs, high-intensity interval training, scenic runs, Fartlek and a ton of other styles. And yet all of these count as “runs.”
Interestingly, they each have their own pros and cons and offer their own benefits. By using a variety of different running styles, then, you keep your training balanced. Rather than simply focusing on endurance all the time, your going to also do workouts that emphasize speed, power and coordination – things that a well-rounded runner should have.
Along with the practical use of making you a better runner, mixing up your training styles will also prevent your runs from getting stale and boring.