Whether you’re training for a race or just trying to increase endurance, long runs can be a little monotonous. Luckily there are some things you can do to help the miles pass by and keep things interesting. Ready to make your long runs a lot more fun? Read on!
1. Bring a friend
If you already have a running buddy, try to schedule your longer runs so you can log some miles together. Nothing makes a run pass by faster than good conversation! If you usually run solo, try searching your area for local running groups. Many running stores, YMCAs, and community centers offer group runs on the weekends. And some even have coaches and training plans for specific races!
2. Make it a destination run
If you live in an urban area, consider running to a fun spot (a delicious doughnut shop, your friend’s apartment, a park, etc.) and then taking public transportation back home. Live in the suburbs? Have a friend or family member drop you off and run back home. Knowing you can’t stop until you reach your destination will give the run more purpose!
3. Savor an audio book or podcast
Do you look forward to a certain podcast each week? Or love reading thrillers? Download your favorite media and only allow yourself to listen to it during long runs. Saving these for the run might be just the motivation you need to keep going.
4. Commute to or from work
It takes a bit of advance planning, but commuting to work by foot can be a great way to fit in miles and avoid traffic. Urban runners will have an easier time thanks to mass transit (take the subway or bus to work and then run home), but even if you live in a more rural area, you can make it happen.
If you live a reasonable distance from home and the running route is safe, try carpooling to work in the morning and then log some miles on your way home. Remember to bring along your running gear as well as a small backpack to carry home the essentials! If you have a place to shower near the office, you could also try running to work in the morning.
5. Sign up for a race
Consider signing up for a race and sandwiching it in between a warm-up and cool-down. You’ll reach your mileage goal before you know it! For example, if you’re preparing for a marathon, register for a half-marathon as a training run. Get to the start early and log 3-4 miles, run the race, and then run another 3-4 miles afterward. Breaking up the miles should keep things interesting!
6. Mix in some speed work
Running at the same pace mile after mile can be a one way ticket to boredom. To change things up, try alternating between fast and slow running. You might try something like this: 10 minutes of easy running to warm-up, then 10 x 1 min of fast running followed by 1 minute of slow jogging. Finish up with 10 minutes of easy running to cool-down.
7. Break up the distance
Rather than heading out for a daunting 10-mile run (or however many miles you plan to do), break the run into chunks. Try running a few small loops of ~3 miles each. After each loop reward yourself with a quick walk break or some sports drink. If you’re logging a run at the gym, try switching treadmills every few miles.
You can also do half of your run inside and half of your run outside to spice things up!
The next time you set out for a longer run, try out some of these tips, and leave your boredom at home. You’ll be an endurance pro in no time!
Megan is a writer, RRCA certified running coach, and new mom living and training in rural upstate New York. She competed in DIII track and cross-country at Wesleyan University and now focuses on the half-marathon and marathon distance.
Main Photo Credit: lzf/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: Goran Bogicevic/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: Halfpoint/shutterstock.com; Fourth Photo Credit: Maridav/shutterstock.com