Watching early morning runners on your morning commute or hearing about friends completing 5ks and full-out marathons might make you ask, “What’s the big attraction?” If you find running to be boring, monotonous or just too challenging, there are some ways around it. These solutions still require a little motivation, so if you can muster up that part, you’ll be good to go.
Start slow and hit short goals. If you’re just starting out, there’s no need to complete a mile on your first run. That’s a big chunk of work to bite off! Instead, use stop signs, mailboxes, trees, parked cars and intersections to meet before you stop. Use a run-walk-run interval approach to get your distance. Push yourself here to commit to your first plan. That means if you’re going to stop at the intersection, don’t settle for the third mailbox before it.
>> Read more: 4 Ways to Make Your Run Easier
Incorporate circuit spots. If you’re able to complete a half-mile without any issues, but get so bored you can’t finish the full mile, try circuits. You need to be a little strategic with this and know the lay of the land. You’ll want to stop at parks, steep hills, the school track or try it in laps and return to your driveway or backyard to complete your circuits. Once you stop, you’ll perform something like 10 pushups, five burpees, 10 air squats, 10 sit-ups and then get back to your run. You can use steep hills for sprints or walking lunges, the track for high knee runs and a walk, or the park for a playground workout. Try the Ultimate Playground Workout next time.
Try it without music. This isn’t as farfetched as you might think. When you pop the headphones in, it can become a distraction. Unless you’re trying to run a few miles, the music could actually slow you down. Instead, try to be present in your efforts. Pay attention to your breathing, the sounds around you, your form and stride and your pace. Once you get to running farther, try Skinny Mom-approved playlists: Music That Will Motivate You to Move or Music to Run To.
Listen to a podcast. Once you've got a routine, running is a very independent exercise that provides you with time for reflection and space. Download a podcast series and try to listen to an entire session during your run. These are good for longer runs. A few suggestions include The Jillian Michaels Show Another Mother Runner or Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me (an NPR quiz show).
Get inspired. Surround yourself with positive vibes on running. Check out books from the library, download something for your tablet, join a running group, do research, ask questions, get new gear, change your perspective, subscribe to a running magazine or newsletter, run with friends or your dog or find something that will light that fire for you. Don’t worry about how fast you’re going or how far you’ve gone. Run to clear your mind, get space and feel good.
>> Read more: 11 Powerful Quotes for Your Motivational Board