1. Embrace Your DNA
A common suggestion to solve low motivation in the running world is to simply enter a race. By signing up to a race all your problems will be solved. While this is extremely effective for some, it’s just simply a bad idea for others.
Embrace your DNA. You can ask yourself every question you can think about in regards to your personality, but it comes down to one very simple question. Do you like running to train? Or do you like running to run?
2. Eat Properly
If you have been running for some time and have not yet addressed your eating habits, this has got to change. And it’s got to change now. When trying to become a better runner, nutrition is probably the most important area you need to focus on, apart from the actual running itself.
Many people find the extra energy from eating properly sufficient to make running fun again. Even if you don’t think your diet is bad, a few simple changes could provide you with additional energy and give you the extra push to complete whatever goals you are aiming towards. This, in turn, will further provide motivation.
3. Get in Shape
Running when you are overweight and/or unfit can be the cause of your problems. As you become fitter and leaner, you will realize just how fun running can be. At first, physical exercise will feel like it’s just suffering in the pursuit of good health. Over time your reason to run will transform into something else entirely.
4. Explore New Routes
Running the same routes over and over again is not a fun way to train. If you run only on a treadmill, head outdoors. If you train only on a running track, start running on roads. If you only run on roads, start running trail routes. You might want to start running different routes in the same area you run in. You might even want to push the boundaries more by running further distances than you have before.
5. Run With Music
Some runners swear by running music and never miss a workout without it. Others are satisfied with the rhythm of their own breathing, heartbeat and movement. Which type of runner are you? Find out more about running music.
6. Run With Others
Joining a running club or simply finding a running partner can be a great way to make running fun. Make sure to take your time in selecting compatible running companions. Some running clubs consist of fast runners, while others are more informal and run at an easy pace. Choosing incompatible running companions can do more harm than good.
7. Improve Your Running Form
Using your body the way it was designed to be used and developing efficient running form can make your daily runs seem much more enjoyable. Running will seem playful and fun rather than a form of punishment. Consider trying barefoot running or minimalist running shoes such Vibram Five Fingers to improve your running form.
8. Listen to Your Body
Many runners are making their training seem like a chore without even realizing it. Having a training schedule has its advantages but there are more fulfilling and smart ways to train. Stop using your training schedule for a week. Instead ask yourself before and during your workouts “How far is my body telling me I can run today?”.
Make sure you are comfortable and not pushing the overtraining threshold, but still meeting your goals at the same time. Don’t force yourself to run everyday and take rest days as you need them. If you are starting out, utilizing this method may consist of brief periods of walking spread throughout each workout.
9. Technological Solutions
There are various ways to make running fun by utilizing technology. Consider purchasing a heart rate monitor or GPS running watch if you think it will make your training more enjoyable. Also consider signing up for free at DailyMile, a website that allows you to log workout statistics and connect with other runners.
10. Keep Running
Not everyone likes running when they first start. Over time, it will develop into the ability to tap into a more primitive mode of experience that modern man has been divorced from. You will become addicted to running and need to experience it on a daily basis to feel like your day is complete.
It takes time to make running fun 100% of the time and break through the period where running seems like a form of punishment. If you are just starting out, go longer. Short 1 mile runs aren’t long enough to allow endorphins to kick in. Gradually increase your weekly milage so you are comfortable with at least 3 mile runs.
11. Follow Your Passion
Ultimately, you should aim towards finding an exercise that you are truly passionate about. While there is a high chance running may become your passion, you should not stick with it hoping you will one day wake up and love running. If you have been running for over a year and have tried everything to make running fun, consider moving onto other exercises.
If you are not currently having fun with your running, often a few small changes is all that is needed to solve your problems. In many cases, not finding running fun is simply because you have not been doing it for long enough.
As Robert de Castella says, “98% of the running I put in is anything but glamorous: 2% joyful participation, 98% dedication!”. As your addiction to running grows stronger, this formula may remain the same, but it amounts to 100% pure exhilaration.
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Jim has been running since he represented his local running club aged 13. Thirty years later he is still finding new ways to stay ahead of the pack in from 5k races through to Ultra Marathons. He started Running Unlimited to share his knowledge of the sport and to keep a record of what’s worked and what hasn’t.