Four Ways to Beat Training Run Boredom
I admit it - I hate training for races. I love working out, I love running races, I love lifting weights and I even love burpees. But waking up early on a Sunday morning to run a bunch of miles all alone - not quite sure where I'll go or how bad the weather will be or how much smoke is in the air - is not my cup of tea anymore. I say "anymore" because I do seem to recall a time when I did really enjoy training runs.
I have only logged 16 miles this week and as I ran each one of those miles it occured to me that maybe I am not the only one bored to tears during these mandatory training sessions. I dug deep and came up with a list of things that helped me enjoy my training runs in the past and can possibly help me get the spark back.
- Take the time to build a playlist. When I first started running I would compile the best playlists. I love music and I love to sing. Music has always motivated me and I realize now that when I put the time and effort into creating playlists I could sing along to I was a better runner and I enjoyed training. TIP: Use services like Spotify and Apple Music to build playlists featuring all your favorite jams - old and new.
- Phone a friend. I run alone. Always. I am not a fast runner and I am not interested in going on a long or short run with someone looking to PR during training. So when I say phone a friend, I mean it literally. Call someone you have been meaning to catch up with (preferably your most chatty friend so you can do a lot of listening) and have a conversation. Do that with 3 different friends during a long run and it will be over before you know it! For those of you that prefer the physical companionship of a friend during a run, don't be shy to plan a long/short run date! Call someone and set it up in advance so you can both hold yourselves accountable. TIP: If you are a loud runner or run in an area with a lot of ambient noise, use the mute button on your phone to toggle back and forth during your conversation.
- Learn something. I took French in junior high and Italian in high school. Since I am heading to France in a few weeks, I've downloaded a French audio book with conversational lessons. I have been listening to them during short training runs and not only am I in the running zone, I am in the learning zone. It's so easy to concentrate when there are zero distractions. TIP: Download biographies on your favorite people, language lessons, or anything else that interests you. This is your chance to devour all the books you don't have time to read.
- Run somewhere new. When I travel every one of my training runs is an opportunity to explore and awaken my senses. I run my best when I am not running in my neighborhood. I recommend using Google or running apps to find new places to run. I am lucky enough to live right in between Monterey and San Francisco and over the hill from Santa Cruz. I have a lot of options! Now, I don't advise you to just park somewhere and start running. You should plan ahead, research routes, parks, trails and be careful that you don't get lost. Always be very aware of your surroundings and always let your loved ones know when you go for a run. Every time! TIP: Use running apps such as Strava and Runkeeper to research new running routes or segments that are popular with runners. This is a good time to phone a friend and plan a fun long run date. You can follow up with lunch near your newly discovered route.
The reality is that training runs, short or long, can sometimes be boring. But with a little pre-planning you can inject some life into your training!