Can Boredom Affect Your Run? Here Is How To Avoid Boring Runs

by | 27 Mar 2020 | Running motivation

There are elements that are often discussed between runners, from clothes and shoes to injuries and cross training, from diet and hydration to music and – boredom, or boring runs!

So, can boredom affect your run?

I see two different sides here. One side lacks any interest in running and is naturally bored even when thinking of it. Every run will be a boring run. Like me and skiing, basically. I can’t really help here if running isn’t your thing, but for as long as you commit to another form of cardio activity, good for you.

Another side is actual keen runners who may find some runs, especially longer ones, a bit boring. Even very boring. Sometimes so the run gets so boring that they simply abort it and go home frustrated.

Why boredom when running? How can there be boring runs?

Let’s ignore the group that naturally lacks any interest in running and focus on actual runners. I learned very early on during my Couch to 5K phase that versatility was key to every enjoyable run. Admittedly, those early runs would only last a minute or three, but even then I would make sure that  my music playlists were not the same for every run and my park routes were slightly changed each time. That way every run was unique.

Thankfully the weather in London is never the same so that was another plus factor. I read that all those runners who complained of boredom, boring runs and lack of motivation ran at similar times on the same routes, listening to more or less the same stuff – hardly invigorating if your target is a 15K training run.

How to avoid boring runs?

Simply by avoiding them. I remember some hard runs but I can’t remember a boring one. In the beginning all I had to do was change a few songs and run clockwise around my park, as opposed to anti-clockwise from a few days before. It was easy to change things and I had a lot of fun planning what to do. Try it yourself, shake it up a bit.

OK, so that is all about those early short runs but how to avoid being bored when going for 10K plus?

Plan ahead. Think of the amount of time you would need to run for. Let’s say it’s an hour. Choose the time which is not your regular time. Plan the route. Always have different routes on the cards.

If it’s springtime and you like the smell of nature go to your local park but avoid the crowds and pick time that is a bit unusual, early or later in the day. I ran pre-dawn runs, they are great!

I also lost count of the number of times I ran alone through little back streets in central London, absorbing the history and being oblivious to the fact that I was getting drenched by pouring rain. Who cares, you’ll shower later anyway. Choose different, change often!

Remember, your brain needs a stimulus. If you offer it a same old-same old, you will get bored.

But what if I need to run 5 times per week training for a marathon? How do I entertain myself then? It’s hard enough being on my feet for hours!

As always, planning and imagination are everything. Let’s say you’ve ticked all boxes when it comes to proper rest, stretching, nutrition and hydration. By this stage your shoes are very comfortable and for most of the time you run without discomfort or fatigue. All you now need is to have fun.

I plan everything but I’m also prepared to surprise my brain and change things without notice. This morning my training target was 14K, a distance that I’ve covered lots of times. It a relatively easy run but still I decided to change my outfit literary as I was ready to go. Red Bulls top replaced the green of Boston. I had a tight white tech top on, which I swapped for a black one. Music playlist was ready but when I started running the sunshine and fresh air were enough so I didn’t play any music at all.

The route that was pre-planned got changed 3-4 times during the run, depending on nothing in particular, I simply felt that way.

Part of my target was to stretch 14K over two hours running very slowly in cardio zone 2, so any changes and surprises worked as they should and I never felt the run was too long or, god forbid, boring.

Is there anything else that could boost up my brain and make my running more interesting?

Yeah, the most powerful tools of all. Better than any shirt change or route alteration. Motivation and Sense of Achievement. Some start running to get fit, some to drop some weight, some have other reasons. In order to get to where we are going we need to set a target. In order to get to your target you need motivation.

Once you have reached your target driven by motivation, you get your own unique sense of achievement.

I never run indoors, I’ve never run on a treadmill, I only run outside and I’ve run in every weather there was, except dangerous gale storms in the winter. As a result some runs were hard but I’ve never seen a bad run, or a few bad runs, as deterrents. I see them as part of my overall running journey on the road to my target.

You’ve guessed it, it’s because I am motivated and want to enjoy the sense of achievement. My running motivation is very high. That way if the run is great and enjoyable there is no room for boredom anyway, and if I am being whipped by a cold wind or showered by sleet, the last thing on my mind is boredom. My brain is too busy trying to figure out how to steer me home in one piece.

Use your imagination in order to reach your target through motivation and make this an enjoyable game. There is no room for boredom in enjoyment. You can do it!

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