10 Essential Ways To Genuinely Enjoy Running

Jordan Mendiola

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Are you finding that you haven’t been motivated to run lately like you used to? It could be for a number of reasons.

You may not be getting enough sleep. You’re running too much and your body can’t keep up with it. There’s a chance that your running route is just getting stale.

I noticed that for the past year being deployed, I maintained my passion for running, and that’s because I was self-aware about everything that I could control.

I was able to control my running routes, the amount of sleep I got, and took care of my body by stretching and doing calisthenics.

Here are some ways that you can do to actually enjoy running:

1. Mix Up Your Mileage

If you’ve been sticking to the same two-mile run for the past three months it’s a good idea to switch it up. When I ran the same distance for a couple of weeks, things got stale and I realized I didn’t look forward to going anymore.

When you push yourself to run different lengths especially long-distance, your body responds differently — which is exciting to see.

For example, in a long-distance run, I run at a much slower pace, and this forces my muscles to power through for the long-run. In a short-distance run, I have more room to burst and push myself as hard as I possibly can. Adjust your mileage and notice the drastic difference.

2. Find a New Route

You may need to find a new running route. I’m just going to be completely honest. Running the same route leads to potential injury because of consistently repetitive motion.

Changing scenery gets you out of your comfort zone and shows you other parts of the world. The excitement in the unknown extends beyond going for a good workout. New routes lead to new inspiration, new people you can meet along the way, and so much more.

Change up the terrain and notice that you don’t ever get bored.

3. Run With A Friend

Going alone can be extremely intimate and quite the personal session, don’t get me wrong. But going with a friend or someone you just met can make it so much more fun.

You can compete with one another, chit chat, and teach each other new running techniques. When I ran cross country, My teammates taught me so many new ways to run with better form, fix my breathing, and how to lessen the distance.

When in doubt and motivation levels are low, grab a friend and tackle the run together.

4. Run With Music

I’m not sure about you, but when I hear my own panting and heavy breathing, I feel like I’m so out of shape. But when I’ve got my earbuds in and I’m rocking out to some great music, I don’t think twice about my body struggling.

Music takes the pain and suffering part of running away to instead a fun, upbeat adventure from a movie or something.

But in all seriousness, music allows me to run for fun while getting quality exercise because it boosts the mood and motivates me to go the extra mile (literally).

5. Run At A Different Time of Day

Timing is everything. Oftentimes, I will only run when my motivation is at its peak level which can be early mornings, around 6 pm, or really late at night.

Every runner should test out multiple running times to find the one that works for them best. Finding an optimal time to run is equally as important as finding the perfect pair of running shoes.

Our bodies respond differently to different times of the day. Some of us thrive in the sunshine, while others can only get going once traffic slows down and everyone else is asleep at night.

6. Time Your Runs

Timing my runs has been both a blessing and a curse. On one end, it helps motivate me to break my PR’s and strive to be better. But at the same time, it is an overwhelming tracker that makes me feel like I need to meet a time rather than genuinely enjoy the run.

Some of us are incredibly competitive athletes who like to analyze every which way to improve our run times and improve ourselves.

Others of us are people who have families, kids, and a career that demands a lot of time. If you determine the type of runner you are most, you’ll be able to decide whether or not timing your runs is for you.

7. Follow a Running Regime

Apps such as Map My Run, Nike + Running, and Asics all have running regimes that are available to use. But there’s also the mighty internet that has a bunch of running schedules you can stick to.

Sometimes, training on our own without a specific plan or change in intensities leads to boredom. By trying someone else’s regime, you may find that you love running 1-mile burnouts or even hour-long jogs.

It’s all about finding what works for you and experimenting with other regimes will help you find your own.

8. Register For A Race

I know that registering for a race is one way to excite many runners including myself. With the Pandemic ruling the world and keeping the big social gatherings at bay, we only have options such as virtual marathons.

Ryan Fan wrote a phenomenal piece on how he refuses to run virtual marathons, and I highly recommend checking it out if you’re on the fence.

In some small communities, they hold little events. But if you really have no idea where to go, you can register for a race at www.runningintheusa.com. They have races all over America. When in doubt, make google your friend.

9. Avoid Treadmills

This may not even be necessary, but treadmills are the epitome of boring. I have never felt a thrill of running on a treadmill.

I will not argue that treadmills are great for convenience, but unless you’re babysitting a child, take your butt outside and enjoy this little thing called life. There are infinite running routes in the entire world, and a treadmill will forever be a last resort.

Okay, my rant on treadmills is over. But seriously, avoid treadmills at all costs.

10. Be Thankful You Can Run

I believe that people make a lot of excuses to run, yet they don’t recognize that they are blessed just to be able to run.

I can name people in my life who aren’t blessed with working legs or the mental capacity to run for fun. It’s important to realize that you have a great opportunity to exercise and receive all of the benefits that come with it.

The next time you don’t feel like running, I challenge you to run for those who can’t.

Digging deep and finding the motivation to get some exercise comes from deep within, sometimes. To set yourself up for success, you can use these ten tips and tricks to see if they work.

Please let me know if I missed any form of motivation boost that works for you! Any time you can make running a fun time, you gain a competitive edge and will achieve so much more than you planned.

Running is such a beautiful form of exercise and I’m glad so many of us get to call it our hobby.

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Creative entrepreneur, U.S. Army Engineer, and dedicated runner. Committed to sharing ideas that lead to more fulfillment in all areas of life. Email: mendiola1829@gmail.com 08.18.20 ?

Chicago, IL
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