Running the same route day after day can be very boring.
Becoming complacent in your runs can affect the performance outcomes you are striving for, as well as drop your motivational drive. It is important to change aspects of your run every so often to ensure you keep it new, fresh, and interesting. The easiest way to keep each run enjoyable is making it competitive.
Check out these different recommendations that will motivate you to push yourself on each run:
Beat the Clock
Beating the clock involves timing yourself through half of your run route, then increasing your pace in an attempt to beat that time on your way back. This can be timed throughout your entire run but beginners are encouraged to compete against half their run time to push yourself due to the expelled energy already used. Beating the clock will help you build confidence and self-esteem in running, and daily life. This exercise will motivate you to get off the couch and beat your previous time.
Hills are your Friend
Use hills to your advantage. A hill can be used as a final climb or a starting point after building up a sweat. You can attack the hill in intervals, sprinting up then walking down, or just at a steady pace. When approaching a hill the first instinct is to put your head down and start the trudging but by lifting your head and seeing how far you have to go and the distance getting shorter you get a bit of a rush. Of course the most important point of having your head and body straight is the increase of oxygen intake. Running up a hill can help prevent of shin splints, increase your velocity, and the amount of calories you burn. Consistently running on flat or downhill surfaces can put pressure on your shinbones that can lead to shin splints. When you run uphill, it actually can improve the stress put on your shins and allows more time for recovery. Mixing in weekly hill runs can drastically increase your speed and endurance as muscle tear leads to the growth of stronger leg muscles. Finally, the amount of calories you burn running up a hill in relation to a flat surface is much higher.
Faster is Stronger
Interval training involves an increase in pace intensity for a short period of time, followed by a brief rest period. It can be used within your regular run or used as an entire workout in itself. Begin by keeping an easy pace to warm up for about 10-15 minutes. Then slowly increase your speed to maintain a steady jog. When you are ready, drastically raise your speed to a quick jog or sprint for a specified short period of time or distance. Once you’ve finished, use double the amount of time or distance you just ran to come down to your steady pace. This will give you enough time to recover and prepare for the next high intensity interval. You can combine it with a hill run or beating the clock exercise. Efficiency in workout time, physical health benefits, and the fact you can do it anywhere make interval training a great complement to your running routine.
Zero-in on What Motivates You
So much of running is mental: the brain does the run and the body is just along for the ride. You need to find your own motivation. It may be knocking 5 minutes off your best time, fitting into that little black dress, being to finish your first 5K or simply to enjoy walking your dog. You must find your motivation and make the decision to achieve it. Once you’ve made the decision, you need to set a small goal for every work out whether it’s to run three more blocks before you stop for a rest, or making it all the way up that hill; you need to have personal triumphs after every run. You will find this will help you push further than you thought you could. Don’t let weather dictate your runs. If it’s raining, go anyway. Heck, you’re going to sweat if it’s a sunny day, aren’t you? It may be cold when you first start a run, but you warm up quickly. These small personal triumphs build confidence and make you feel like nothing can stop you.