When you run a few times a week, it's easy to get bored with your route and routine. Whether you're outside or on the treadmill, the miles can drag by and it's easy to spend your entire workout thinking about what you're going to do as soon as you're finally finished.
One of the things that helps me stay motivated is switching up my runs. Hopefully some of the suggestions below can help you to do the same!
1) Musical Inspiration--Pick a time limit, then switch on your iPod. When a slow song comes on, walk for the length of the song. When a fast song comes on, run for the length of the song. Continue until you've hit your goal time.
2) Scavenger Hunt--If you're running outdoors, start running the first time you pass something red. Stop when you pass something orange. Start again when you pass something yellow. Continue going through the rainbow until you achieve your goal distance.
3) Ladders--If you're running on a treadmill, start your run at a speed that is comfortable for you. After 5 minutes, increase the speed by .2 mph. Continue to increase your speed every five minutes until you have gone up by a full 1.0 mile an hour. Then work your way back down. Finish off with a five minute cool down.
4) Sprints--Start running at a comfortable pace. After every 5 minutes of your run, sprint for one minute. Repeat until you hit your goal distance.
5) Hill Repeats--Find a big hill on a safe road. Run to the top, walk to the bottom. Repeat 10 times.
6) Circuit--After the first 5 minutes of your run, do step ups on a curb for one minute. After the next 5 minutes of your run, do jumping jacks for one minute. After the next 5 minutes, do squats for one minute. Finally, run 5 minutes, then do lunges for one minute. Repeat twice, then finish with a 5 minute cool down.
7) Work Your Brain--Find a safe, well-marked trail with changes in terrain. You'll be so busy thinking about where to put your feet that you won't even be worrying about how much time you have left!
8) Friends with Benefits--Find a friend to run with. As you catch up, the miles will fly by!
9) Free Your Wrist--Leave your watch at home. Judge your run based on how you feel. When you feel tired or your legs feel heavy, slow down. When you feel energized, speed up. Pay attention to your body.
10) Switch it Up--Run your "normal" route backward. You'll be surprised how many new things you notice.