We've all been there at one time or another. Running just feels stale. The love isn't there. You wake up for your morning miles thinking, "Guh, do I really have to do this again?!" Your loops are old, your playlists are old, you're sick of charging your Garmin...your running romance is on the rocks. Couple this with the dropping temperatures and shrinking daylight and you have a recipe for an all out running-divorce.
When you feel like this, you should quit running. Wait, wait, hear me out. You should stop running and try funning! Even if for one workout. Shake up your routine and find the love again. Here are some of my favorite funning workouts:
If you grew up in the Friends era you've probably seen The Episode Where Phoebe Goes Running. She and Rachel have different running styles, Phoebe runs free like a kid, arms and legs flailing around and Rachel is much more prim and calculated. Phoebe explains her running style; "I run like I did when I was a kid because that's the only way it's fun. You know? I'm mean, didn't you even run so fast you thought your legs were gonna fall off, you know, like when you were running towards the swings or running away from Satan? (the neighbors dog)
Run like Phoebe for a day! Go where 'kid you' wants and channel that feeling of running without any goal except getting to where you're going as fast as you can.
Run around your town stopping at every playground you see. Hit the swings! Go down the slide! Take a spin on the merry-go-round! Great run to do alone or with buddies.
Choose Your Own Adventure
Take a penny, every time you come to an intersection flip the coin! Heads = go left, tails = go right. See where you wind up! Perfect for GPS watch runners because you can still keep track of miles without being a slave to the same old loops.
Dance Party Intervals
Make a playlist! Or even better, join Spotify and find some running mixes made by friends. Crank the music and let yourself go as fast as you want (or as slow). You'll find yourself doing accidental intervals when your jam comes on. For bonus fun: dance like no one is watching when you hit a red light! Why not?
Hit the trails! Whether it's just a dirt trail in your hometown or you drive out of your way to find a mountain to tackle, get off the road. When you see a fallen tree or big rock, stop running and use what's around you to do step ups, dips, jump ups… If the trail is steep, do run/walk intervals.
Destination Reward Run
Get some buddies and run to a destination. Maybe it's an apple orchard run, pancake run, brewery run… pick a destination and have a non-running buddy meet you there with you warm clothes, $$ and a ride home. Everyone should have a non-running spouse or bestie for this purpose. :)
I Spy Fartlek
Better with a group of friends, but also fun solo. Yell out "I spy… stop sign, tree with yellow leaves" or whatever. Then pick up the pace to almost all out until you hit the spied landmark. Jog while you 'spy' your next landmark, yell it out and repeat at whatever time interval you want. Take turns 'spying'. If you're solo, you can yell it out in your head. ;)
Leap Frog Intervals
This one requires a group of friends, I'd say at least 5 and the more the merrier (to a point). Warm up a mile and then run in a single file formation. Last person in the line runs fast past the single file line to get into the first place position. Once they are there the new last place runs up to first and so on. Just like leap frog…
The Drop Off
Loops can get so old and sometimes it's fun to do a point to point run. Have someone drop you off X miles away from home. Perhaps in a direction you never run. Then… run home! Simple, but you'll be amazed how it makes any distance fresh.
Sign up for a race where you have no experience or time to compare it too. Like a trail half marathon or a XC 6k. Enjoy the free feeling of racing something where you're guaranteed a PR.
How to you keep the fun in running?