As runners, there are undoubtedly going to be days where we just don't feel the mojo or the vibe on the run, and the run ends up feeling unproductive and flat. And, that's perfectly okay because not every run is going to be perfect and learning to just troop through a run, as opposed to enjoying it, is a big part of being a runner. At StayRunning, we can't prevent these types of runs from happening, but we want to increase the overall quality of your runs and the enjoyment you get from running, so that you can stay running in the long term. Here is a list of 4 things that you can do to improve the quality of your daily run:
#1. Ease into it: The easiest way to get overwhelmed on your run is to rush into it at a pace that you're not familiar with, and you can prevent that by properly easing into it. This can be done by warming up properly (for proper ways to warm up, check out the video down below), and just taking it slow for the first few minutes of your run. It's really common for a lot of runners, including myself, to feel terrible on the run until the 3 mile mark, and you can help alleviate the early-run struggles by going at a comfortable pace until you are ready to speed up. Easing into a run will also help you save energy for a late-run burst, so that you can kill your last few miles and feel like a champ heading home.
#2. Take it one step at a time: If you are struggling on your run, just focus on getting to the next stoplight or the next crosswalk, and mentally divide your run into chunks. Stringing together consecutive chunks of running will help you become more consistent and every time that you successfully make it to the next chunk of your run, whether that be the next stoplight or the crest of the hill that you are running up, you should give yourself a mental pat on the back because you were able to push through.
#3. Run with friends and pass the time: They say that time flies when you're having fun, and this statement could not be more true when you're running with your friends. Running alone is great for sure, but sometimes being along with your thoughts for a longer run can be pretty boring, and you can break through that boredom by tagging along with your friends on the run. You can have great conversations while running, and if you are running in a big enough group, you can even play some games on the run. Personally, I prefer to play word games with my friends on a run, but you can get really creative with the games that you play with your friends on the run: geo-guesser, counting cars, iSPY are just some of the examples of the games that I have played with my friends on runs.
#4. Switch it up: It's so easy to get in a rut as a runner, whether it be running the same route every day of the week or going at the same pace. Oftentimes that sense of repetition can make the act of running very tiresome and boring, and switching up your daily run routine can provide a refreshing change of pace (no pun intended). You can start exploring new routes that branch out: instead of going straight at the intersection of the route that you always run on, you could go left or right and see where that leads you. One of my favorite things to do as a runner is look at potential route changes on the Google Maps street view function and keep a mental note of it, so that I can switch up my daily running route. You can also change up the pace: this doesn't necessarily mean that you have to go faster for the entire run; you can add strategic surges in specific spots of your run where you feel good.