For today’s fitness series post, I would like to tackle a topic that seems to come up a lot with working out: boredom.
How many of us have been gung-ho about getting fit again, only to slowly find that 30 minutes on the elliptical everyday or doing the same at-home workout video everyday is just….well, boring! When we’re talking about running in particular, things can really get monotonous if you’re running the same route day after day after day.
So today I’d like to share some ideas I’ve found helpful particular for those of you that like to run. Some of these ideas would work well for walkers, too. Why run or walk? Remember, this series is about getting fit frugally! And aside from a great pair of supportive running shoes (a MUST), the expense to get started with this sport is very small. Plus, it’s extremely effective.
Idea #1: Start a Running Group
Now I’ve run in groups before and it can be a fun thing. It can also be a very frustrating thing if you’re like me and maybe one of the slower ones and you watch as your “group” sprints off ahead of you! So here’s an idea I came up with a couple years ago. Meet at a track.
I think I had just put something as simple on my Facebook status one day as “I’m going to be running at such-and-such a track at 3pm Sunday. Join me.” This actually worked out fantastic! Some of us would run 3-4 miles, others 2. Some would walk. But it wouldn’t matter. We were all still together and since we were going in circles, we’d frequently pass each other and cheer each other on. I loved this. (And I’m thinking I need to start this up again!)
Idea #2: Fartlek
Before you start snickering at that word, let me add that it’s a Swedish term. So, no snickering!
Fartlek means “speed play.” Notice the word play (so make it fun!). The idea is that you are going to intersperse intense bouts of sprinting into your normal workout. I personally love a run that incorporates intervals of pushing myself.
There are different ways you could do this, but here’s what I like to do. As I’m running or walking, I’ll look ahead and find some sort of object out in the distance – perhaps a tree, parked car, or light pole. I will tell myself that I’m to run as hard and as fast as I can until I get there. Once there, I will take a minute or two to recover, and then find another object. If you’ve never done this, I totally recommend it. It breaks up the boredom a ton. I often feel like I have gotten a better workout when I spend 20 or so minutes running like this than say, 40 minutes of just slow jogging.
If you are new to running, this might be a great option! You could start by walking, and then add bursts of jogging at a good pace.
Idea #3: Find a New Route
I’m going to share a tool that I love: Map My Run.
You can use it to map routes from your home, place of business, wherever you may be. I found it invaluable for my marathon training to make sure I was putting the mileage in I needed to. But it’s also just great if you’re looking to find a new 2 or 3 mile course around your home!
There are other ways you can find new routes, too. Ask around – I found my neighbor Susan has a route she normally does, and it’s completely different than mine! I tried it one day and found it was nice to have a change of scenery. Also consider just getting in the car and driving to a new spot. In Tacoma, I love running along Ruston Way and I’m a big fan of the trails around the University Place Golf Course. While this might not be practical every day, once a week or so it might be nice to head somewhere different.
When it comes to something that can become monotonous, consider:
- Variety. Change up the speed, the location, the approach.
- Community. Who can join you? Where? How?
- Goals. Working towards a goal can help give your workouts focus and help you see the improvements you are making.
Release your Inner Olympian: Post 2 (Setting a fitness goal)