I was having a chat with some friends last weekend about my run training and when I mentioned that some of my runs are 2+ hours long, they were shocked. Neither of them minded running as an exercise in and of itself, but they claimed running was incredibly boring to them. This actually kind of shocked me because I don't get bored on my runs! Here is how I keep my head in the game:
1. Get off the Treadmill
I really don't like the treadmill. I am instantly sweating on it, no matter how air conditioned the gym is, and it is boring. The only fun would be if my gym had personal TVs, but it doesn't and usually sports is on the shared TV and there isn't even sound. Bo-ring. I like running outside- lots of sights and sounds and obstacles to keep your mind active. I am always telling Cam about things I saw on my run- ducklings, a 3 legged dog, a pretty sunset, ten thousand teenagers in line for a concert, etc. It is much more enjoyable being outside! I am going to TRY and keep running outside during the winter. I am a wimp, so we shall see.
2. Find a Good Playlist
I am constantly tweaking my playlist. I google around for good running songs (catchy with a beat is key for me). I like to browse reddit.com/r/running for inspiration. Basically, I like every song to be an upper and to amp me up even more than the song before. Recently I discovered Girl Talk and it is amaaaaazing. Just one long mashup of all the best and catchiest parts of hip hop and pop songs. LOVE IT.
I have listened to a lot of audiobooks this summer as I run. I get them from this magical free source called "the library". I love them! I didn't know if I would be able to concentrate on listening while running, but I get totally lost in the book and barely pay attention to my legs. I would love some recommendations for new books? New releases often have a long waiting list, so older books are better :)
4. People Watching
I run along a paved path that hugs the waterfront for 95% of my runs. There are a lot of other runners, bikers, and pedestrians out there and I like to challenge myself to pass people. Or I just imagine what they are like and how they got to be on the same path as me that day. Sometimes I judge their choice of clothing (sweater?? I'm dying of heat!). Sometimes I envy their bodies and use it as motivation (though my addiction to sugar will surely eliminate any chance of abs). People watching is good fun!
Sometimes I just think about stuff. I think about a problem at work, or what colour I want to paint my den, or I imagine what my life will be like in the future. Sometimes I just come up with ridiculous day dreams of myself being in perilous situations, which actually gets the adrenaline up and I run faster!
6. Running in Intervals
I have no shame in taking walking breaks. In fact, I often find my overall pace is faster if I take the odd break to rest my legs. The best part about this is I never leave my home thinking "I need to run for 2 hours". Instead of head out and think "I need to run for ten minutes". Sometimes I keep running when 10 minutes is up. Usually I walk. I always allow myself to make the choice- without any shame- at any time ending in 0 on my run. It really breaks up the long feeling of a long run and I never get discouraged if I am tired, but not even half done- just 10 more minutes to go!
7. Sign up for Races!
And lastly, I think the most important way to keep from being bored at running is to challenge yourself. I love my training plan because there are all these concrete goals to hit and I feel really proud completing a particularly difficult run. I actually have trouble sleeping the night before big run because I am so excited to set a new record for myself. Races help keep me on track- knowing that I have set myself a goal and not wanting to fail at it when race day comes around.