10 Ways to Keep Your Run Training Interesting

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, by Nick Bester

There are times when your run training can get a little bit... monotonous. Fortunately, there are plenty of things that we can do to make sure we keep our training interesting and stay motivated to hit our goals.

As we know, consistency is the key to improving your running. Doing things well, time and time again, will yield results but doing the same thing repeatedly can make training monotonous. Below are some of my top tips to keep training exciting.

Set yourself a goal or race distance that you wouldn’t usually target

Often, for example, if you’re a marathon runner, you can get caught in the trap of doing marathon training block after marathon training block. Try to target something completely different from what you would normally do. For instance, in my case, I haven’t done a lot of track races, so I sometimes target 3,000m races. It’s neither my strength nor what I’m good at, but ultimately it will shift the focus from the norm, snap me out of my comfort zone, and do me some good in the long run by ramping up that speedwork. Ask yourself the question: what would your younger self want to target? And go for it! You’re never too old!

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Alternate your run sessions between time and distance

Running the same sorts of distances, day in and day out, can get a bit monotonous. By simply switching your target from distance to time, you’re tricking the brain and looking at it from a completely different perspective. I often find that for shorter interval sessions, I prefer training to distance. But for longer, structured runs, I prefer training to time. Keep alternating it and don’t let the brain get too comfortable by doing the same thing day in and day out.

Set yourself a goal or race distance that you wouldn’t usually target. Photography by: Jacob Lund

Go to Strava segment hunting

Have a look on Strava at the usual routes you’d run and see what segments there are. Lace-up one day and go and chase them. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with segment chasing and it’s a great way to keep training spicy. These days you can also hunt that local legend status as well.

Find a new workout loop, even if that means you need to travel a bit for it

If you find that the workouts you do are on the same loop and you don’t have many other options around you, then it’s worth considering alternative workout routes - even if it means you have to travel a bit to get there. Ideally, what you’re looking for is a flat, fast stretch of road or loop where there is little to no traffic and as few interruptions as possible.

RELATED: Strava Routes and Heatmap: Find New Places to Go

Treat yourself to a new piece of kit

If you want to reward yourself, sacrifice a little bit in other areas to reward yourself with a new piece of running merchandise. It doesn’t need to be excessive, but as we know new kit is always exciting, no matter how much you have.

Meeting new runners who have a similar mindset to you can often instantly put an extra spring in your step, and add a new bit of freshness to your own journey.

Whether it’s a small piece of merchandise like funky socks or an epic new running watch, keep rewarding yourself along your journey. We invest a lot of time and effort into running and we should be rewarding ourselves for good achievements along the way. Throw in bits and pieces here and there to keep things exciting.

Listen to an epic playlist

Sometimes it’s nice to get completely lost in your own world: take your mind off running and allow yourself to almost fall into some form of meditation. A good playlist can do this with songs that hit the spot. We all have a different taste in music, but have a favorite playlist that you listen to on a fairly regular basis.

RELATED: How Runners Can Get The Best Out of Strava

Join a club or community

Meeting new runners who have a similar mindset to you can often instantly put an extra spring in your step, and add a new bit of freshness to your own journey. I see it happen often when someone joins my running club, Best Athletics. Straight away, they are encouraged by the support of a team around them and are motivated to work hard and relay the support back. It turns out to be one giant synergy where we feed off each other’s motivation. Connect with others, share your experiences and you’ll find there are a lot of relatable fellow runners out there.

Joining a club or community is a great way to improve your motivation. Photography by: Jacob Lund

Get a coach

If it’s within your budget, I highly encourage you to get a coach. Once again, that just adds more motivation to your journey. A coach can freshen up your training and hold you accountable. It’s also exciting to get a coach - someone who will help you and perhaps give you a completely different perspective on training. Even coaches need coaches and I have recently reached out and I’m incredibly excited to get a coach myself.

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Jump in the deep end and enter a race

You often hear stories about someone losing a bet and that’s how they ended up running the marathon or entering a race. That doesn’t always need to be the case. Sometimes you just need to throw yourself completely in the deep end and enter that race, even if you don’t know you’re capable of it. Trust me - once that race is in the diary, you will have a purpose to train and something that will get you out the door on those days you don’t feel like it. Nothing is more motivating than when you know you have a race coming up and you want to give yourself the best possible chance come race day.

Try to repeat one of your previous workouts but do it better.

I quite like this one. You’ve done the workout before so you know what it takes. We learn from each race we do but we also learn from each workout we do too. Try and think back to what you executed well within this workout and what you didn’t. Attempt to rectify it and execute it better. If you do - amazing. If not, don’t worry, you’ll get to attempt this session again, trust me.

Keep training fun! Keep trying to keep it exciting! Let’s go get it!

Onwards and upwards,

Coach Nick

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