Have Fun With Your Running-A Beginner’s Guide

You know how you aren’t supposed to play with your food?  Fortunately that rule doesn’t apply to running.  You most definitely can play with your running and make it fun.  In fact, this goes beyond just beginner’s running.  Even advanced runners do fun things to mix up their workouts up from time to time.  They just call it sick things like speed work and fartleks.

As you begin a running routine you might find that it is both a mentally and physically difficult task.  I certainly understand this.  I still have days where running feels like a chore to get going.  But the good news is that if you can spend just a few minutes pushing through that wall you will find the running rainbow on the other side.


I often tell my runners about my first few months of running.  It wasn’t easy at first but I would run three miles each morning.  Some days were better than others but most days I had to work to get past that first mile.  I began to find that just as I hit that three mile mark, I was really starting to feel like I was getting into a groove and enjoying myself.  Finally one day I decided to experiment with that feeling and went for a five mile run.  As usual that first mile was a struggle but then I started to feel pretty good.  And then a funny thing happened.  As I went outside of my three mile comfort zone I found that the running actually felt easier!  Yes, that sensation I thought I was feeling towards the end of my run was real.  It was getting easier and even enjoyable!

The key to pushing past your “wall” is to have some fun or distract yourself.  Below are some ideas to mix up your running routine.

The Light Pole Game:

This can also be the Mailbox Game or any other landmark you chose to use.  The idea is to pick landmarks to use as your run/walk destinations.  Start out by running to the first light pole and then walking to the next.  Repeat until you meet your time goal.  I would aim for at least 10-15 minutes and then slowly increase over time.  Remind yourself that every runner has to push through a momentary discomfort during the first few minutes of just about any run.  So try to push yourself to get at least 10-15 minutes in before you allow yourself to stop.  As you continue, try to work up to 30 minutes and then slowly begin increasing the distance between landmarks.  Try to run for 2 or 3 light poles and then walk for one.  Over time you will find that your endurance naturally increases.

Use Music:

Music is an excellent motivator.  I often run better with music.  It helps to set my pace and distract me when I might be focusing on things that could cause me to stop.  Make a playlist of all of your favorite songs.  Or make a playlist with a combination of fast and slow songs.  Run during the fast ones and walk through the slower ones.  Sounds like a fun interval session to me!

The Stoplight Game:

Last winter I wrote about the Stoplight Game.  You can read more about it here.  This is one of my favorite ways to mix up my running routine when I run in the city.  Let the stoplight’s dictate your running route.  When you arrive to one, follow the green light and just keep going.  This is a super fun way to mix up your running route and make every run a little different.

Wear Good Running Clothes:

Looking good and feeling good never hurt a runner.  Having a pair of running shoes that fit and are appropriate for your body and running style will make everything easier.  But having good winter or summer gear makes a world of difference.  Plus if you feel good or like what you have to wear it makes it so much more fun to get out the door.  The good news is you don’t have to spend a fortune for good athletic gear.  For winter clothes try www.uniqlo.com (I love their HeatTech), Old Navy and Target.  My absolute new favorite summer tanks come from Walmart for 4.96 each!

A little color always makes me want to run!

A little color always makes me want to run!

What are you favorite ways to keep running fun?

37 thoughts on “Have Fun With Your Running-A Beginner’s Guide

  1. I totally know that feeling – when you start to feel light and easy in the second part of the run. I call it My Running Nirvana. It was a great surprise for me to discover it, and it doesn’t come every time, but it is amazing.
    I don’t always find running fun, but I do enjoy it every single time. As a beginner, I have so much things to observe and learn about my own body and the running and what I can do and how do I do it, and so on. When I am trying to be conscious about my activity, I am never bored, even though I run the same route time and time again.

    • I love that term “running nirvana.” I think that sums it up perfectly. There is a lot to learn about what seems to be such a simple sport and you do learn so many things about yourself along the way. So glad you have found enjoyment from it!

    • I love to hear that. Big or small, I think you should do what works and motivates you. It is a simple way to mix up your running and that is what matters! So glad to hear you like it.

  2. Great tips! I love to try out new treadmill interval workouts and beat my mileage each time. It is a fun way to compete with yourself and provides instant gratification as you get faster and faster!

  3. The Stop light game is so cute, good idea for sure! I try to get new music or find a friend and make them run with me. Also, podcasts during some runs is super fun and interesting (books on tape work too).

  4. I like to mix things up. This year I’m running shorter races for the most part. When I go on long runs with friends, it’s just for fun.
    Those long rambling conversations are also fun, especially when you are by your self! 😉

    • I thought you were talking about me! I definitely talk to myself on long runs. I think it is a survival technique. I love that you are doing shorter races this year. I have yet to plan a race. I am just enjoying my running for now.

  5. I’m using a couple of these tricks even now because this weather is a major buzzkill and they help to get me outside. I most definitely had to make it to a certain mailbox this morning in order to be finished my run.

    • I actually totally understand this. I think as you continue to run and learn the different techniques that sick part of us enjoys the painful things that make us better runners. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. You are so right and I will take advice on this. Playing games while running does make it more pleasurable and challenging. I don’t always comment but I love keeping up with your blog. I have gotten many good tips from you. 🙂

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