Combating Running Boredom

One of the biggest complaints I hear about running is that it is boring.  If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they tried to run but it was too boring….well I would have a lot of dollars!

I am not going to completely disagree, because the truth is running has the potential to be pretty dull.  But my mom used to ban this word from our house as kids because she said boredom is a state of mind.  If you are bored, find something to do.

Even the treadmill can have it’s redeeming factors.  So let’s take a look at a few ways you can make running a bit more interesting.

Trashy TV and magazines.  When I first got back into running, I was an exclusive treadmill runner.  To get through my runs I started using “US Weekly” as my method to nail my workouts.  In fact, at one point I used to say things to Rock like, “They say that Angelina and Brad are splitting up.”  Rock would respond with, “Who is they?!”  And I would have to confess that my sources were US Weekly and People Magazine.  But I thoroughly enjoyed my time with these pages and lots of reality TV.

Change it up buttercup.  If you ran loops around a track all day you would most definitely be bored.  Talk about a hamster wheel!  And the same thing holds true to running the same route day in and day out.  But if you were to start trying new routes or even hit up some trails, you would notice that an environmental change does wonders for your workouts.  This is what I love about running.  You can explore so many great places!


Tune into something enjoyable.  I use music a lot when training.  It can be a really effective tool to help you.  Music can motivate and also help you maintain your pace.  It doesn’t have to stop with a play list either.  In fact, right now I can’t figure out how to get my voice commands to not pop up as I run, so I swapped my iTunes for Pandora.  This is fun because I just plug in different genres and listen away.  Everything is unpredictable and with the right channel, I find myself enjoying new songs to add to my playlist for marathon training.

You can also listen to podcasts or radio shows.  I’m a big fan of Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me! and listen to this if I happen to run on a Sunday.  Other runners love TED talks.  The possibilities are endless and with a little noise to block the boredom chatter in your head, you will get lost in the miles.

Solve a problem.  Make a list.  I cannot tell you how many times I have solved a problem during a run.  From dealing with a sad time to figuring out how the heck to get organized, running seems to make everything less frazzled.  In fact, on Saturday I ran 12 miles and figured out just what to pack for an upcoming trip.

Sometimes I go over grocery lists and think of which recipes to use for the week.  I build the grocery list in my head during my run and then repeat it to myself for a few miles so that I don’t forget.

Find a friend or a group.  Misery loves company.  Find some other bored runners or a running group and chat the miles away.

I know that running isn’t always the most enjoyable sport.  But the boredom excuse can easily be combatted.  Try a few of these tricks or share with me a few of your favorite ways to enjoy the run.


16 thoughts on “Combating Running Boredom

  1. I agree with everyone else so far – there is nothing like clearing my head first thing in the morning and thinking through the day.

    Here is another fun option – keep it interesting by counting how many people are using their cell phones while driving and also count the numerous ways they try to hide it … 🙂

    • This made me LOL. I was just chatting on Facebook with someone about how people in our neighborhood use stop signs as more of a recommendation. I see so many parents texting with kids in the back and that infuriates me to no end. I am going to try this idea!

    • I can’t tell you how many times I have come back from a run in a completely different mood or mindset. Rock and I were discussing something one day and I was dead set on one thing and when I came back from my run I was completely in another direction. It was awesome!

  2. Thanks so much for this! I’m training for a half marathon and getting into some longer runs. I’ve not yet found myself bored, but I’m sure in the next few runs to come it might happen. I’ve got some great ideas from you here. Thanks again!

    • Congrats on training! Be patient with yourself. The more you run and the more your body gets used to it, you will start to just settle in and find that the miles start passing by easier and you can get lost in your thoughts. Enjoy your training!=

  3. You’re so right. Out of nowhere I sometimes figure things out in the middle of a run. With the exception of treadmills, I love how boring/not-pumped-full-of-distractions running is. I crave the peace of having nothing else to do but keep going and look at birds and passing dogs. It’s the best part of my day!

    • Haha, it helps me most of the time too. Some days I get more discouraged than others. But honestly, nothing has made me feel more confident and happy (besides Rock of course) than running. It is the mental eraser I often need to wipe the slate clean and come back a better person.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s