Ever notice how the things you actually enjoy doing are the ones you tend to stick with for the long haul? We’re pretty obsessed with the idea that running can and should feel awesome, even when you’re working hard and your muscles are getting sore. We rounded up some of our favorite approaches for putting the fun into running—check them out.
1. Focus on your surroundings
Look at your next run as an opportunity to explore a beautiful place. Rather than mapping out a route that largely resembles your commute to work, find a new location to get lost in! It can be a scenic park, a path along along the water, or even a cute, quaint side street you just don’t go down every day. Focus on taking in the sights and noticing new landmarks rather than worrying about your heart rate or pace.
2. Reward yourself
Rewards can come in all shapes and sizes, but there’s no doubt that treating yourself after a run is an excellent form of motivation. You may want to plan a fun night out with friends the evening after a longer run, or you can buy yourself a colorful new running accessory after you’ve hit a new milestone. Maybe you even enjoy a rare dessert the night following your run—and be sure to connect RunKeeper with your MyFitnessPal account so you can make sure you’re not going overboard on this one.
3. Celebrate your progress
Remember back when you thought you couldn’t even do this running thing? Reflect on that whenever your running routine is starting to feel a little dry. Look at every metric as a way to view progress and improvement, including your pace, the number of times you run each week, the calories you’ve burned, and the length of each run.
4. Better together
That old saying “two are better than one”? It’s especially true when it comes to running. Running with a buddy means you can combine catching up with a friend (or making a new one!) and your workout. Complete these runs at an easy enough pace to hold a conversation. Don’t have any friends who are into running? Don’t fret; just look for local running clubs in your area. Running and sporting goods stores often host them and attract runners of all experience and skill levels. You’ll have plenty of runner friends before you know it!
5. Awesome tunes
Need some spice for your run? Put together a playlist just for the occasion. Go for high-energy, fast-paced songs if you’re trying to push the pace, or some more reflective, calming tunes if you want to just zone out and feel that famed runner’s high. Don’t have a knack for DJing? The music service Spotify has categories of playlists focused specifically on running, while RockMyRun is an app dedicated entirely to putting together great mixes for runners. You don’t need to be the expert here!
6. Hit the races!
The beauty of races is that they tend to combine all the elements we described above into one magical recipe. They’ll take you through a new course, offer healthy but delicious snacks for refueling after, and are a great motivation to improve your pace and set goals. Oh and do you like the sound of hundreds of people cheering just for you as you cross the finish line? Yeah, we do too.