5 Ways to Make Running Less Boring

Lisa Jhung
Writer and Author of Running That Doesn't Suck: How To Love Running (Even If You Think You Hate It)
August 16, 2023

Changing up the where, when, and/or with whom can improve your relationship with running.

Even seasoned runners become bored of their running routines. If you’re new to running, have yet to reach a runner’s high, or struggle with getting out the door for any reason, the thought of boredom can compound a lack of motivation. There’s hope: between a couple mental tricks and some practical advice for changing things up, it’s possible to eliminate boredom from your running. Imagine that!

As with anything in life, if we get into a repetitive habit where nothing ever changes, we’re sure to become both complacent...and bored. Changing things up can reinvigorate your running by breathing new life into it—your route, the type of surface, the time of day, the company you keep, even the gear you use.

Change your route

Mixing up the route you run/run-walk isn’t only good in fighting boredom, it’s also good for both your body and your brain. Your muscles get used to the same inclines and declines, the same right and left turns, the same pauses at certain stoplights. In fact, if you run the same route all the time and haven’t seen improvements in your running, that could be the reason alone.

Changing up your route is also good for your brain. New scenes, new potholes to negotiate, etc. provides healthy stimulation.

Try a new running surface

If you always run pavement, try a natural surface, like a wood-chipped nature path, or a dirt road. If you’re always running trails, adding a session at a track can spice things up.

And if you’re always on a treadmill, take it outside! Likewise, runners of all sorts can have fun (for real) doing a treadmill session once in a while—treadmill runs can be good opportunities to gage your fitness, play with inclines and declines, and experiment with various speeds.

Experiment with time of day

If you have the luxury of heading out on a run at various times during the day, try a time that’s not “normal” for you. If you’re becoming burnt out on early morning runs, for instance, try sneaking out during a lunch break or at the end of a workday.

This can be a totally different experience. You may just find the new time of day is your body’s preferred time for a run.

Change your company

If you always run alone, joining up with a running buddy or group can be a blessing.

If you always run with the same one person or people, head out alone sometime.

Change your gear

If you’re someone who runs with tech—be it, a GPS watch, or headphones, try going au natural once in a while. You’ll be tuning into your body and running by feel, and noticing your surroundings in a whole new way. If you never run with tech and need a change-up, even running with something simple like a chronograph watch to time intervals, can make it feel like a new practice.

Change your mindset

My main mission with my second book, “Running That Doesn’t Suck: How To Love Running (Even If You Think You Hate It)” is to help people find a form of running that makes them crave it. I want to help people improve their relationships with running. All of the above ideas for changing things up can be extended into approaches that might just help you find a way to not just like running, but love it.