Your relationship with running can be much like any relationship with a partner — you have to work at preventing the relationship becoming stale. To do this requires that you: (1) appreciate what you've got; (2) take stock regularly; (3) add a little spice now and again; (4) be prepared to change the focus of the relationship. The same applies to running.
By following some of the tips below, you can avoid your relationship with running going sour, and prevent boredom setting in.
Remember why you love running
Running is a great form of exercise with multiple health benefits, as well as helping prevent weight gain and reducing your risk of many major diseases. But in addition to the health benefits, running is also useful because it helps give you time out and opens up lots of social opportunities. So how is it that you can forget all this and take all these benefits for granted?
Perhaps, your love for running has gone because you have become obsessed with PBs and segment records, and therefore have taken the fun element out of the sport. If that's the case, then ditch the timing or GPS device for a couple of weeks and just go out there and remind yourself how great it is to run — regardless of the outcome.
Like any relationship, it's important to sit down and take stock. Have you had enough of running because you can't see any signs of progress lately. If so, it may be time to sit down and re-assess your training and see if that is responsible for your performance plateau.
Know before each running session what the purpose of that session is. If all your runs are 40 minute steady sessions, then you need to think about adding some faster and longer interval sessions. Only by running faster sessions, in addition to your usual steady runs, will you really start to see any major improvements coming your way.
Get a gadget
Despite what we’ve said about potentially ditching your gadgets, for those of you who haven’t got one already, then buying one can give you a boost. A report in the journal Physician and Sportsmedicine found that a performance measuring device can help with motivation.
There are an array of options these days, from simple time and distance trackers to more complex devices which may contain heart rate monitoring facilities and more. You’ll get a great boost out of being able to compare your own runs along with being able to compare them with other runners you may follow on a community.
Change your goals
If your annual running goal is always to run a marathon, then consider changing that and focus on different running disciplines. You could focus on trying to improve your 5k time or even do some off-road races. Having a different training goal will require different training methods. You could even consider an ultramarathon or a multi-stage event.
An alternative is to take the focus off your own running and get involved helping a running friend. The sense of satisfaction you'll get from helping someone else progress will rekindle your passion for the sport and will almost certainly get you running again.