It’s easy to get stuck in a running rut. If you run the same route at the same pace on the same days each week, you understand. While this can help us build stamina, variety is what keeps workouts feeling fresh. This fall, bring back the fun and excitement of running by changing up your routine in one (or all!) of the following ways.
1. Head for the hills
Whether it’s a local trail or hilly neighborhood, look for steep areas to explore; even a set of stairs will work. Uphill training can test our aerobic fitness, leg strength and mental stamina. Start by including one or two hills in your regular route, and slowly build up your hill-running stamina.
2. Sign up for a race
In need of some extra motivation? Imagine a crowd of people cheering for you and hundreds of likeminded runners on race day. For beginners and those who just want to have a good time, themed runs like the Color Run are a boredom-busting combo of fun and fitness. Meanwhile, seasoned runners might like to test their mettle with a marathon or triathlon. To up your running game in the months before a race, consider training with a running group or club in your area.
3. Pick a rocking playlist
Speaking of running motivation, studies confirm that running to a beat may help us run longer with less tiredness, better breath control and more optimism. To really pump you up, choose tunes with a fast beat and synchronize your movements with the songs’ tempo.
4. HIIT it
High-intensity interval training (or HIIT) involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by brief recovery intervals. For busy runners who have limited time to work out, HIIT is your new best friend. This training method can also burn more calories (in less time!) than exercising at a steady pace. To get started, try this HIIT workout two to three times per week in place of long-distance runs:
1. Sprint for four minutes.
2. Jog or walk quickly for three minutes.
3. Repeat four to five times.
5. Walk it off
If your daily jog is becoming a pain (literally or figuratively), your body might be telling you to slow down. Train smart by taking breaks from your running routine now and then. In the meantime, try walking for fitness. Running may burn more calories than moderate-intensity walking, but both have been shown to reduce our risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease.
6. Go off the beaten path
Forest trails offer a ready source of scenic entertainment. From chirping birds to fresh floral smells, nature can be a welcome change for those who run on sidewalks. You won’t miss the honking cars and exhaust fumes! Getting in touch with green spaces can also lower stress and promote mental well-being.