How to NOT get bored when running alone

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Today I wanna tackle a problem that seems to discourage a lot of people from running longer distances or keeps some from running regularly in the first place. Quite some friends tell me, they would never be able to run alone for hours because they get bored. Here are some answers I give them.

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Be aware of your environment

forest

Probably the best thing to do is to enjoy the environment you’re running in. One of the great advantages of running is to be outside and even in the middle of nature if possible. If you can run in a beautiful landscape then this task might be pretty easy to achieve. Just look around you, find oddly formed trees, animals or a nicely shaped rock. Look how your surrounding changes as you get another perspective when running in the same direction. Savor the different light and colors if the sun disappears behind clouds or the rain touches the different surfaces.

This is not only a way to keep your mind and senses occupied but also to learn more about the environment you live and run in. Be sure though you don’t trip over because you didn’t focus enough on any obstacles that might be in your way.

Solve a problem

math problem

Most of us have problems every now and then or have questions that we want to answer but never have the time to think about. Longer training runs are a great way to think about anything that bothers you or think about anything you’re interested in. The fresh air, the changing views and the movements of your body helps you get new and fresh ideas that might be helpful to find a solution for a problem you had for a while.

Some time ago I read a quote from an ultra runner that said: “If you have any unanswered questions just run an ultra and you’ll find the answer.”. So you don’t need to run a 100 miler now but this shows that this is something long distance runners use to get their mind of the exhaustion and challenges still in front of them.

Listen to some music

music

This is the classic and a kind of obvious thing most runners do already. Listening to music while running does not only lower the chance of getting bored but it can also give you a push right when you need it. If you are really into music it is also a nice way to get to know new music with all the great streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music that are out there nowadays.

Make sure you use some kind of sports headphones that don’t break the first time they touch your sweat. Also the cordless bluetooth headphones prevent an annoying cable hanging around all the time.

If you need some inspiration for your running playlist I’m happy to refer here to my weekly series of running tunes. Every Friday I publish a song I used or still listen to during my runs and outline why I think it’s great for a run.

Visualize your goals

runner

This is something I love to do during my long runs as a preparation for a marathon or ultra race especially in the last hour or so when I’m already pretty exhausted. It’s not only great for keeping your brain working but also reminds you why you are working out and spending all this time training so hard. Just try to think about the moment you’re crossing the finish line with your family or friends waiting to congratulate you. Imagine the last meters of your anticipated race, the speaker saying your name and the spectators at the side of the course cheering. If you already finished a race try to bring the feeling of finishing back to your mind.

Visualizing is a common technique for mental training so it does not only prevent you from getting bored but also combines your endurance training with mental exercise.

 

These are just some things that I usually do to not get bored while running. I’m happy to learn what your techniques are. Let us know in the comments section below.

Happy running
mikula

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3 comments on “How to NOT get bored when running alone”

  • Cheryl Osler says:

    I had to quit running when I wrecked my knee so bad I had to have a total knee replacement and your post brought back those wonderful memories I had from running. I think I solved more problems during runs than any other time in my life. I really miss it!

    • Mikula says:

      Oh no I’m sad to here that Cheryl, that really sucks! I hope you find another activity that lets you balance your life and solve any problems!

  • Georgia says:

    Running is brilliant for clearing the mind and solving problems! Great post.

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