“Why do you like running?”
“Have you always been a big runner?”
“I hate running.”
“I don’t think I could ever be a runner.”
“Don’t you get bored?”
Above is a selection of DMs that I typically get on Instagram when I mention running, ultramarathons, or racing. And I get it, a lot of people don’t “get” running. They think it’s boring, tedious, “bad for women” (cue: eye-roll), too hard.
A lot of you ask me how you can fall in love with running and I have a few thoughts about it. For one, you don’t have to love running. Forcing yourself to love something is not productive. That being said if you like running, but maybe have lost a little of the psych with training there are a few things you can do.
/ Book a race in 8-10 weeks at a distance you feel comfortable so you have a goal and a “why” for all the training. Focus intensely on your goal. Every time you don’t want to train anymore or don’t want to lace up bring it back to that race on the horizon and use that to keep you disciplined.
/ Try a distance you’ve never stepped into before. If you only race 5Ks it’s understandable that you feel in a rut. A lot of people get stuck in a 13.1 rut because in most cases the next race is 26.2 and that’s intimidating. The marathon is not nearly as scary as a lot of people make it out to be. I’m not trying to rob you of your accomplishments if you’ve run a marathon, but the distance is getting incredibly saturated for a reason, people are waking up to how possible it is. If you’re stuck in a 13.1 rut try a marathon or look for a 15-18 mile distance race. Or loop in a friend and just hit the trails.
/ Focus on time not distance. If going out for a five mile run sounds like torture one day switch up your mindset. Instead of focusing on the distance you have to be out running start thinking about the time. If I have a day that I need to run 10 miles I’ll focus on running for 90 minutes instead of the miles. It keeps me a lot more relaxed, especially because long days are typically more about time on your feet than actual mileage, meaning that you can run a little under-pace (any maybe not hit the full 10 miles) but still get major benefits from moving for 90 minutes.
And do I get bored on runs? Sometimes yes, but mostly no. I run body checks to see how I’m feeling, I play little games with myself, I solve long math equations, I try to memorize a sudoku puzzle and do it throughout my run, I listen to podcasts. Running in a city is definitely more boring than a trail run because there isn’t a lot of “focus on the task at hand” needed. If you’re someone who gets bored during runs remember that it’s a massive strength. It means you’re able to get in the zone quickly, hold pace, and cruise. If your mind needs an activity check out one of the ones I listed and you’ll fly.