So often I hear from "non-runners" that they don't like to run because it's boring! I honestly have never understood this ad I've found running to be cathartic but as I was out today I got to thinking about boredom and how I keep it at bay during my runs. Here are my tips:
1. Enjoy the quiet time: For me, having 3 small children at home means being surrounded by noise and chaos. The time I get alone to run is an a mini vacation for me. I relish the quiet time and enjoy hearing the sound of my own thoughts and breath again.
2. Get lost in your mind: I like to let my thoughts wander a bit sometimes and reflect on recent interactions I've had, books I've read or even tv programs I've watched and then re-write parts of them or predict what's coming. I've also been known to lose mile to my thoughts just redesigning my house!
3. Solve a problem: It there is a conflict in my life I find that running, like nothing else, can help shed clarity on a solution. Simply reviewing the situation and then visioning myself with the results I want lets my mind start working as I legs keep pumping.
4. Absorb your surroundings: This one seems obvious but can pick me up like nothing else. Since we are normally traveling at 60 mph on 4 wheels, settling down to a 8mph pace really lets you see whats around. I like watching the deer frolic early in the morning if I'm outside or watching families from the window while they are maneuvering themselves through the parking lot when I'm on a treadmill.
5. Play a game: If I need a little more focus and am struggling I set a point at which to stop running or slow down. It may be a lamppost or bush somewhere ahead or the end of a particular song in my playlist. This helps me motor through the doldrums and I often find I can go beyond the arbitrary point that I've picked. It's also a good way to do speed work.
6. Self visualization: Whether your running in a race, training for a competition or just running for your fitness it can be very helpful to see yourself at the end of this run with the results that you desire. It may be blazing across the finish line, or in a cute bikini or it may just be visualization of the cool shower and big cup of coffee that you get to enjoy when the run is finished! Athletes use this all the time to help accomplish their goals, I use it to start my salivary glands!
So the next time someone asks you how you keep from getting bored while running share this list with them.