by Anna Bernard
Even the most avid of runners can feel burnt out at times. You’ve been running the same route, at the same time, and eating the same thing for breakfast for weeks now, right? While consistent training is a great thing, it can also get kind of boring doing the same thing over and over. Whether you’re training for your first big event of the year or out there to stay in shape and have fun, we all know what it feels like to get stuck in a rut. Here are a few ideas to help you to switch up the pace (literally).
Add some intervals
Changing your level of effort and speed will not only make your run more interesting but can also help make you faster! Try running a route with some extra hills and challenge yourself to really push your body all the way to the top instead of maintaining speed or slowing down. Or incorporate short bursts of speed every mile, for a block or 30 seconds, to keep you focused and improving. Check out our blog post “Train to Run Faster” for some great ideas for incorporating speed changes into your runs.
Find a New Route
Can you almost see your own little path that’s been worn down by day after day of running the same route? Yeah, that’s how I feel sometimes, too. That’s when I remember that SLC has a ton of awesome places to run, where there are other people to motivate me and beautiful scenery to distract me from my sore legs after last night’s yoga class. (Free does not equal easy, check out our yoga classes on Monday and Tuesday nights!) One of my favorite places to run in town is Sugar House Park, which is about a 1.4 mile loop if you follow the road, and almost always has other runners for camaraderie. If you need to get out of the city, try starting at the City Creek Trailhead of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. If you continue up the west (left) side of the creek for about a mile, you come to a point where the trail splits from Bonneville and bikes are no longer allowed so you can have it all to yourself.
Turn up the Tunes
When I run with music, I often notice myself unconsciously running in time with whatever song happens to be playing. Maybe it’s just my inner band geek coming out, but I find it super helpful to have upbeat, fast tempo music to keep me going, especially if I’m having a slow day. You can put together your own carefully concocted playlist to match your different tempos and moods, or, you can put someone else’s effort to work for you. You guessed it, there’s an app for that! PaceDJ allows you to enter the pace that you would like and then shows you premade playlists to either purchase or play on Spotify. RockMyRun lets you select a playlist based on genre, length of workout, beats per minute, and lyric content (clean vs. explicit) to find playlists put together by DJs to your specifications!
Finally, don’t forget that there’s always the option to do something other than run for a day. Hop on your bike, go for a swim, or play some frisbee. Call up a friend and go on a run with them to catch up instead of meeting for lunch. Doing something active, fun, and different can give you the mental break you need and help rejuvenate you for that next weekend long run. Happy training!