Running is a great sport. It’s lots of fun and great for the cardiovascular system as well as being a fantastic full body workout. It’s one of my very first fitness loves.
But if you’ve been a regular runner for a while now it might be starting to feel like the ‘same old, same old‘. If you do something long enough the same way, every time, it could wind up doing two things:
1) boring you
2) no longer challenging you
And, while boredom is one thing, if your running routine is no longer challenging you, then that could be a detriment to your fitness and health goals.
If you’re looking to advance in distance or speed, doing the same thing over and over again is probably going to result in the exact opposite, and that is: stagnation.
So, if you’re interested in continuing your growth as a running, it’s necessary not only to change things up but to make your routines harder, so your body can respond and grow in the direction you want.
Here’s some great ideas for making YOUR boring running routines more challenging:
Incorporate Hills Into Your Route: This is pretty easy to accomplish. Just find a path that has a few hills on it and run there instead of your usual flat path.
Try Some Intervals: Also extremely easy to accomplish. All you really do is run faster and harder than usual for a set amount of time (ie. one minute) then run slower and easier for another set amount of time (ie. another one minute interval).
Or you could do longer intervals of 10 minutes hard running and 10 minutes easy running.
Heck, you can do hillsprints on just one hill. Just find a great hill with a good incline and sprint up it and return to the bottom at a slow easy jog, turn around and sprint back up it. Repeat until you’re feeling thoroughly thrashed.
Run In The Sand: This is pretty easy to accomplish too, if you happen to have a beach nearby. Without a beach this may be more of a challenge.
But, if you can find yourself a good long length of sand at a beach you’ll find running in the sand quite a bit more difficult than running on a hard surface, due to it’s unstable nature. You’ll find yourself digging in and pushing off harder to keep the same pace than you’re your usual path which is probably stable and hard.
Run In The Water: Similar to running in the sand, but it’s the added resistance of the water that makes your run harder. And the deeper into the water you go, the harder your run will be.
You can do this in a swimming pool for a more stable surface under your feet, or better yet get yourself into an ocean. Now you’ve got unstable sand under your feet to make it that much harder. And the deeper you go here, the harder it will get due to the waves.
Of course you could go as deep as your shoulders but I guarantee you won’t really be doing a whole bunch of running at that point. More like swimming! I recommend knee-deep water as a good depth to reasonably increase the difficulty of your runs.
Weight Yourself: Add some more weight to your body before you head out to make yourself heavier and the run harder. But, a word of caution on this one. If you’re going to add weights to your bodyweight before you go running, opt for a backpack or a weighted belt rather than ankle weights. Ankle weights can focus a lot of additional stress on your leg joints so it’s best to avoid that wherever possible.
Any of these tips will help you intensify your runs and make them more challenging so you can continue on your path to improved endurance and speed.