Why do you run? For health reasons? To get ready for a race? Because someone said you should? Whatever your reasons are, hopefully running is also enjoyable. Let’s face it, if something is optional (which running generally is) and it’s not fun, we’re less likely to do it. If you’re dreading going out for your run, if you’re plagued by negative thoughts while you’re running, or if you don’t experience that “runner’s high” when you’re done, why continue?
If you find that you’re no longer enjoying running, before you throw in the towel along with your running shoes, try one or more of these ideas to find the fun again:
- Change it up. Make a change in when or how you’re doing your running. Perhaps you’re struggling with early morning runs – try the evening instead. If you’ve been running on the trail for a while, what about the track or streets? By changing up the timing and scenery, you might find that you’re exposed to new sensory experiences and runners you haven’t met before, and might find your enjoyment start to increase.
- Check in with your inner voice. The way we think affects the way we feel (which affects our running). So, if your inner voice is a Debbie-Downer, then you’re probably not having as much fun as you could be. When that Negative-Ned starts chiming in about how you’re tired, that the run’s going to take too long, or that you have better things to do with your time, allow your Positive-Pat to speak up. Remind yourself about the benefits of running, what you like about it, and how it’s helping you achieve your goals. By creating more positive thoughts, this leads to more positive feelings, and possibly, and even better run! What’s not fun about that?
- Take a break. While it may not be time to move onto an entirely different hobby, it might be a good idea to hit pause, just for a couple of days. If you’re in training, you might want to check in with your coach or look at your program to see how this fits in, but taking a break can give us time to rest, reset, and even miss running. When you take time away, if you realize that you’re having more fun without it, look at why. If it’s because you’re better rested or you have more time for other activities, perhaps you need to adjust your schedule to also enjoy running.
- Get a buddy. Running solo can be nice, but it can also get boring. You don’t need to add a partner to every run, but consider running with a friend every now and then. This can become something to look forward to, because you can socialize and get your run in. No one in your circle you want to run with? That’s okay – plan a meet-up for after a run, like grabbing coffee or lunch. This way you can get your training in, but you have something to look forward to when you’re done.
You probably run a lot. It’s normal that there will be highs and lows with how much enjoyment you experience. Running may not always be fun, but it should be fun sometimes. If it isn’t, why do it? If you notice that you’re not enjoying your runs, give these ideas a try.