Even the most enthusiastic runners lose motivation sometimes. The key to overcoming this is maintaining variety in your training routine. From swapping the time you head out to mixing up who you run with, there are plenty of simple strategies you can adopt to keep things fresh.
Here are a handful of tactics to ensure your fitness plans don’t succumb to that week five blah.
1. Hit the steps
The well-trod neighbourhood run can get a little tedious after a long training period, so find a path that takes you to a decent staircase you can run up, before walking back down. Repeat a few times, using the walk down as an opportunity to catch your breath before firing up on the steps again. You’ll start to build up strength in your legs while getting a great cardio workout. If you don’t have any stairs in your neighbourhood, try doing some step ups on a park bench.
2. Change the time of day
Switching up the time of day you hit the pavement is the simplest way to help your regular jog feel less ho-hum. When you head out at a different time, you’ll notice the change in weather, light and activity, as well as feeling different energy levels in your own body. Try a lunchtime workout, think about running to or from work, or make a big batch of meals over the weekend to give yourself an extra 30 minutes in the evening for exercise.
3. Join a running group
There are so many running groups gathering in parks and reserves around Australia and sharing in a collective love of running. Whether it’s informal or formal, they are a wonderful way to meet like-minded people, learn from experienced runners and push yourself as you begin mixing up the pace of your usual runs. Use meetup.com, ask at your local gym or just head down to your neighbourhood park to find a running group you can join. Signing up for local fun runs are a great way for first-timers to immerse themselves in the running community.
4. Head for the hills
If you’re training for a long distance event, your training program will most likely include a longer run on the weekends. After a few weeks of training, you may start to find it challenging to map out runs of 15 km or more in cities that don’t get too repetitive. This is the best time to hit the great outdoors for some trail running. Jump in the car and drive (if you’re not lucky enough to live in an area with local running trails) and get back to that fresh, clean feeling of running in nature. Test your coordination on uneven surfaces and lose yourself in the scenic landscape – just ensure your running shoes have enough stability. Check out our guide to trail running gear to make sure you’re prepared!
5. Challenge yourself to a time trial
Get competitive, get fun, measure your performance… there’s no better way to inject a little oomph in your training than by setting yourself some personal challenges. Whether it’s using a smartphone app to track time and distance or seeing how far you get into your favourite running playlist, a little healthy competition (against yourself) is an age-old way to fire up your fitness routine.