When you need a quick dose of motivation, the easiest thing to do is vary your running route. We are at a time when races, group runs, and other fun motivators are in short supply, so switching up how and where you run can make a world of difference and keep you going.
I’m super lucky to have some awesome routes right outside my front door. In the semi-rural suburbs, we have lots of linked neighborhoods with sidewalks and streetlamps. Rarely do I have to run the exact same path, unless I fall into a rut. However, sometimes I get bored and need to vary my running route to stay interested. Here’s how I do it!
The easiest way to vary your running route is to simply reverse it. Seriously. Running your route backwards is a super easy fix to the boredom problem. This is also a great solution when you’re running multiple loops: just run them forwards and backwards to mix it up! I am 100% not recommending you actually run backwards. Nothing good can come of that.
Shut Up And Drive
Bored of your current path? Get in the car and go somewhere else. It’s that easy. I usually don’t like to take on the inconvenience of adding time to my morning rerouting.
Under The Boardwalk
When you live 20 minutes from the coast, it’s pretty easy to get out to the beach for a run. Somehow things are just better when a body of water is involved, so vary your route to find the nearest lake, river, or ocean for your miles. It will make all the difference.
Country Roads, Take Me Home
Do you usually run on asphalt or cement? A fabulous way to mix things up is to head to the nearest trail or green space. You’ll get a change of terrain, some “woodsy” air, and a different challenge as you work to keep your footing on the dirt, roots and rocks. Trail running is always a great answer.
Climb Ev’ry Mountain
While I despise hill work, adding some elevation to your run can definitely alleviate boredom and give you some motivation. In NE Florida, things are pancake flat (and at sea level to boot), so it’s nice to get a bit of a challenge through hills, mountains, and a change in altitude. Go easy, if you’re not used to hills – it can be so different, but so rewarding, too!
Bright Lights, Big City
Another fun option is to move to the city for your run. Urban running is way different than residential, and while you may need to take more social distance precautions, it’s fabulous to pound the pavement in a major metropolitan area. There is a buzz and energy in a city that you won’t get in the burbs. Use that to fuel your motivation and help you keep moving!
Are you a morning runner? Try going out at night. Night owl runner? Flip your schedule and head out first thing in the morning. A simple change of time can refresh and renew the dullest of running routes and keep you in the right frame of mind. Even if it’s not your preferred time of day, it can be fun to turn the tables on what your body expects for a change of pace!
How do you like to vary your running route?
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Great tips, Jenn!
I remember when I spent a few months in southwest Florida I was yearning for a hill.
I love to mix things up between flat, hilly, trails and asphalt runs.
Even the season can make a difference! A snowy trail can be a completely different experience.
Catrina recently posted…Last Run in the Sun
Oh, there are so few hills here. You can get them in the middle of the state, but otherwise, so flat. I wouldn’t even know what to do with a snowy trail!
Lisa @ Mile by Mile says
I run the same routes way too often, but I’m limited by things like where I can run with the stroller and how much time I have. (No time during the week to drive anywhere, and on the weekends I don’t like to add extra time away from home). There aren’t great places to run around here. I miss living in the city where I could run along the harbor or go to various parks just a few miles away!
I would love to live in a city where I have even more options: urban and city running is definitely one of my favorite things to do. It’s a great way to explore and see new things.
These are awesome points! I love varying my routes as it really does help keep me a lot more motivated. I know many people who are very happy doing the same route over and over again (including my husband) but I love changing it up just to keep my mind focused and motivated! My favourite runs are those that take me into the city around Government or corporate buildings as well as the train or bus station for that added adventure!
I don’t mind the repetition. It’s easy and usually it’s dark so I’m not missing too much. But the options are there if I need them.
Deborah Brooks says
That’s fantastic that you have so many different landscapes within such close distances to your house. I’ve stayed a little closer to home this past year but yes reversing our route is always a nice way to mix it up. Can’t wait to go run downtown again! (soon I hope)
It’s really great to mixi it up. I often talk about moving to “land” to a farm, but then I would lose the security of running routes. It’s different being on rural roads with no lights or sidewalks, vs. neighborhoods with all those comforts.
Darlene S Cardillo says
I’m one of those that cannot run around my neighborhood day after day even during a pandemic.
Each day I run in a different place. Of course, eventually I do repeat but variety keeps it interesting,
One of the reasons I miss races and travel.
One of the challenges here is that we do have to run in the early morning because of the heat (ok, not right at the moment, but usually). We already get up so early, that to add driving time to it kind of stinks. But we do what we have to do.
I live in an area with lots of pathways and parks, so I vary my route amongst those often. The variety keeps even high mileage interesting!
Variety definitely helps. I can get about 10 miles just in my neighborhood if I really try. Sometimes it’s nice to stay local because then I know how far I’ve gone and how far is left, but then it’s also nice to just shift the landscape.
Kimberly Hatting says
Yep, I’ve done all of these 😉 Small town living forces one to get creative LOL Just this morning, I did a figure-8 version of a route in my ‘hood. It kept the headwind at bay, and was a fun twist to a sometimes boring scene at 5:00AM.
Ooh, the figure 8 is a nice technique! I like it!
I like to change up my route. When I leave my house I have many choices: trail or road, hills or flat, or a combination of all. I don’t drive to routes very often, though I used to especially when I’d meet up with my running club. And of course, I haven’t traveled to some of my favorite routes along the coast since last March!
These are great ideas. I’ve got a few loops I’ve been doing for the.past.10.months, but miss the variety of my office loops and business trip runs. I have one loop I reverse — that does help.
I run a lot of the same routes but I do like to change it up with a trail run or head to the beach. It’s just so convenient to just run from my front door though.