Generally speaking, I’m a fan of running routines.
My running is most consistent when I get up and out the door before I even think about it. Hills on Wednesday, long runs on Saturday. It’s just what I do.
But it’s a fine line between a routine and a rut.
Every now and again, my (usually) beneficial running routine is the thing that’s holding me back.
Bust Your Running Rut
Here are 30 ways you can bust your running rut.
Have a go-to running route?
Run it in the opposite direction.
Make (or find on Spotify) a high school throwback playlist to listen to while you run.
Dedicate each mile of your run to a person or thing you are grateful for.
Go It Alone
Just you, your thoughts, and your running shoes.
Notice something on your usual running route you’ve never noticed before.
I ran by Children’s Fairyland in Oakland for years before I noticed a large hedge by the entrance is shaped like a dragon.
Obvious once you pay attention.
Run in the middle of the day.
Add in some planks (or other core moves) post-run.
You know you should cool-down properly, but you usually don’t do you?
Say hi to other runners you pass, especially those you see often.
Bonus points if you learn the names of those you run by often.
Make Your Own Fuel
Run a distance when you’d usually fuel on-the-run, but instead of grabbing a prepackaged gel, make your own.
Do some post-run yoga
Blaze a Trail
Run a new route.
Use the Alltrails app to find a new trail route, or just turn left instead of right on your usual, every-day route.
See where it takes you.
Take a dog running.
Don’t have one? Borrow a friend’s or volunteer at an animal rescue that uses dog joggers.
Run at night (assuming you can do so safely).
Do a trail run.
Leave the pavement behind and feel the dirt beneath your feet.
Head For the Hills
Run a route with a whole lotta hills.
Name That Dog
Distract yourself on the run by coming up with the perfect name for every dog you pass.
Is that black lab more of a Rufus or a Frank?
Run first thing in the morning.
No tech allowed! No GPS, no watch, no music.
Neither Rain Nor Sleet…
Run in the rain, snow, or whatever inclement weather you have, assuming you can do so safely.
Try a Threesome
Run in a group.
(Honestly introverts, it won’t kill you).
What’s That Jam?
Listen to a genre of music you don’t usually listen to on the run.
Add in a few squats and lunges mid-run.
Bonus points if you do a full strength workout after your run.
Make a playlist that evokes a bucket list travel destination.
Bonus points if that destination is a racecation destination.
Extra deluxe bonus points if you actually start planning that racecation.
Don’t Forget Your Arms
Add in a few push-ups or tricep dips mid-run.
The upper body is so easy to overlook.
Have Some Heart
Run based on heart rate, not pace.
Swap a playlist with BFF or significant other.
Take a Trip
Run in a new city or a new state.
Be a Flatlander
Run the flattest and fastest route around.
Be a Podperson
Listen to a new podcast on the run.
Bonus points if it’s a running podcast.
Bonus Running Rut Busters
Time or Distance?
If you usually run by time, run based on distance.
If you usually run based on distance, run by time.
Train for an Odd Distance
After years of training for 5ks or half marathons (or whatever your distance of choice is), you really know your training plan (maybe by heart).
But if you’re training for an 8k or 25k?
That is a whole new ball game.
If you ever run races, you should volunteer at them too.
You’ll never look at a race the same way again.
Fartleks are bursts of speed added into a run.
On an otherwise normal run, speed up until…. whenever. Until you get to that lamppost or stop sign up ahead or until you just get tired.
You don’t need to hit the track or calculate fancy splits to do speedwork.
Expand your fitness horizons and try that new class at the gym.
Do regular yoga or barre classes.
Hire a Coach
Get a second opinion on your goals and your training plan.
You likely can do way more than you think, but it may take a second pair of eyes on your training plan to see it.