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11 Easy Ways To Make Running More Fun

Can running be enjoyable? Are you in the camp of those who love running and can’t wait to lace up their trainers every day? Or is running something that fills you with dread? Thoughts of pain, aching and gasping for air.

Even life-long runners can fall out of love with running. We run too much, with too many hard days, or too little, and put ourselves under pressure to perform. Read on to find out how to make running fun and enjoyable for both beginner runners and those who’ve been running for years.

have fun running with friends

How To Make Running Fun

I’m a great believer in finding an exercise you enjoy if you want to get fit, lose weight and have a healthy lifestyle. So I’m not going to convince you to become a runner if you’re adamant it’s not your thing.

Just as long as you do find your thing – it could be badminton, dancing, yoga, walking… anything that gets you moving instead of sitting on the couch.

But I do think running is one of those activities EVERYBODY hates when they first start. It can be really hard. Impossible to breathe, your body aches, and the hills feel like torture.

It’s okay to hate running but I do think you need to give it a proper chance first. The benefits of running are so huge, that everyone should at least give it a go.

You can learn how to breathe while running and follow tips to make running feel easier. But how do you make running more fun?

Why Do You Hate Running?

If you’re going to make running more fun, it helps to know why you hate running in the first place. It normally comes down to three main reasons:

  • Negative running associations
  • Feeling self-conscious
  • Running too far or too fast for your fitness level.

So let’s take a look at these:

Negative Running Associations

Do you have any bad memories of running? Maybe you were forced to run as part of a school sports team and you hated every second.

Or maybe you’ve tried to run in the past and gave up because it was just too hard. Well, it’s time to change that mindset!

To make running fun, it’s important to forget about those bad experiences and start afresh. Approach each run with a positive attitude and an open mind.

It can help to think about running as a child. All young children run around and they love it! They don’t think about how hard it is or how out of breath they get. They just enjoy the feeling of moving their bodies.

Try to approach each run with that childlike sense of fun and freedom. Remember your first step running is often the hardest. It gets easier.

make running more run

Feeling Self-Conscious

This is a big one, especially if you’re running for weight loss. We can be so self-conscious about our bodies and how we look when we’re running.

Runners come in all shapes and sizes. So even if you’re overweight, you won’t be the only runner carrying some extra pounds – most people will applaud you for doing something about it.

The best way to deal with feeling self-conscious is to find a place to run where you feel comfortable. If you’re self-conscious about running in public, try running on a treadmill at home or in the gym.

Or if you prefer to be outdoors, find a quiet park or trail where you won’t feel like people are watching you. When I first started running I used to run away from prying eyes in the local wood. It was somewhere I didn’t feel self-conscious if I stopped to walk. (These days I never have any qualms about walking when I’m out for a run – it’s always okay to take walking breaks).

Once you find a place where you feel comfortable, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your run so much more.

Running Too Far Or Too Fast

This is a common mistake people make when they start running. They either try to do too much too soon or they compare themselves to other runners and try to keep up with them.

In the first week of January, I will always be overtaken by some new running zealot sprinting down the street. (They’re usually male and under 30). I always know I’m going to catch them up a few blocks later – normally red-faced, heart rate pounding, and doubled over.

For me it’s entertaining. For the new runner, it’s humiliating but easily avoidable. Just start slowly on your first run! It takes time to build your fitness levels. So always run at your own pace.

For most new runners, following an easy run-walk fitness program where you alternate walking and running is the best way to enjoy running. The best-known run-walk program is Couch to 5K and it’s a great way to make running fun.

Develop A Running Habit

Consistency is key to enjoying your running. Once you develop a regular habit, it will become easier and more enjoyable.

I find the best way to develop a habit is to start small and build up gradually. Just commit to running three times a week for 20 minutes. That’s less than an hour out of your week! It can help to always run at the same time of day.

If you can stick to that, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your fitness levels will improve. And before you know it, you’ll be running for longer and enjoying it more.

But what if you really hate running or you’re stuck in a running rut? If that’s you, there are still plenty of ways to make it more fun.

ways to enjoy runnig

11 Easy Ways To Enjoy Your Running

These are just some of the ideas I’ve come up with to add fun to your running routine. I’ve sure with a little thought you’ll be able to add to this list and make the miles fly by!

#1 Find A Great Running Route

Running is a chance to explore so go and find a new route! You can see so much more running than when you whiz past a place in a car. Make the most of it!

Seek out some local routes that you find uplifting. Ones that give you positive vibes such as running through your local park or along a river bank. Or maybe just streets with a sense of history. Tune into your surroundings and be inspired by the places where you run.

#2 Slow Down

Are you pushing yourself too hard? It’s okay to be a slow runner, especially when you’re new to running.

The majority of your runs should be at an easy pace where you’re able to hold a conversation. Find out more about how to start running and your Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE).

If you’re a beginner runner, make sure you have the right running gear and running shoes. It can make a huge difference to your running if you’re wearing the right shoes.

Run in the present moment and enjoy the feeling of easy running. Don’t worry too much about your running form – that will improve with time. Just concentrate on moving and stop when you need to. You want to save some energy for your next run!

You don’t need to compare yourself with other runners. Everyone improves with time and consistency. Right now you need to make running fun by finding a running speed that feels good and doable.

#3 Speed Up

On the other hand, if you’ve been running for a while and find yourself in a rut, it might be time to spice up your runs with some faster-paced running and speed play.

One way to do this is by adding interval training or fartlek to your runs. This means running at a higher intensity for short periods of time followed by an easy jog or walk to recover.

Changing the intensity of your runs can help you break out of your rut, but it will also improve your fitness levels and make the miles fly by!

#4 Run With A Friend

One of the best ways to make running more fun is to do it with a friend.

Not only will you have someone to chat with, but you’ll also be more likely to stick to your runs – there’s the commitment to meeting up with your friend and not letting them down.

Often a running buddy will have ideas for new running routes – a change of scenery can add a lot of variety and fun to your runs. You’ll find that time flies!

#5 Try A Running Streak

If you’re looking for a challenge, why not try a running streak? And no this has nothing to do with getting naked!

This is where you commit to daily runs for a certain period of time or distance. It might be for 30 days, 60 days, or even longer! The distance can be as little as one mile a day. This isn’t a time for building long runs – keep them short.

A running streak is a simple way to improve your motivation and make running more fun as you tick off the days. It’s also an easy way to develop a running habit as you’ll get used to running so often.

Just be sure to listen to your body and take a day off if you need to. You don’t want to overdo it and get injured. Running every day can boost your energy level and helps develop good habits.

If you’re interested in trying a running streak, find out what happened when I ran every day for a month

#6 Set A Target

Most people find running fun when they have a target to aim for. It could be a race, a personal best time, or even just running for a certain period of time.

Setting a target gives you something to focus on and work towards. And the sense of achievement when you reach your fitness goal and cross that finish line is unbeatable!

If you’re new to running, start with an achievable target such as completing a couch to 5K training program – you could raise money for charity by entering your first race!

For more experienced runners it could be completing a half marathon, your first marathon, or a destination race where you take part in a big event. It needs to be something that inspires you and makes you want to follow your training plan.

#7 Forget About Targets

Sometimes more experienced runners can burn out chasing personal best times or race goals.

And if running starts to feel like a chore, it could be time to forget about targets for a while.

Running should be fun so don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Take some time off from racing and focus on enjoying your runs.

There’s nothing wrong with setting targets but make sure they’re something you really want to achieve. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out by your running something has gone wrong.

Step back from the training plans and just run for fun. Follow the trails you enjoy, run with friends, and get in touch with your real reasons for running.

how to make running fun

#8 Join A Running Group

Most people enjoy being sociable and running with others. If you find it hard to stick to your runs or just want to meet new people, joining a friendly local running group for a training run could be the answer.

Running clubs and group runs are great for all levels from beginners to experienced runners. Most have sub-groups that run at different paces – so there should one that’s right for you.

You can normally find a running club in your area online or by asking around at local races.

#9 Enter A Race

A lot of new runners avoid racing. There’s an idea you have to be a good runner to enter a race. That’s just WRONG! Racing is for everyone!

Even if you come last it doesn’t matter. You’re still out there trying your best and running. And other runners appreciate that you’re trying your hardest. So the last runner often gets the biggest round of applause!

Races can be fun. They’re not all scary. It’s a chance to test yourself, see how far you’ve come, and give yourself a goal to focus on.

If the thought of racing scares you, start with a fun run or local parkrun. These are non-competitive events that welcome all abilities. You could be running alongside children, parents pushing prams, and octogenarians!

#10 Run Like A Child

Let go of your inhibitions and just run! The simple things in life are important. Feel the wind in your hair, flap your arms around and run as if it’s the most natural thing in the world to do – it is! And it’s a fun way to enjoy your running.

#11 Make Your Run An Adventure

Head out for a run with no plans and see where you end up. Follow your nose and run down that path you’ve never been down before.

Stop to admire the view, take some photos, and explore new places. Running should be an adventure so make it one!

Run to a coffee shop or a local beauty spot. Mix things up with an overnight run to a bothy, try trail running, enter some trail races, or take part in a mud run.

These are just a few ideas to help you get started. The good thing about running is there are endless ways to make it more fun. Just find what works for you and stick with it. With a bit of imagination, running can be the best part of your day!

Do you have any other tips to make running more fun? Let me know in the follow-up comments below.