On the Run:

Boredom Busters

There's a fine line between a routine that makes you feel grounded, and a routine that grinds you down. It's very easy to slog along on the same route, day after day, week after week. Over time, this can lead to burnout and even injury. Here are seven ways to reinvent your weekly running regime, and restore the fun in your running life.

Run by Time, Not Mileage

Runners tend to be mileage junkies. But measuring the amount of time you spend on your feet, without regard to how much ground you're covering or what pace you're sustaining can remove performance pressure and make the run more enjoyable. And because you can tick off minutes faster than you can tick off miles, the workout will feel like it passes much faster.

Leave the Watch at Home

If you don't have a deadline to be home, just set out to run by feel. If you make it impossible to track pace and mileage, you'll be forced to tune into factors like how labored your breathing is, how quickly your legs are turning over, whether that old hamstring injury is acting up, and how quickly your heart is pounding. Being able to sense those factors will help you more strategically mete out your efforts on race day.

Get a New Toy

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Try a new app to track your mileage, or if you usually track mileage, try using a heart-rate monitor to measure your effort. You might also track steps per minute or calorie burn. Even something as simple as a new headlamp, flashlight, hydration belt or jacket can help freshen up your routine.

Run with Others or Go Solo

If you're a confirmed solo runner, join a group workout once a week. If you're always with a group, try venturing out on your own. Having a balance of personal time and social time in your running life will help it feel less stale.

Leave the Earphones at Home

If you regularly run with headphones, try leaving them at home once a week. Tune in to the natural sounds around you—the birds singing, the wind rustling through the trees, and the sounds of the city waking up around you.

Run a 5K

This is a great way to explore new routes that you might not discover on your own, meet other runners, and get a good baseline of fitness that you can use to set future goals.

Go On a Destination Run

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Pick a destination a set number of miles from home, and have a friend or family member drop you off there. Then run home. That is a great way to avoid cutting a run short!

About Jen Van Allen

Jen has spent the past six years working as Special Projects Editor for Runner's World magazine, and writing stories for the magazine. Her books, The Runner's World Big Book of Marathon and Half-Marathon Training, (Rodale Books, June 2012) The Runner's World Big Book of Running for Beginners and The Runner's World Training Journal for Beginners, (Rodale Books, April 2014) are available wherever books are sold. She is currently at work on her next book, The Runner's World Guide to Weight Loss, which will be available in stores in January 2016. She also contributes stories to The Washington Post, and The Portland Press Herald.

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