Looking to start jogging? Trying to love running but just can't get there? Need to spice up your runs or get the jump back in your step? Starting to find running boring or monotonous?
No matter the reason, there are numerous simple and creative ways to get motivated to run and make jogging more appealing. You too can enjoy running, look forward to running, or at the very least, make jogging suck less.
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Personally I love running, despite not being all that good at it. Fortunately, you don't have to run marathons to be a runner or get a good workout. You don't even need to run fast. Jogging for as little as 4-5 kilometers is a great workout, regardless of your speed.
I wouldn't go so far as to say running is fun or compare it to playing sports, however, it checks every other box.
So how can YOU get excited to go jogging? Make running more enticing? OR at the very least, make jogging suck less? Here are 18 simple ways to make jogging something you look forward to.
1. Listen to music
Let's start simple. If you haven't already, find or create a playlist of tunes you enjoy that are upbeat and keep you energized. You can use most music apps for free with the option to pay for more features and remove ads. The most popular ones include Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Soundcloud and Google Play Music. Try out different genres and figure out which ones keep you the most energized.
2. Track your progress
Knowing how fast and far you are running is good motivation to try to match or beat your previous runs and earn achievement badges. You can also follow others (and be followed), and join groups, challenges or virtual races, which helps with motivation. Popular apps include Strava, Map my Run and Runkeeper. You can also use these apps to set goals and track your progress each week, month and year.
3. Listen to an audiobook or podcast
I actually just finished my first ever audiobook. I only listened to it while jogging, and I'm hooked! The book I listened to was non-fiction (not exactly a page-turner!) and I found myself halfway across town unaware I was actually jogging, completely lost in the book. Choose a real page-turner and you will be jogging for hours! Most public libraries allow you to download audiobooks for free, which you can use in apps such as Libby or OverDrive. Make it a race to jog frequently enough so you can finish the book before it is due.
4. Get running shoes that actually fit
The type and quality of running shoe you wear makes a significant difference in your ability to run comfortably and prevent injuries. Different shoes are designed for different feet. Find a store with knowledgeable staff (such as Kintec or Running Room in Canada) who will assess your gait and help you find the right shoe. Once you know the type, brand or style of shoe that fits best you can seek out the best deal the next time you need new shoes (I have bought the same pair of shoes from amazon at least 5 times!). Also, make sure you replace your running shoes every 300-500 miles.
5. Find a running buddy
Having someone to run with can help with accountability and commitment to go running, as well as motivation to run further, faster or to take fewer breaks. It is also a social outlet.
6. Ditch your running buddy
If you are like me, you don't want a running buddy! Everyone runs at their own pace and it can be hard to adjust to someone else's pace. Running with other people actually goes against most of the reasons I listed earlier as to why I like to jog. So before you seek out a running buddy determine if you REALLY want or need one!
7. Jog somewhere new
Jogging is an awesome way to check out new neighbourhoods, find peace in the forest, or enjoy some of your favourite places. It is also a great way to explore new cities while on vacation.
8. Run to a specific destination
Having a specific destination in mind can be motivation to run a certain distance, particularly if the location has some sort of draw. You could also jog one way to a destination and ether get picked up or transit back home, or vice versa.
9. Run with zombies
Or away from them rather. Seriously. Download the app Zombies, Run. Make jogging the last thing on your mind by evading a swarm of zombies while collecting supplies necessary for your survival.
10. Purchase a jogging outfit you love
Pick out an outfit (or outfits) you love but only get to wear when you go jogging. If you look good you will feel good!
11. Get competitive
Physically race someone on a particular route or compare your time/speed with others completing the same route at different times. Or, using an app (such as Strava) compare your performance on certain stretches with others who have run the same stretch. You can also sign up for virtual races through various apps (such as Strava) or websites (such as virtualstrides.com).
12. Sign up for a race
Registering for a race, whether it is a 5k, 10k, half marathon, colour run, night run, underwear run or beer run, will inspire you to jog and/or train leading up to it. No one wants to be last, especially not in their underpants.
13. Run with a stroller
If you have difficulty fitting exercise into your schedule or are too tired to work out in the evening, get a jogging stroller (you can get them used for as little as $20) and jog while your child sits, naps, eats, plays, etc. As a bonus, you will get an upper-body workout too. Don't have a jogging stroller? That might be okay! Check out this post to determine if you can potentially jog with your regular stroller.
14. Jog beside your kids as they bike or scooter
Not sure where to fit jogging into your busy schedule? If your kids are old enough to bike or scooter for at least 20 minutes, why not don your running gear and run alongside them? Getting a workout in while on the clock with your kids is the best feeling!
15. Reward yourself
Sitting and watching TV all evening can bring on feelings of guilt and laziness. Earn it! It doesn't need to be TV. Whatever it is, make it the reward for jogging and you will feel zero guilt and enjoy it more than you would have otherwise.
16. Avoid Runner's Nipple (guys)!
It's hard to get motivated to run when you know your nipples are going to be raw mid-way! Google confirms this is a thing (and not just my husband!). Running causes guys' nipples to harden, and in conjunction with clothing rubbing, sweat and weather, this can cause painful and even bloody nipples. Prevent this by placing bandaids, tape, lubricant or Nipstrips (yep also a thing) on your nipples when you run. Dry-fit shirts that wick away moisture can also make a difference.
17. Follow a running program
New to jogging, or getting back into it after a long hiatus? For most people, it is challenging and painful to go from nothing to 5+ kilometers without a plan. A quick google search will give you hundreds of beginner running guides that combine intervals of walking and jogging to get you there painlessly. You can also use an app such as Couch to 5k which prompts you when to walk or run and gradually builds up to 5k over 9 weeks (jogging 3x per week).
18. Join a running group or club
If jogging with others is your thing, you want to meet new people and make it a social thing, or simply want to be held accountable, join a local running club. There are groups for both beginners and experienced runners. Stores such as Running Room and Lululemon have running clubs you can register for. A simple google search can give you an idea of what is offered in your area.
Tried some or all of these and still not digging running? No sweat. Jogging is not for everyone. Try something else! Check out these 21 Simple Ideas To Get Moving for inspiration.
Also, be sure to check out all my favourite exercise and rehab gear here!
20 UNDENIABLE REASONS TO START EXERCISING...BEFORE ITS TOO LATE
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