In the past and even now, I can find running on my own to be quite the challenge. I can sometimes find it hard to motivate myself, I can find it lonely and I can find it hard to mentally push through and complete my runs. However, since the current situation has occurred, it has forced me to become more open and willing to run on my own and I actually enjoy it! Below I have listed some tips on how I have found running on my own to be more enjoyable and hopefully they will motivate you to enjoying running on your own too!
Tip 1: Virtual
Whether you are part of a running group who can't currently meet or you were running with your friends, there's nothing stopping you from continuing to do this: just in a new way! Try organising a time between you and your running partner and phone call each other whilst you're running. Yes most of the time you may hear panting down the other end of the line but you can still have a chat and run together even though you're not together.
If you're part of a club or running group, see if they are holding any virtual challenges over this time that you can take part in to give yourself some motivation and still feel part of the group
Tip 2: Challenges
If you're not part of any groups, don't worry! You have the power to be able to organise and set your own challenges! Maybe you're just starting out running so why not set yourself the goal to be able to run 5k. When I first started out running, I used the Coach to 5k app and it is great if you're just starting out. You can download it here.
Or maybe you're a regular runner but would like to increase your distance during the month. Set yourself a overall distance goal e.g. 100km and break this down into a weekly goal to work towards and achieve.
Make sure you track your progress so you can see how far you've come and this will also help to look back on when you're struggling to get out the door and motivate yourself one day. Giving yourself a reward at the end of your challenge is also a good motivator whether it be treating yourself to new gym wear or getting a takeaway - whatever it may be make sure it's worthy of working towards!
Tip 3: Mix Up Your Runs
Often you can get into a rut of running at the same pace, for the same distance along the same route and you can become a bit deflated with all the sameness. Why not switch it up? Head out and do a interval session one day, an easy run another day and then maybe get some hill running in as well. Try out a new route to keep your mind alert and observing new surroundings. The good news is by doing some different runs you are testing both your body and mind, not getting bored as easy and different runs will be benefiting you when you head out for longer runs. Win win!
Tip 4: Freedom
Following on from this point, with running, all you need is yourself! Therefore you have the freedom to pretty much run anywhere and everywhere! Test out a new route, try trail running instead of road running, head out for longer runs instead of shorter runs, go in the morning or head out in the evening. The choice of how, where and when you want to run is endless and should be enjoyable!
Tip 5: Challenging Your Mindset
It can be hard on your own to motivate yourself to go that little further or to think "I'm just going to stop here." Take this opportunity to challenge your mindset. Based on previous and current experience, your mind is likely to tell you that you need to stop or to give in and not go any further but as long as your body is fine, you're breathing ok and you feel in yourself you can carry on then go for it! Obviously if you're feeling poorly or you're in pain then you really do need to listen to your mind and body and not push yourself too far. But usually the first 2k can be challenging so once you get past this distance you should be able to settle into your run and carry on.
Tip 6: Listen to Music
Only recently have I been listening to music when I'm on my runs. I love sitting down and putting together a running playlist of upbeat and 'dance like' songs that I can focus on and have a mini dance party to in my head!! If music isn't really your vibe then why not try listen to podcasts? There are absolutely loads of podcasts you can listen too and they can make you feel like you're having a conversation especially if you're missing the more social side of running
Tip 7: Mindfulness
Take running as an opportunity to be more mindful. Often we lead quite busy lives and so running could be your escape to slow down and enjoy your surroundings. Take the opportunity to inhale the fresh air more deeply, be more observant of your surroundings, listen to the birdsong or the wind cooling you down. Sometimes when I am running, I will count how many cars pass by to keep my mind occupied!
Tip 8: Feeling Afterwards
You may really not want to go for a run one day but try and think of the way you will feel afterwards. From my own experience, I will try and think about how productive I will be after going on a run, how much more energy I will have etc. I know it can be hard but once you've laced up your trainers and stepped out the front door it would be silly not to at least run to the end of the street. You never know, you may go on for longer...
There you have it! I hope these tips help you feel a bit more motivated and inspired to run on your own. Let me know in the comments which tip you're going to try when heading out on your next run :)
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