Seven ways to spice up your run!

Running is serious business in the UK.  A recent governmental annual survey found out that, between November 2018 and November 2019, approximately 6.8 million people in England alone went running at least twice within 28 days.

Despite the national lockdowns encouraging more and more people to get out and about, the dark nights of winter and general corona uncertainty may have impacted upon your motivation and outlook when it comes to running, or getting fit in general. 
Whether you’re a serious running nut, a beginner or a just-for-fun-runner, if you feel you may be stuck in a running-rut, here are seven ideas to spice up your sprints!

Try podcasts and audio books

If you, like most mums, struggle to find the time to read a good book or listen to something inspirational when you’re at home with the family, why not download a platform such as Audible, grab some decent ear pods and start listening to books on your run?

Listening to a story, audio version of one of your favourite wellbeing books or an impactful or inspirational podcast will take your mind off the miles and transport you to another world when pounding the pavements or paths. 

Talk about clever multitasking huh! 

Vary your route

If you’re a sucker for routine and you like sticking to what you know, it can be tempting to plump for the same old trails and routes for running. 

If you fancy a change, why not ask other local mums and local runners and see if you can find a few new places to head out for a run?

Varying your route will help to keep things fresh for your overall fitness too – new gradients, off road routes and steps, for example, will all help to work new muscles and bolster your abilities – and the change of scenery will keep things lively and new.

Use tech and set challenges with friends!

Running apps may be old hat, but setting yourself some new challenges or even going head to head with a friend can help you to utilise the tech to its best ability. Apps such as Strava or even FitBit can pit you against buddies to give you a welcome shot in the arm when it comes to motivation. 

You could even set yourself a distance challenge – run a marathon in a week, perhaps, or ensure that you run 15k every seven days. 

Runtastic is another app to flag, as it features a “story running” function that allows users to download podcast style tracks to keep you moving…

Run with a buddy (if you can)

If Covid restrictions allow, there’s nothing to stop you heading out for a run with a friend as long as you socially distance.

Having a friend in tow will ensure you get out at a set time, boost your motivation and give you the chance to have a well-earned natter and catch up, even if you do have to sit on a park bench with a take-out flat white after your run!

Employ mindfulness 

If you are heading our alone, why not use your run as a chance to clear your head and boost your wellbeing? Breathe deeply and focus on the world around you. The colours, the feelings, the sensations – it can be easy for your brain to kick into worry or overthinking mode on a run, but employing mindfulness techniques will give you the chance to give your brain a rest – which is great for overactive anxiety levels. 

Create a killer soundtrack 

We all have those tunes that fill us with energy and pizazz, so have a good think of the songs that inspire you and create a killer running playlist just for you. 

Good music will lift your spirits and keep you going when you feel a little demotivated. 

Change speeds and add some HIIT!

If you’re a seasoned runner and want to seriously up your fitness levels, why not add in some HIIT moves to your running repertoire? Every time you hit a half kilometre, stop and deploy a series of squats, starjumps, leg raises or mountain climbers.

Another good way to keep things exciting is to vary your speed – so why not jog for 60 seconds and then do 20 second sprint bursts?  Changing your speed is one of the key variables you can employ when running, and mixing it up can help cardiovascular endurance.. It is also widely thought that varying your workout intensity will help burn more calories than staying at the same pace. Look into Fartlek workouts for more background on this type of variable intensity exercise.