As somebody who runs every single day, without fail, I have had to come up with some creative ways to keep my passion for running alive. Races, running with others, beating personal bests, exploring nature, listening to music, getting new running gear and cross-training are just some of the ways I maintain a love for running.
In this article, I’ll be exploring these ways and more to help you continue to love running now as much as you did when you first started. I’m currently on day 190 of a consecutive daily running streak and I love running now more than ever so rest assured the tips I’ll share with you work if you apply them.
New runners can lose their passion quickly
Most newbie runners start with bundles of excitement. They get flashy running trainers, plan their training regime, decide where they’re going to run and get stuck in. The first couple of weeks are usually a success with the runner sticking to their schedule and loving their new hobby.
However, after the first couple of weeks things can start to deteriorate. Suddenly these new runners aren’t as excited to jump into their trainers and head out of the front door. The prospect of working up a sweat doesn’t seem fun and doing anything else instead – like scrolling through social media or watching Netflix – sounds more exciting.
What happened? The initial excitement and enthusiasm for the new hobby has died down and now the runner finds it more difficult to motivate themselves. Only a couple of weeks have passed and the runner will not be getting substantial results to encourage them to keep going. They might start to question why they are running in the first place and re-consider their new hobby.
This is what I call the ‘make or break’ stage. It’s at this stage that the new runner either calls it quits or keeps up with their new hobby. How does the new runner keep on finding the drive and enthusiasm to run? With some creative ways to stay passionate about running, of course. Exactly what I am going to be covering later on in this article.
Experienced runners can also lose their passion for running
Of course, it’s not just new runners that are at risk of losing their passion for running. I have been running properly for almost two years now and there have been periods where I have felt uninspired to keep going. If you’ve been running for a while too, I bet you have also experienced some doubts and have had thoughts to quit the sport. It happens to all of us so don’t feel guilty about having these thoughts.
Why do people lose their passion for running?
There are many reasons for runners to lose their passion for running. Some of the most common include:
- Not being prepared for a challenge
Some newbie runners fall out of love with the sport early on because they are not ready for the challenge. Some new runners have unrealistic expectations and think they will lose weight or run fast times in the first couple of weeks. When they realise this isn’t the case and come up against some difficulties, they feel demotivated and consider quitting.
- Not participating in events
Events can be incredibly exciting and not experiencing them can lead to a gradual loss of love for running.
- Having no goals
Goals are necessary for inspiring us to take action and achieve things. Without goals, it’s easy to become uninspired and lack direction. Not good for runners.
- Running the same routes
If you experience the same scenery, day in day out, there’s a chance you will become bored and find running a mundane activity.
- Running alone
It can be lonely out on the path to becoming a successful runner. If you always work out in a solo effort, you can start feeling lonely and down. Not good.
- Running without audio
Music, podcasts and audiobooks are all stimulating forms of in-ear entertainment. If you always run without them, boredom can quickly set in.
- Doing the same workouts
A runner who always does fartlek training, day in day out, will soon begin to experience boredom. Without variety, the same workout can quickly feel repetitive and monotonous.
What are some creative ways to stay passionate about running?
1.Embrace the challenge
Many runners expect quick results and when they don’t get them, they lose passion for the sport. Not only is this unrealistic, it’s also a quick-fix instant gratification way of thinking. I hate to break it to anyone wanting a quick fix but successful running takes lots of time and effort.
Once runners accept that results take a lot of hard work and effort to obtain, they can fully embrace the challenge of running and have fun. By accepting the results you want will be a challenge to achieve stop putting so much pressure on yourself to get fast results.
Whatever your goal happens to be – a sub-20 minute 5K, 1:35 half marathon of sub 3:30 marathon – part of the fun is working hard overcome the difficulties.
You might fail at a sub 20 minute 5 K for 5 attempts in a row. Each failed attempt might feel like you’re not making progress and you might feel that running isn’t for you. Don’t quit; failing is a normal part of the challenge that is running. Each failure brings you closer to success. As Thomas Edison once said ‘many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.’
By embracing that running is a challenging sport with many difficulties to overcome, you will be mentally prepared for difficulties when they arise. Therefore your love for running won’t be dashed by a few bad experiences or failed personal best attempts. You’ll continue to love running and stick with it, no matter how tough things get.
It worked for me when I failed to run a sub 19 5K during first 8 attempts. I understood it would be a challenge and kept persevering. Sure enough, I ran an 18:54 5K on my 9th attempt and love running now more than ever. You can do this to. Accept that running will be a challenge and you will stay passionate about the sport.
2. Participate in races
One of the reasons I’ve stayed so passionate about running for so long is all the exciting races I take part in. Marathons, half-marathons, 5 & 10Ks, fancy dress runs, charity runs and challenge runs (like tough mudder) are all examples of fun races to take part in which will keep your love for running alive. I try to participate in at least running event every month, though this often becomes two.
Races are great because they give you something in the calendar to train towards and look forward to. It can be uninspiring to run 4 times a week without a set purpose. However, if you have an event in the diary – like a marathon – there is a tangible reason behind your training and you’ll be more motivated to run. With the marathon in the diary, you’ll feel excited to train properly because you’ll want to perform at your best come marathon day.
Races can also be exhilarating, memorable experiences to remember for a lifetime. Running a race is what it means to live truly in the moment. When you’re in race mode, you’re fully focused on the task at hand; running the distance in the fastest time possible. You can’t mindlessly scroll through social media, wander to the fridge for a snack or watch Netflix. Your fully invested in the current moment and need to focus on finishing the race. I love running in race because being so ‘in the moment’ reminds me what it is to feel fully alive and present.
Participating in races can also give you a huge sense of accomplishment. When I cross the line of a race I get a massive sense of relief and feeling of accomplishment that I have achieved something worthwhile. It’s a wonderful experience and one that I always get from running a race. The feeling of overcoming a challenge, getting through a struggle, and coming out on the other side a stronger person and athlete.
Participating in races is a fantastic way to keep your spark for running alive. Do at least one a month and you’ll always have something to train for, regularly experience the magic of race day and remember what it is to feel truly in the moment.
Top tip: Book and participate in at least 1 race every single month
3. Regularly set and achieve goals
‘It’s important to set your own goals and work hard to achieve them.’ – Yuichiro Miura
If you don’t regularly set and achieve running goals, it’s likely your passion for the sport will soon start to dwindle. Setting running goals gives us a direction to head in and helps drive us towards achieving high performance.
When you start running, be sure to set at least 2 goals for yourself. Common goals include running a sub 20 minute 5K, a sub 1:45 minute half marathon, raising £300 for through race fundraising or even crossing the line after a marathons challenging 26.2 miles.
Once you have a couple of goals set, you will be driven to adjust your training regime to put you in a position to achieve the goal. For instance, a goal to complete a marathon might inspire you to start running 20 miles a week and gradually upping your weekly mileage by 10% until race day. A sub 20 minute 5K goal will inspire you to add speed workouts to your regime. Sooner or later, you will achieve the goal and get a sense of massive accomplishment.
Once you achieve each goal, be sure to quickly replace it with a new one and then immediately begin work to achieve this new goal. The goals serve to motivate you to train towards something tangible. Achieving the goal gives a feeling of accomplishment and makes you feel like you are becoming a better runner. We feel much more inclined to perform an activity (like running) when we feel we are getting better at it. Setting and achieving goals helps you experience just this sensation. Setting and achieving goals helps keep you passionate about the sport.
Top tip: Always have 2 running goals to achieve, work to achieve them, and set new goals once they are complete
4. Run Through Different Places
The quickest way to get bored with your running regime is to stick to running the same routes, day in-day out. If you run the same route every single time, you will probably get tired of the surroundings and feel uninspired quicker than somebody who mixes up their routes. As a result, you might stop feeling passionate about running and consider reducing activity or even giving up the sport. Not good!
Instead, mix up your running routes and get exploring. Take a new path, visit a different part of your town, venture through the woods or local nature reserve, pace along the sea. Working out in new surroundings is exciting and can really awaken your inner adventurer.
I always try and split my weekly runs up so at least 3 of them venture through new routes so I don’t get bored and keep my passion for running alive. I love exploring new places and discovering different locations both in my home town and further afield.
You could even travel to a different country for a ‘running holiday’ which gives you the benefits of travelling and exercising whilst exploring new running routes. When I went on a lads holiday to Lisbon in Portugal, I got up early every morning and lost myself in the surroundings.
It was an amazing experience to run along the Portuguese seafront, through the hustle and bustle of markets and through residential districts whose residents were waking up for the day. Running abroad was exciting and re-ignited helped keep my passion for the sport alive.
Also, you could book and participate in events (half-marathons, marathons, 5Ks and 10Ks) are further afield from your home i.e. 10 / 15 / 20 miles away. Taking part in events further afield gives a unique opportunity to run through different surroundings in a different location, which can help keep your passion for running alive.
Top tip: Always try and run through different places. Whether that’s a different place in your home town, further afield in your country or even abroad, running in new surroundings can re-ignite your running passion. Try and make at least 1 of your weekly runs through new surroundings and you’ll find it difficult to get bored. You’ll stay truly passionate about running.
5. Run with others
Lots of runners treat running as a purely solo sport which can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness and boredom during workouts. Eventually, the lone runner feels little desire to keep on running as they will begin to associate running with these negative experiences. Needless to say, a loss of passion is often the result.
Personally, I find long runs the most lonely as I am often running for 3-5 hours at a time with nobody to keep me company other than the thoughts in my own head. I can usually deal with this but sometimes I can feel down and experience loneliness.
A great remedy for this is to run with others. Get friends, family, your dog, colleagues, club members and acquaintances involved! Pounding the pavement with other people is a fantastic way to make running more interesting.
Not only do you have somebody to talk to and engage your mind, you will also quickly find running with others is a great opportunity to build and develop relationships. If you want to get to know a client or friend better, invite them on a run and bond over the activity. It works wonders.
Top tip: Share the magic of running with others and you will be on to a winner. Not only will you build great lasting relationships with these people but you’ll also find running more enjoyable, thus keeping your passion for the sport alive.
6. Listen to something!
Music, audiobooks and podcasts are all fantastic forms of audio which keep me entertained whilst I run. There’s nothing I love more than losing myself in a strong narrative on a long run, finding out something new on a chilled 5 miler or pacing in time with the music during a speed workout. Audio helps to keep me engaged in my running and I couldn’t imagine training without it. If you don’t already, I’d strongly recommend listening to something whilst you run!
For music, I download albums & custom playlists using the Spotify app which only costs approximately £9.00 a month. I also download podcasts on Spotify as it has such a huge range to choose from. When I’m in a book kind of mood, I’ll head over to Amazon’s Audible and listen to a fiction or non-fiction book. Currently, I run the sound of Napoleon Hill’s 1937 classic ‘Think and Grow Rich’ which is an incredibly inspiring book I would recommend to anyone.
Top tip: Listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks whilst you run. Audio keeps you engaged, allows you to learn whilst you run and can even encourage a better work out i.e. running in time to music.
7. Mix up your workouts
‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.’ – Albert Einstein
Never do the same type of work out, day in-day out. This is a fast track ticket to running boredom!
It’s important that you add variety to your running schedule. Don’t always do the same type of workout; instead, try and mix things up. Doing different workouts on different days within your training schedule means things stay fresh and you’ll maintain interest.
On one day try a round of hill runs, the next try fartlek training, then do some track work the next day, and finish the week off with a traditional Sunday long run. This way you’ll stay interested and engaged in the running sport.
Not only does a varying workout schedule keep you engaged, it’s also better for you because different workouts target different areas of fitness. For instance, hill workouts will make your leg muscles stronger whilst long runs improve your overall endurance.
Mix up your running regime and you’ll feel more engaged whilst benefiting from your workouts a lot more.
There we have it. 7 creative ways to maintain your passion for running. I hope you enjoy implementing these steps in your running life and they contribute towards a passionate, fulfilling and enjoyable running career for life. Happy running.