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Readers Respond: How Do You Prevent Boredom When Running?

Responses: 39


Updated July 09, 2009

Even the most enthusiastic runners experience runs when they feel, well, bored. To stay motivated to run, it's important that you try to prevent feeling bored when running - whether it's outside or on a treadmill. What do you do to prevent boredom while running? Play games in your head? Sing songs? Plan out your next meal? Share Your Tips


I like to look at landscapes on my phone when I'm running on the treadmill, YouTube a slideshow of beautiful landscapes and imagine you are there.
—Guest Guest Mike


I use the "Zombies, Run!" app on my phone. It plays your regular running playlist, but every couple of songs it'll interrupt with a status update of your "mission" -- running for supplies, messages, etc during the zombie apocalypse. Having an ongoing storyline gives me something to pay attention to, but it's light enough that I don't have to pay MUCH attention and can zone out sometimes too.
—Guest Kenvee

Military Cadence

When I first started running I needed distraction and motivation. I listened to Marine Corp cadences. The steady rhythm kept my pace up and more motivating was it sounded like I had an entire company of salty Marines an a Drill Instructor marching directly behind me. Now I can't stand running with cords and ear buds. I prefer to be alone in my thoughts. I'm an Engineer at my day job so I use this time to ponder mechanical designs, problems, etc.
—Guest JimEb

dreaming with music

I listen to music and while I run, I think of a choreography to that particular song. I imagine myself on a stage performing and of course, in my fantasies, I am the best performer in the world. Similarly, I also imagine myself winning a race or reaching a desired goal - what ever I dream of.
—Guest Trin

Audio Books

I am training to run my first half marathon with my dad. I am only 13, and got very bored during our 7 and 9 mile training run. Just before we did our 11 mile run (our longest yet and the furthest we will go until the race.), I downloaded the hunger games on my phone and listened to it as I ran. I kept up till our kick at the end and ran 9 minute miles without even feeling very tired! Our 9 mile run, with no music or book was 11 minute miles, so it was an amazing improvement!
—Guest Ally

no more boredom

I download shows from the 1970's radio series cbs radio mystery theater (cbsrmt.com) . there are 1500 shows of 45 minutes, some great and some less great, but all acted brilliantly with plenty of twists and turns. who dunnits, why dunnits and strange science fiction - 2 shows gets me through 21km without a second of boredom!!!
—Guest olli

dancing on the treadmill.........

running on a treadmill is soooooooooo good...i've ran for 5 decades, outside and in..learn to dance as you run....be careful...

Be the director!

I make up music videos for the songs on my ipod. I let my imagination "run"wild and the time flies :)
—Guest Amanda

think of the person next to you

On marathon day, when it hurts the most and mind games begin, I think of how the person next to me, or in front of me feels. I realize I'm not the only one bored or tired or in pain and knowing this helps me keep going. Also, I often think of those who wish they were physically able to be doing what I'm doing at that moment, those in hospice care... and after that, the pain and boredom fade.
—Guest michele

Imagination TV

So a lot of gyms have tvs attached to the treadmills but have the sound and sometimes even closed captioning off. Pick a show, and create lines for all of the people. I do this at my gym with Jersey Shore.
—Guest Jack

Reading my Nook

I found that I can read my Nook easily while jogging on the treadmill. It's easy to enlarge the print, and the Nook w/cover stays in place on my treadmill! Time flies by!
—Guest tmklaus

Run in the forest

Running in the forest is a great way of letting your mind drift off. There aren't any long streches ahead of you, and the scenery constantly changes. In addition, you also have to keep track of your feet, considering the forest paths are usually quite small, and this helps you forget about your pain and boredom!
—Guest Viktor

Make up Stories

Sometimes , and I know this is a bit strange...but I make up a story in my head before a long run. Something that involves the heroine (me) running for x amount. It is super silly but it helps when I am cant run anymore and I am thinking WHY AM I DOING THIS? Then I tell myself your running to escape the bad guys, or the river of dragon doo that is behind you. Like I said, silly but it works and I always end up laughing at myself...which is great.
—Guest sami

music & getting lost in the surroundings

On my shorter runs (5-6 km) I listen to music as I have a running playlist of fast energy filled songs which really get me in the mood for running. But on my longer runs (10-12 km or longer if I feel like it) I tend to start off listening to music then I take my ipod out and just run. I take in everything around me and sometimes imagine what the lives of the people I pass are like... basically I listen to music and memorise and watch things as I run by them! I also just change my route whenever I feel like I'm starting to get fed up on my longer runs as I know that I can't run when I'm saying to myself 'how long left now!? when can I go back?'
—Guest -ALICE-

listen to a movie

Sometimes when I can't stand to listen to a song I've heard a million times already, I will listen to a movie on my iPod. They have to talk a lot, and action movies help keep you motivated.
—Guest Kim

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How Do You Prevent Boredom When Running?

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