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Readers Respond: How Do You Prevent Boredom When Running?

Responses: 34


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?


When I am running and find myself getting tired I start praying, usually talking to God about how I can do all things through him. Which includes a 13 mile run. I also take that time to thank him for my health and ability to do such an activity... then I'll just pray about things like my family and my job... Before I know it I'm distracted from my pain and almost done with my run.
—Guest Kassie

Star in your own show...

Haha, I'm glad I'm not the only one imagining myself performing on stage! Sometimes I imagine I'm being filmed for the music video of the song I'm listening to... I like the audiobooks idea. I don't usually like watching myself in the mirror, but it is good for analysing your form. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself which prompts me to use a better posture, stronger arms and core and adjust my foot strike.
—Guest Anna

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

"I am an action hero!"

After watching action movies, I am always motivated to workout. Download some music from your favorite action movies (300, Pirates of the Carribbean, Mission Impossible, Bond movies..I could go on) and imagine yourself being a kick-butt action hero. Plus it makes you laugh at yourself which is always fun. This also works if you can watch movies or tv shows. Recently I've been watching Covert Affairs since it's roughly the same length as my treadmill runs. I've also found it helps to cover up the clock and mile-tracker on my treadmill so I just keep going and have no idea how long it's been. Then when you get tired, you tell yourself "don't be a baby, it's probably just been a few minutes.." My last defense against boredom. Our treadmill is in the basement and we have a bunch of movie posters all around. I start on one side of the room and every minute I run, I get to move to the next picture and see how far around the room I can get during my run. It's just like Candyland! Enjoy!
—Guest Amanda

Audio books

I listen to audio books while running, sometimes I get so lost in the plot I just keep running.
—Guest Amy

Music and imagination

I alternate between outdoor and treadmill runs. On my hour long treadmill runs, I use a mixture of music, math, and imagining scenes from books or shows that I enjoy. Sometimes I use it to figure out what I should have said to people who tick me off :) but couldn't say (can we say "workout over before I'm ready?"). The music is partially to block out my breathing (I can't stand the sound of my breathing, it panics me), and the rest motivational- songs that make me want to dance make my feet lighter and faster and ease my breathing (asthmatic). Outside I'm rarely bored and can still go inside my head, or my favorite, just zone out and go on auto pilot- I've also been learning ChiRunning, which gives a person so much to think about at first it can make your head hurt! Happy running!
—Guest Beth

Preventing Boredom on Treadmill

To alleviate boredom on the treadmill, I borrow a large print book from the library and read as I walk. The book should not be too large to lie comfortably on the desk top of the machine and may require a device to keep the pages open without making them difficult to turn.
—Guest ian.moore@xtra.co.nz

let your mind drift

Try thinking about nothing--as in don't have like a solid thought train, as this is what usually gets me bored. It's easier to feel mentally exhausted if you are keeping tabs on the time with thought trains. So I try to just not think about anything and let thoughts drift in and out of my mind as they may. And also try not to think about the fact that you are running. I find this very demotivating and it just makes the time go that much slower. So think about nothing in particular and avoid thoughts about running. Also, positive thoughts are best, as these keep you upbeat.
—Guest rucciurd

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