Spice Up Your Running Routine With These New Challenges
Have you ever wanted to become a runner + actually enjoy it? One of the biggest problems we see girls face when it comes to running is the lack of knowledge with different running routines. Without knowing about different types of running routines, “just going for a run” can quickly become boring + make our workouts feel stagnant ++ unenjoyable.
Trying out new types of workouts [running routines, in this case] is something that is always motivating for me. It’s exciting + fresh ++ keeps my body waiting for what’s next. As I’ve always been in either track or cross country my entire childhood, I sometimes get sick of “just going for a run,” so I am constantly trying to mix things up.
Below are a few different running variations to help spice up any boring running routine!
Mileage + Hill // Sprint Challenge
As one of the more basic running routines, this routine entails choosing a mileage amount to run for + after the run ++ sprinting up a hill for double the amount of miles ran. It’s best to find a hill that is somewhat challenging in steepness or length in order to push ourselves after that run + explode with all the energy we have left. The run before can be anything we’d like it to be. Mainly when I do this workout, the hills I run up afterward are always by trails, so I always do a trail run before, but it can be anything. For example, if we did a 3 mile run, then we would have to sprint up a hill 6 times.
It is the goal to sprint up the hill after the run, but if a fast jog or running speed is preferred or our ability level, then it’s still a good workout! If we don’t have access to a hill, doing straight sprints is also an option. Just find a good distance [around 100-200 meters // ¼ to ½ a track’s length] to sprint + do however many reps that equals double the running mileage.
Tempo // Fartlek // Interval Runs
Tempo, Fartlek, and Interval running routines are all quite similar to explain. The main premise is that these runs contain different running speeds throughout them. There is a blend between walking, jogging, running, + sprinting. Of course, based on personal running abilities + goals, these types of runs can be easily modified to any type of running goals ++ skill sets.
As these types of runs can be modified in any way, they are easy to make up our own or find different ones online to try out. Some have intervals that change every 30 seconds, every minute, every 5//10//15 minutes, every mile. It all depends on the goal + the overall distance.
When I was in cross country, we did these types of runs frequently. One variation we did often consisted of the first half mile being ran at a warm-up jog pace, the next mile would be around our own personal race pace, the second mile would be a comfort running pace, third mile race pace again, + so on until we completed our distance ++ ending on the last half mile being a cool down, jog-like pace again.
Out + Back Run
Now, there are plenty of runners out there that enjoy running based off overall time rather than mileage. This routine would be a perfect challenge! For this routine, running on a treadmill wouldn’t be ideal as it would be necessary to look at the mileage to gauge part of the run. So I recommend finding a trail or neighborhood route to complete these types of runs.
For an Out + Back Run, the name is quite self-explanatory. We simply run out down our set path for a specific amount of time + then run back in a shorter amount of time. So the challenge comes in by how much we decrease the amount of time we need to run back by. It can be any variation we want: 20 minutes out + 18 minutes back, 30 minutes out + 15 minutes back.
The main challenge is being able to run whatever distance covered in the first amount of time in the shorter amount of time on the way back!
Music Queue Challenge
Lately, this running routine has been my personal favorite. These runs have no expectations on distance or time ran. It simply is running based off our music queues. All we have to do is fill our music queue with whatever songs we’re in the mood for that day, that push us when we run, have beats that are similar to our own running rhythms, etc. Then we run until our queue runs out of songs!
It’s important to remember a few things though! Remember that the challenge is to run until the queue runs out, so don’t make it incredibly short or incredibly long [unless that’s the workout intended]. Also, a few pointers on music selection based on personal experience. Avoid adding slow songs as that unconsciously slows down our running pace + try to add songs that either fit our running speed closely or that are even a little faster.
Personally, I enjoy trying to focus on running to a beat, especially if it matches my pace or pushes me to run faster. This running routine is my favorite because it’s a nice break from worrying about going a certain distance or running for a specific time. Plus, we pick the music so there’s no worries about having to constantly change the songs. It makes running more enjoyable + by focusing more on the songs it allows us to forget about the pain that sometimes comes with cardio ++ time seems to fly. Before we know it, we’ve run 4+ miles ++ still feel fantastic!