And, most important of all, keep it fun. Regardless of how hard or easy, or how long or short, the run should be fun. Experiment! Find the workouts and the running routes you enjoy the most and incorporate them, but keep searching out new options to keep it fresh, exciting, and interesting.
Here are some suggestions for mixing up your week:
1. Run to a destination. For example, run to the gym or run to complete an errand – like going to the post office. You can meet up with friends so you have a ride home or plan to run back home.
2. Easy/medium/hard run. For a speed workout, run easy for three minutes, at a medium difficulty for two minutes, and hard for one minute. Repeat this sequence for the duration of your run.
3. Landmark runs. After a warmup, run hard for a short interval to a landmark like a letterbox, a driveway, or a streetlight along the route; then jog easy for recovery to the next landmark. Repeat.
4. Explore a new running area. Go to a park, or a new neighbourhood popular with runners.
5. Try a trail run. The concentration needed for trail running engages your mind as you figure out how to traverse uneven terrain, rocks, roots, hills, water, and other obstacles. It’s a great strength builder, too.
6. Plan a hill repeat run. Find a hill in your area that is about 500 metres in length with a nice incline. Run 2K for a warmup then tackle the hill. Run up the hill and jog easy down, then turn around and run up the hill again. Repeat several times. Run a 2K cooldown afterward.
7. Try a track workout for speed. Run a 2K warmup. Time yourself and run one lap at a hard pace; then, jog or walk one lap for recovery. Repeat four to six times. Set a consistent pace for the hard laps and stay within a five-second variance for each lap. Gradually increase the number of laps you run over the weeks.
8. Make running dates with friends. Nothing like good conversation to help pass the kilometres.
9. Running on a treadmill? Try using a pre-programmed hill run or interval run. The treadmill will automatically speed up or down or add an incline. Varying the pace and incline will engage your mind.
10. Register for a race. There is nothing like making a race commitment to get you out the door and focused on training. Select a local race or go for a destination race. Finding a race somewhere you have always wanted to visit is a great motivator and a fun way to tour that area. If you have already done some races, select a race that presents a different challenge – like a new distance, a trail race, or an obstacle race.