20 Ways to Shake Up Your Running Routine This Year


Has your running felt a little stale lately? Are you running the same routes (or races) year after year? There's something to be said for consistency, but a little change can be a good thing. If you're ready to add some excitement to your running, try one (or all!) of these suggestions. 

  1. Train for a very short race like the mile. Find a local open track meet, and set a goal of besting your time from high school gym class.
  2. Sign up for a relay race with friends. Looking for crazy memories and camaraderie instead of PRs? Recruit a group of friends to train for an overnight relay race. Being stinky and sleep deprived will be fun—we promise!
  3. Log miles with a newbie runner. If you have a friend, family member or co-worker who wants to start running, join them for a few walk-run excursions. Sharing your knowledge of running is a great way to reignite your excitement for the sport.
  4. Head to the local high school track. Dust off your spikes or don your special workout shoes and try going fast. Whether you prefer 400s, 200s or 100s, sprinting can really push you out of your comfort zone.
  5. Run your usual routes backward. Sometimes you just need to see things from a slightly different perspective.
  6. Take a rest week (or month!). Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Experiment with cross training during your down time, such as swimming or biking, to keep in shape.
  7. Try a running streak. Whether you do it for a week or a year, running at least a mile every day can be a fun challenge.
  8. Experiment with a new way of eating. Paleo, Whole 30, low sugar—if you've always wondered how your body will respond to dietary changes, this could be your chance. 
  9. Sign up for a "weird" race distance. Maybe you've never run a 20k or there's a local 7-mile race up a mountain. The point is to try something beyond your usual 5Ks and half marathons. Bonus: It will be a guaranteed PR!
  10. Plan a running vacation. Whether you sign up for a race or just enjoy sightseeing on foot, running while traveling is always exciting. 
  11. Start a running blog or podcast. Have something to say? Write it down or speak up! Even if you're a newbie—we guarantee someone will be interested in your thoughts.
  12. Volunteer for a race. There's no better way to give back to the sport you love so much—enough said.
  13. Raise money for a charity. Want to give new meaning to your training runs? Connect with a non-profit to raise money while you train. 
  14. Join a running club or even start your own! Plenty of gyms and running stores offer group runs, but if you can't find one that fits your schedule, consider starting your own. Advertise on local bulletin boards or spread the word at work; new running buddies make each mile fly by.
  15. Commit to strength training. It doesn't have to be anything fancy; challenge yourself to a few reps of bodyweight exercises each day, such as lunges or squats, and you'll lower your injury risk while also gaining strength.
  16. Hire a coach. Hitting a plateau with your training? Seek out an expert, and you just might have a break through.
  17. If you always count your runs by miles, start running by time (or kilometers) instead.
  18. Splurge on some fancy running gear. Have your eye on the latest GPS watch, a sweet pair of kicks or a high-tech headlamp? Go ahead and treat yourself!
  19. Increase your cadence. Many elite runners have a cadence of 180 steps per mile and studies suggest that this fast turnover can reduce injury risk. Want to test your own? On your next run, count the number of times your left foot strikes the ground over the course of a minute. Multiply by two, and that's your cadence. Practice running "quick and light" on your feet—basically you want to minimize the amount of time your foot spends in contact with the ground. 
  20. Run "naked"—and we don't mean without a shirt! Try leaving your tracker at home and just running for however long or fast you feel like. It might feel weird at first, but it can be incredibly freeing.

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