"Nick? Why do you talk about running so much? It's so boring!" This statement cracked me up😂 Truthfully, I'm not immune to running boredom and that's why I tend to mix it up a little to keep it interesting and fun. For many newbies and even those with veteran status, running can very easily become a boring activity if you let it.
Here are some things that you can consider to help alleviate boredom on a run:
Switch it up
The same run, on the route at the same speed is an assured path to boredom. Mix up your runs by varying routes (explore your city), running speeds (easy/moderate/hard) and distances (short/medium/long). You should always seek out a different experience on your runs.
Though I don't encourage it on public roads, music is an excellent tool to help combat boredom. The right music such as up-tempo, high energy music (enter DMX/David Guetta/Major Lazer or whatever else you prefer) can give you a tremendous boost on a run and make it all a more fun experience. Music motivates so get your headphones🎧 on and channel your inner gangster😎!
First off, I'm not a doctor. I just want to share what I personally do so don't start abusing substances and claim I advised you to do so. I use a homemade nootropics stack to help keep me dialed in and focused on what I'm doing. My protocol is: 100-200mg of caffeine and 1-3 grams of L-Tyrosine. This is my 'happy and focused stack' typically consumed 15-30 minutes before a run. I purchase them separately and consume them together. I feel very sharp, alert, motivated and most importantly HAPPY on a run. When the run ends isn't as interesting to me as how good I feel during the run. The effects are long lasting and tend to stay present throughout my day.
Drop the lone wolf act🐺 and grab a body or two (or more) to keep you company on your runs. Good, casual conversation can really help you stave off boredom. For many, gossip is the ultimate boredom killer. On a run you can freely gossip in the open air without the fear of being recorded. Just make sure that you've left electronic devices at home.
Don't let the excuse of boredom be the reason you don't find yourself on the next level in life. Outrun your boredom and derive all the benefits on offer!
Another weekend gone and another long run ticked off my to-do list. This weekend's long run was a lot harder than usual to complete and I really struggled through it because, it happened... I heard it. You want the truth? Every runner has too...every runner has been seduced by it...I'm talking about kaja ka voice that starts to sweetly whisper when the run gets challenging. The voice comes from the little person in your head that talks to you and says things like "Ah, nalema! I think we should stop now." Remember him? He’s very convincing and you know what? You can’t help but flirt with the idea of quitting when he gets going. I'm here to tell you that if you learn how to defeat that person on your runs then you will learn how NOT to quit when things get hard in your life. You will be conditioned to endure difficulty and overcome adversity in any situation.
The fact is, kaja ka voice is present in every physical activity and your ability resist it will determine how far you can go not only in your fitness adventures but in life as well.
Here are some battle tips for success during the mental warfare when it comes:
Listen, and then laugh it off and talk back
You're going to hear it; it's inevitable. Instead of pretending you can't hear it or that you'll simply ignore it, choose to listen and find the humor in it and accept the challenge presented. It's time to prove something to that little person and yourself. Learn to talk to yourself positively when things get hard. To encourage and support yourself and become your own cheerleader.
Do what you said
At this point in time many of us have made new year resolutions that we may or may not be on track with. Remember the promise to lose weight? To run 10/21/42 kms (or more) this year? To get a 6 pack maybe? To get that degree? Remember what you said to yourself about the year 2021? Keep running until you get to the finish line that you set for yourself no matter how hard things get. Don't let that little person turn you into a liar because you're not keeping your word of doing the things you said you would do.
Smile when things get hard. This simple act will change the dynamics of any situation. Your legs are burning? Smile. Life is hard? Smile. Learn to be positive and embrace difficult situations. There's no situation in your life that you can't handle, no run and distance that you can't complete. Smile through the pain and eventually you'll realize that you don't feel anything anymore. Smiling can numb the pain, both actual and perceived pain. Show off those pearly whites and watch yourself triumph over any situation.
I've always considered kaja ka voice as a gauge of your capacity to endure and how bad you really want something. Every run is an opportunity to develop this capacity through constant duels with that little person in your head. Start running and bear witness to the extreme development in your mental toughness and resilience. Fitness is merely a side effect so run & grow!
Weekends often offer events and significant moments that we reflect on during the week. This past weekend did exactly that. Here's what happened... I went to bed early on Friday night because I had a long run🏃🏿♂️planned for Saturday morning. I was on the road by 5 sharp and barely 5 minutes into my run I had an encounter with club goers returning home. Hmmm. Ndipo bantu bakamba kuipa. “Iwe (insert expletives) utamanga kuti? Ukazi kumwa moba!” 😡 I don’t know about you but I don’t quite like being heckled so early in the morning! I was very tempted to respond but I resisted this impulse and kept it moving. So should you. I have no doubt that others have had unpleasant experiences with strangers on the road and in the gym. Ladies, you must be all too familiar with cat calling and unsavory commentary just because you walked out of your gate and started doing something. Gents, you likely have experienced being the butt of a joke and being openly provoked just because you’re trying to better yourself. I want to encourage everyone that has ever been discouraged to ignore the noise and keep getting after it.
I encourage you to proceed as follows when confronted with such situations:
Hecklers, harassers, and cat callers are deeply insecure individuals. Don’t mind them and always remember, “you will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”
I was on a run the other day and I had a family of four zip right past me! One adult, and three adolescents in what I believed was a father/uncle with his sons/nephews on a competitive run. It was heart-warming to witness because I believe this is how things should be... fitness should be a family affair.
Improving your family's fitness culture involves:
Daily family member involvement
Involve your family members in the activities you like to engage in. If you like to run, grab a few bodies in your household to go with you. If you like to hit the gym, go pay for a family member/spouse and hit the gym together. Fitness and family is an excellent opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones. Get active together.
Weekly family runs
Consider having a family fitness day once a week on the weekend. My parents organize what we've come to know as a 'Sunday family run' where numerous family members are invited for a run and breakfast. It's a wonderful social event and those that don't run, don't eat. You can consider setting up your own activity based family event, it's doesn't have to be a run, it just has to involve some movement.
Let's not just meet to eat and drink as a family, you should endeavor to make exercise a core part of the link up.
Men, lead your households towards fitness. Exercise has a myriad of benefits and ones which your family would no doubt gain from. Take a keen interest in the health and fitness of your family and be the captain of your family's team. Don't start escaping to the gym while your madam is doing her hair; take her with you. Let her leave that wig on the table. She'll find it when you're done working out. Don't allow your kids/dependents to simply watch TV the whole day and do nothing but open and close the fridge. Let them put on their sneakers and accompany you on your fitness adventures.
Stay healthy together by working out together🏃🏿♂️🏃🏾♀️