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Your first run is over, and you can be rightly proud that you have decided to start. But that shouldn’t be the end of your endeavours. Now you need to work hard to make sure that your first run is not the last. But how do you keep running fun, stay motivated and constantly improve? In today’s article, we have some tips for you, thanks to which you can easily run yourself to your first marathon.
9 tips to make running fun and keep you motivated
If you’ve been running for a while, maybe you feel like this sport is a little boring. Same route, same body movements, same people around, same music? Then make this activity a little more fun. We have some tips for you on how to do it.
1. Listen to your body
It may sound like a corny cliché, but it really works. And while this tip isn’t entirely entertainment-related, you’ll appreciate it, too. If you have recently completed your first run, you must still remember how it made you feel on the second and third day. Every muscle in your body ached, you couldn’t even get to the bathroom, and going up the stairs seemed like a superhuman feat? It’s not surprising. It was probably a new type of movement for the body that you didn’t regularly do, so you may well have overdone it a little the first time.
To avoid similar feelings next time, don’t forget the warm-up and dynamic stretching. The obvious thing is not to overestimate your strength and not to increase the extreme volume of training. Follow the so-called 10% rule, which tells you how much you can increase your training volume after 7 days. If you run 20 km in total one week, add an extra 2 km the following week. It may seem like a slow increase to you. That’s not entirely true, though. In two months, you can get up to 40 km per week, which is double the starting value. By gradually adding more, you will help the body to adapt better to the growing load. This will minimize the risk of overtraining-related injury, and you will probably get better results. 
However, advanced runners should also listen to their bodies. If you already have a route planned for the afternoon, and you still don’t feel comfortable in your skin, have leg pain, or are tired, it’s better to postpone your run until the next day. You give the body room for sufficient regeneration, which is just as important as the training itself. Instead of running, you can go for a slow walk, take a sauna or massage. You can even do this yourself at home with the help of a massage gun or foam roller.
But don’t confuse fatigue with laziness. That needs to be fought. If you’re wondering how to do it, you shouldn’t miss the article Why Are We Lazy and What Can Be Done About It?
2. Monitor your progress
How you monitor progress is up to you. Some may be comfortable with a running diary, where they’ll write down more detailed information. Another may prefer mobile apps in which they follow detailed statistics about a particular run. Anyway, it’s good to see yourself getting better. I’m sure it’ll drive you to exercise more.
If you’d like to track your progression but don’t want to spend too much time doing so, I can recommend apps such as Runkeeper, Runtastic or Strava. And if you have a smartwatch or sport tester, you can use the associated apps on your phone. All you have to do is turn them on before the run and off at the end, that’s all. All statistics will then be prepared by the application itself. The gradual improvement you will see on the charts will certainly motivate you not to ease up on your training. I’m sure you’ll be happy to see how a year ago you weren’t able to run a kilometre in under six minutes, and now you’re doing it a minute faster.
Maybe your goal is different, though. Maybe you don’t care about performance, but you want something else, like to lose weight. Running is a fairly demanding sport and so you can burn a fair amount of calories. To keep plodding on and get to your dream weight, watch the progress on your figure. Take a photo before you start running and take a photo every 14 days. You can see even the slightest changes in your body.
Specific applications can also help you take these images. These will catch the body in the same position, so you can find the slightest differences. In addition to photos, however, it is advisable to monitor body measurements or weight for the overall picture. But look at it with a slightly more critical view. Weight can also play with your head nicely. And even though you’re going to work your ass off, it will show you an extra kilogram after a month. However, this does not mean that you have gained a kilo of fat. The article Why the Scale Shows You A Higher Number and It Is Not Fat will tell you more.
3. Find a running partner
Getting yourself to run when you don’t have an imaginary whip behind you can be hard work sometimes. It’ll be all the easier if you find a sporting partner. They will motivate you to work, even if you don’t want to. If you have a crisis while running, they will support you and make you want to not give up. At the same time, kilometres pass by much faster when you talk. And if you don’t feel like talking, you can at least huff and puff together. It’ll strengthen your friendship. In time, when you are more profuse runners, you can include sprint intervals with your partner during slower workouts (e.g. who will run to the next lamp or other place first). This will improve your physicality and at the same time make running more fun for you.
And if you don’t have a person you can run with personally, you can at least share your results with your friends via running apps. That, too, could make you get off the couch and run those few kilometres faster than the others.
4. Give yourself new challenges and goals
To motivate you to do certain activities, it’s cool to also set yourself a goal that you’ll be aiming for. In connection with this can be milestones related to distance, frequency of training or speed. 
Like other goals, your running goal should be:
- time limited
How to approach this in practise?
Poorly set goals:
- I will run regularly.
- I will run a marathon.
Well set goals:
- I will run three times a week for at least forty minutes.
- Within a month I will run 5 km in under 30 minutes.
Races you sign up for can also be a driving force for you. Don’t overestimate your abilities, though. It is ideal to start with a five or ten km race and not immediately a marathon. However, you can also sign up to various challenges in running apps in which you set how many kilometres you want to run by a certain date.
You can then see in the overview if you are at least halfway to your destination, or how many kilometres are left. More recently, virtual runs have become increasingly popular, with each racer running wherever they want with the race-specific app turned on. Often such action is also associated with financial support from specific individuals or foundations. Besides putting in the work for your body, you can do a good deed.
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5. Try guided training
Do you have a running club in your neighbourhood? If so, try to join the others for training sessions together. Not only will you find friends among the runners, but you will surely acquire new theoretical and practical skills. You can even work on skills, like, breathing or walking.
In connection with performance, try guided running training even in online applications, where the voice in the headset tells you what to focus on, when to give more, slow down and so on. If you don’t feel like running today, this leadership can kick you to work toward a better outcome.
6. Compile psyched up playlists
What can make you perform better on the run? Apart from a good pre-workout supplement or an impending thunderstorm, it’s also definitely music. It doesn’t matter if you’re a rock, metal, rap or pop fan. A playlist that you build to suit your taste will inject new power into your veins even whilst running up the biggest hill.
You can break them down by genre, mood, or speed. Categorize even by the BPM (beats per minute). This value indicates how many beats are in a song every minute. The bigger the BPM song, the faster its tempo. If you are going to take a five km sprint and run a PR, find a running playlist with a high BPM value (even up to 190) and get the most out of yourself. 
7. Listen to podcasts
In case you’ve already played all your playlists or aren’t in the mood for music, it’s time to give the spoken word a chance. There are so many podcasts now that everyone really comes into their own. You can listen to news stories, life stories, scientific analyses of topics or try our Gymbeam podcast, which will enrich you with information not only from the world of fitness. You’ll feel good about having spent part of the day being active, plus you’ve learnt something new. Episodes of your favourite podcasts can be saved for runs, which will certainly make you look forward to it more.
8. Alternate routes
Running round and round to the end of the bike path and back again would soon no longer amuse even the greatest lover of running. This stereotype quickly gets boring. If you want to enjoy running more, alternate routes. And if you feel like you already know the neighbourhood, drive a few kilometres away and start your run somewhere else. You’ll get to know your surroundings, and the kilometres will pass by much quicker. Don’t forget to keep your GPS phone with you at all times, in case you get lost.
9. Buy yourself something new
Women, in particular, will surely agree with me that new sportswear will simply make even the laziest people run. It would be a shame to keep a new T-shirt, sweatshirt or leggings in the closet. But you can also make yourself happy with technological gadgets. For example, get a premium paid version of a running app, or you can set yourself a bigger goal with a more valuable reward. How about buying a new sports watch or headphones after you have run 1,000 kilometres? This could be a decent driving force for you to run even in the rain.
How to continuously improve your running?
Even if you enjoy running and don’t feel stereotyped, you might expect slightly better results. Would you like to run faster or manage a longer distance? If you already have the right technique in your little finger, focus on the following points that can help you.
1. Eat adequate amounts of quality food
Having sufficient nutrients from quality sources is the basis for being able to continuously improve. However, you may be particularly affected when you are trying to lose weight, you are in a calorie deficit and you expect to improve every time you run. If your body doesn’t have enough energy, it probably won’t be able to help you perform better. Therefore, you should prioritise.
Do you want to lose weight and therefore are willing to accept a possible reduction in performance, or are you preparing for a race, for example, and need to be as fast as possible? The choice is yours. Read more about the risks associated with a low intake in the article What Happens To The Body When You Don’t Eat Enough?
And if you’re wondering how many calories you should eat to lose weight, keep fit, or gain muscle mass, use our energy intake calculator. [4-5]
2. Don’t forget to regenerate
Sufficient rest is just as important as training. But many people forget it in an effort to be the best. And the result? They will be overtaken by athletes who do not forget regeneration. Why is this so important? In sport, muscle damage occurs, namely small tears in muscle fibres. If the body does not have enough time to repair, you increase your risk of getting injured. At the same time, you might also be more likely to experience muscle pain, fatigue, and dislike of sport. And that’s only a fraction of the manifestations associated with a lack of regeneration and impending overtraining. [6-7]
Regeneration is thus a kind of process during which psychological and physical forces that have been compromised by stress are restored. But it does not mean that you have to lie on the couch all day to recover from training. How about going for a walk, playing badminton in the garden with your family, or doing some other light activity? You’ll see that you won’t even remember the intensive running. Then the next day, you’ll look forward to putting your sneakers back on and heading off for the next few kilometres. 
3. Gradually increase the distance run
In the first part of the article we talked about gradually increasing the distance run per week by 10%. That goes hand in hand with lengthening the route itself. If you run only five km a few times a week, you can’t expect to train like this for a marathon. Try gradually adding a kilometre every time you reach the desired distance. In time, the original five km will be second nature.
4. Speed up the tempo
Accelerate the tempo – that’s easy to say, isn’t it? Of course, no one is forcing you to turn a leisurely jog into a sprint. Try alternating the tempo every few kilometres.
What would a 5km workout look like?
- 1 km – start with a light jog
- 2 km – run with maximum effort
- 3 km – light jogging
- 4 km – run with maximum effort
- 5 km – give yourself a slow jog with breathing
In this way, you can gradually extend the distance and thus include more fast kilometres. You gradually build up your physique, which allows you to easily run at a faster pace and several kilometres in a row. Once again, running apps can help you with this type of training, telling you that you have run another kilometre and what your average speed was. This way you can monitor if you are gradually improving.
5. Alternate running distance
Do not always try to run as many kilometres in the shortest possible time. In your running training schedule, alternate with both shorter runs at a faster pace and longer slower runs, where your heart rate will remain at a lower frequency. This is when perseverance builds. This is a familiar phrase among runners: “To speed up, you have to slow down.”
For a better idea, use a smart watch to show you what range you’re in. If you alternate frequencies and running lengths, your workouts will be much more varied and fun.
6. Incorporate HIIT
HIIT, or high intensity interval training, can also help to improve your running performance. When jogging, try alternating short sprints with a jog. The inclusion of other intensive training, which helps to improve explosiveness, speed and endurance, can also have a positive effect on your running performance. Plus, you can burn a lot of calories in a relatively short period of time. [8-9]
If you don’t know what a workout like this should look like, try the HIIT we have prepared for you.
7. Add exercises using your own weight
If you add in exercises using your own weight while running, you will enhance your training, plus you can improve your physique and performance. After every 500 metres, how about including thirty repetitions of some exercise with your own weight? Burpees or jump squats can work perfectly. You will see that running alone along with these exercises will automatically become much easier for you.
8. Do other sports
Just because you love running doesn’t mean other sports should cease to exist for you. Quite the opposite. Try to break away from the stereotype and include other activities. Runners should also regularly engage in strength training. And don’t worry, you don’t have to worry about suddenly having muscles like Schwarzenegger’s as that would be a nuisance when you run. On the contrary, it allows you to ensure, for example, better muscle activation, biomechanics of movement, performance and also reduce the risk of injury. 
How about giving cycling a chance? The stronger the buttocks and legs you build by pedalling up hills will certainly come in handy when you run. Read more about the benefits of cycling in the article Cycling Can Help Tone Your Legs, Buttocks and Lose Weight. What Else Can It Do?
What should you remember?
As you can see, running doesn’t have to be boring and stereotypical at all. If you follow our simple tips, it becomes a sport that you don’t just get tired of. You may well stick with it in the long term. In addition, you will appreciate that you can make great strides in terms of distance and speed in a relatively short time. Don’t let up on your training and maybe you’ll gradually run a marathon. And if you know someone who is constantly starting to run but just not getting there, share this article with them to help them on their journey this time.
 The 10-Percent Rule – https://www.runnersworld.com/training/a20781512/the-10-percent-rule/
 The Only Way to Eat an Elephant – https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mindfully-present-fully-alive/201804/the-only-way-eat-elephant
 Vittoria Maria Patania et al. – The Psychophysiological Effects of Different Tempo Music on Endurance Versus High-Intensity Performances – https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00074/full
 Anne B. Loucks et al. – Low Energy Availability in the Marathon and Other Endurance Sports – https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00007256-200737040-00019
 Louise M. Burke Guidelines for Daily Carbohydrate Intake – https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165%2F00007256-200131040-00003
 Regeneration – https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/fact-sheets/Pages/regeneration.aspx
 Jeffrey B. Kreher, Jennifer B. Schwartz – Overtraining Syndrome – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3435910/
 Paul H Falcone et al. – Caloric expenditure of aerobic, resistance, or combined high-intensity interval training using a hydraulic resistance system in healthy men – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25162652/
 Catia Martins et al. – High-Intensity Interval Training and Isocaloric Moderate-Intensity Continuous Training Result in Similar Improvements in Body Composition and Fitness in Obese Individuals – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26479856/
 WHY STRENGTH TRAINING IS IMPORTANT FOR RUNNERS – https://www.bodytrack.com.au/resource-hub-blog/strength-training-important-runners/
 Bernaciková, M., Masarykova univerzita, & Fakulta sportovních studií – Regenerace a výživa ve sportu (1. vyd.)