Monday, July 25, 2011

Keeping Things Interesting

As we stroll through the sauna that has been Central Ohio weather this summer, it is easy to start dreading the longer training runs associated with upcoming fall half or full marathons.

I’m blessed with a good local group in Mount Vernon (The Running Buddies) who keep me accountable and stay after me to run. However, even with the group, it’s still hard to find ways to make the training runs not turn into something that is mundane. And, I can only imagine how bad it can get for those of you who are doing all of this on your own without the benefit of the social aspect of a group or running partner to help you pass the time.

Obviously, listening to music or even audio book files is one way to take your mind off the task at hand during a run, especially a long run. But even then, it is hard to get geared up to get out the door. You can listen to music in the comfort of the A/C in your house.

One thing that we have tried to do with our running group is to create themed runs at least once a month based on either a holiday that month or something different that is going on. We’ve had a whole list of them so far, and we create virtual shirts for them that every finisher gets tagged with on Facebook (see photo). It’s been fun coming up with wacky sayings and silly designs, but more importantly it has keep people’s interest. We also use those opportunities to invite other people who don’t regularly run with us, and it has been fun to see their interest level in running grow after participating one time (whether walking or running) in a 5K.

One other thing that I have tried to do is to meet up with runners from other nearby cities as my schedule allows just to run a different route (see top photo as a recent example). The Daily Mile website ( has been a big help with this as it will help you find runners who live near you, who are signed up for similar races, or who run the same pace as you. The running family is a great one.

So, as we push ourselves through the dog days of summer with the routines of the fall looming all too soon, what do you do to keep your training interesting and fresh? Happy running! Hope to see a lot of you at the start and finish line in Columbus in 84 days! Now, it's off to get ready for our Christmas in July 5K that fittingly starts at 7:25 p.m. on 7/25/2011. Maybe I'll even try to run it in 20:11. :)