How To Make Running Fun: 16 Tricks and Tips To Enjoy Running

Dread lacing up your running shoes? Here's how to inject joy into your run workouts.

How To Make Running Fun: 16 Tricks and Tips To Enjoy Running 1
CJ Alberston, an elite runner who knows how to have a good time. Photo:

Some people love to run.

I certainly fall into that camp. I have been running for over 25 years and have such a passion for the sport that I became a certified running coach to make running not only my avocation but also my vocation.

However, although many of the runners I coach also have a passion for running, plenty of my clients hate running and hope to find a way to make running fun.

For these runners, a running coach serves as a point of accountability because they otherwise lack the motivation to run simply because they don’t love running.

Fortunately, I have worked with enough runners over the years of all ages and interest levels that I have amassed some tips for how to make running fun, even for staunch running haters.

In this guide to how to make running fun, we will discuss some top tips to make running more enjoyable. 

Let’s get started!

How Can You Make Running Fun?

There isn’t a single magic pill or solution for how to make running fun that will necessarily cause everyone to instantly love running.

Rather, different strategies may make running fun and appeal to different runners based on your personality, preferences, reasons that you don’t love running, fitness level, and the type of training that you do already.

I do think it is important to note that almost every runner will experience a dip in motivation to run at one time or another.

I love running, but even I struggle to be super excited to do every single speed workout and sometimes I, too, am looking for ways for how to make running fun again.

Many beginners also often go through a phase where they are first very excited about running, but once they stop improving so quickly, the joy of running wanes somewhat, and they need strategies for how to make running fun again.

Runners high fiving.

How Do I Make Running Fun Again…and Improve at the Same Time?

Here are some of my top tips to make running fun or to love running for beginners and advanced runners alike:

#1: Get a Running Coach

Investing in a running coach can help you prioritize your running routine and give you “permission“ to feel excited about your running training and life as a runner.

A running coach can also help you determine possible causes for dips in motivation

For example, you might be overtraining, underfueling, or have gotten into a rut with the types of running routes, running workouts, and goals you are setting for yourself.

#2: Join a Running Club

Social support is one of the most popular ways to make running more fun.

Most communities have local running groups that meet up for long runs, speed workouts, or local races.

You can also find a running buddy in your neighborhood, job, or perhaps even in your family.

Having the companionship for your running workouts helps pass the time because you have someone to talk to, someone to go through the hard workouts with, and people to support you when your motivation is low.

Even if there isn’t much of a running community in your area, you can find an online running community on social media. 

We have an awesome online social media Facebook group for Marathon Handbook!

Runners in pink gear.

#3: Set an Exciting Running Goal

Setting an exciting running goal will give you something to work towards.

The best running goals are SMART goals: specific, measurable, appropriate, realistic, and time-bound.

Running goals don’t have to be geared towards a race. You might find some running events in your area, such as community runs, fun runs, or park runs.

#4: Use a Running App

There are tons of great running apps that can help make running fun.

Examples include Zombies, Run! where there is a story interjected into your run or Run an Empire.

#5: Find New Running Routes

One of the most common reasons that runners get into a rut or feel that running has become boring is because they are running the same running routes every day.

Your local running store or members of the running community may have suggestions for other great places to run.

Or, use a running app such as AllTrails to discover new routes, trails to explore, and ways to bring variety to your running routine.

A runner smiling.

#6: Incentivize Yourself 

There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of external motivation.

Perhaps you can incentivize yourself by scheduling a spa day or a massage if you knock off all of the runs on your training plan for the week, or you might buy yourself a subscription to a streaming service such as Spotify so that you can create a motivating running playlist.

#7: Make a Fun Playlist

Particularly for long runs, having a special running playlist that you curate each week can help keep the run fun. 

Choose upbeat songs that put a pep in your step by choosing songs with a BPM that will help you maintain a fast running cadence.

#8: Try Audiobooks or Podcasts

If you are tired of the same running playlist and music with a fast bpm isn’t really your jam, an audiobook or podcast can be a fantastic running companion.

One of the best tips I give to runners who are struggling to love running is to use their running workouts as the only time they are “allowed” to listen to a certain captivating audiobook or a favorite podcast.

This can help get you out the door so you can hear the next installment of your true crime podcast, captivating thriller audiobook, or even just a motivational memoir or biography that has you hooked.

A person trail running.

#9: Explore Trail Running

If you always run on the roads or the treadmill, trying trail running is a great way to rediscover the joy of running or start to love running in a whole new way.

Trail running tends to be more relaxed and you can become totally immersed in the beauty of nature.

#10: Gamify Your Workouts

As mentioned, certain running apps such as Zombies, Run! help gamify running, which can make running really fun.

If you don’t like using running apps, you can also invent your own running games.

For example, you might try to find a fartlek workout where you run hard every time you see a light post and then run easy at the next one.

Or you might do a scavenger hunt run searching for a house of every color as you run, or you might try to identify the brands of running shoes you see on other runners as they approach as quickly as you can, testing your running gear knowledge.

A Zumba class.

#11: Mix It Up With Cross-Training

If you are really in a running rut, dropping down to running 2 to 3 days a week and cross-training 2 to 3 days per week can help make your runs feel more special.

Try swimming, cycling, elliptical, Ski Erg, or a Zumba class for a variety of cardio.

#12: Train for a New Distance

If you usually train for long distance, like marathons, consider training for a 5k, 10k, or trail running race. If you have only been training for shorter races, consider following a training program for your first half marathon.

Training for a new distance can add newness to your training program and give you different goals to work towards.

#12: Buy Some Exciting Running Gear

Every runner loves new running shoes or new running gear.

Perhaps you have had your eye on a new GPS running watch, a hydration pack, or some running socks.

Go ahead, spoil yourself! New running gear is always a great way to have fun celebrating your hobby.

#13: Dabble With a Triathlon

Especially if you do a lot of cross-training workouts like biking and swimming, you might consider signing up for a triathlon

Triathlons are also a great option for runners in the summer who find that it is too hot to do a lot of long runs, or like to train by heart rate and find that it is too hot to do harder speed workouts in the summer.

#14: Sign Up for a Race

Beginners or casual recreational runners often feel like they are “too slow“ or “not good enough“ to run a race.

However, almost all races are open to runners of any fitness level.

The running community will welcome you no matter how fast or slow you are, and having a race on the calendar will give you more motivation to follow a training program and stick with your running routine.

There may also be a community fun run or other running events that aren’t necessarily formal races. These can be a great way to have fun while running.

A person looking at their running watch.

#15: Try a Running Challenge

A running challenge or fitness challenge can help you have fun while accomplishing a goal that you set for yourself.

For example, maybe you want to try a running streak, or you want to try and run every street in your town within the calendar year.

While I can’t guarantee that you will necessarily love running after using some of these tips, hopefully, a few ideas will help you figure out how to make running fun in your own life so that you feel motivated to lace up your running shoes and stick with your running routine.

Check out the introduction video here and commit to creating good habits for the next 7 days!
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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