How to mix up your running around the block

As a running population, we’re all a few weeks into a renewed ‘bubble’ period of our lives, and if you’ve recently decided to try out some running – brilliant!
Starting out running is often a relatively entertaining game of trial and error – directly correlating with fitness and enthusiasm. The most rewarding part of starting on this journey is the rewards are plentiful, to begin with. Humans at an evolutionary level are built to run moderate distances far more efficiently than most of the animal kingdom, we can sweat, we can breathe a substantial amount in relation to our body size – and we adapt to aerobic exercise relatively quickly.
Whilst you may be experiencing many of these realisations at current, the 5km bubble can become a little stale, thus the tips below aim to provide some variety within your given radius.

1. Time

As a runner, measurement of duration and pace is a metric introduced early on. If you have been sticking with one method – say a timed run – add some variety into your week by choosing the alternative. Always run to time? Try running a regular loop without a watch. Inversely, run your loop at a particular pace – this might become a measure of improvement as you build on your running. In terms of variety within a week, don’t always feel the need to run for a specific time period, pick different run durations to keep routes interesting.

2. Distance

With many runners now uniquely aware of the 5km or even 10km radius they can exercise within, in some restrictions, this can act as a variable. Investigate the distance to landmarks or familiar routes within your radius and use these distances to provide variety within your week. Whilst runners develop favourite routes of sorts, try to combine unexplored areas within your radius with old ones, this can be an asset when restrictions ease.

3. Elevation

If you happen to live in a hilly area, utilise the natural features in your neighbourhood during the week. Selecting the route with the most elevation possible, or the least – can provide a drastic change in the type of run you embark upon.

4. Street lights

Colloquially referred to as the ‘oldest trick in the book’ – whether new or experienced – street lights can offer ample entertainment. If you’re new to the sport, these evenly spaced elements of local infrastructure can mark a distance to run to, followed by a distance to walk to – building up your number of streetlights as your fitness and confidence develop. As a more experienced runner, you can create your own interval session by picking off units of street lights as parts of a fartlek.

5. Music

Whether you’re used to running with or without music, the addition of a playlist featuring high beats per minute tracks can make running a little faster feel easier. Similarly, a playlist of tracks of varying duration can act as an impromptu interval session, running more quickly to higher tempo tracks, whilst using more relaxing tunes as a rest interval.