According to a once popular viral video (*ahem, click here*), snow may or may not be the perfect texture for running. If slipping on icy floors wasn’t enough, you can also suffer from a frozen face and uncontrollable leaking nostrils – I mean, no one ever wants to be outrun by their nose, am I right? As winter creeps in, you’ll be forced to trade your blissful run outdoors for the tedious mechanical treadmill. But, don’t let it get you down this winter. If you want to maintain focus and enjoy your run, you’ll need to start using these simple strategies.
4 Ways to F O C U S During a Boring Run:
1) Be Zen With Your Breathing
Focusing on your breath is a sure-fire way to stop your mind drifting into thoughts about work, your finances, what you’re going to cook for dinner, and how you forget to pick your little brother up from soccer practice… uh oh!
Synchronizing your breath and your strides will improve your technique and endurance. Something beneficial for when you once again step foot in the outside world. True focus on the breath will help you forget about everything else around you, and your run will be done in no time.
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2) Sprint in Intervals
Ok, it’s time to kick it up a notch. If you find yourself staring up at the clock and if feels like it’s somehow moving backward, you may need to start incorporating interval sprints in your routine.
Sprinting in short 15 to 20-second bursts is not only great for increasing the intensity of your run, but it also improves the performance of your lactic and alactic energy systems.
There are many iPhone apps available, like Seconds Pro and Interval Timer, that allow you to set your interval times and rounds. These apps can also automatically change the music playing through your headphones to match the intensity.
3) Listen to Music
You’re more likely to workout harder when you’re motived by the music you like, as studies show music has improved athletic performance in some people by up to 15%.
Music can provide a distraction from fatigue and the ticking of the clock, while at the same time dictating the pace of your strides. You may find classical music will produce a nice calming pace while listening to Slayer could earn you a speeding ticket.
To take the task of music selection off your shoulders, you may want to check out these bumpin’ Spotify playlists:
- Workout & Rock Out by Topsify Mexico
- HIIT-Pop by Spotify
- Indie Workout by Spotify
- Metal Workout Playlist by Elias Rova
- Best Rock Workout Playlist by Nick Larsen
- Workout Hip Hop Edition by digester.fm
4) Interrupt the Negative Self-Talk
There’s going to be times during your run when you think:
“Has it only been 10 minutes?”
“I’ll stop now and do more tomorrow.”
“I’m so unfit, I hate this, stupid running. Why did I even buy these stupid shoes with their stupid untied laces?….THUD!”
Most of the problems we create on our journey to better heath and fitness resides solely in our heads. A lot of the time, the difference between success and continually making New Year’s resolutions is the way we perceive ourselves in relation to our performance. Sometimes, you’ve just got to talk over those negative thoughts with positive affirmations and encouragement.