It is exciting when you are out for a run once you lace up your shoes and start to hit the road. The feeling of running through the fresh air gives you the “feel goods” to keep running.

Some days, running can be exciting, while other days can be boring or burned out. For sure, running sessions can keep us consistent, but we still need to mix things up with fun runs to help us run consistently without getting bored.

We spoke to three skilled runners, who shared their running experiences about how they tune in some fun runs in between their running sessions to keep things entertaining and challenging.

1. Mohammad Sukaimi Bin Ali

Bio: Singaporean, 41 year-old, Consultant

Runner: Mohammad Sukaimi Bin Ali

He started running in primary school as a form of training for his soccer practice. Sukaimi remembered running from home to his primary school for soccer practice when he was in primary four, when he was 10 years old.

It started to get serious when he joined the National Service in 2000. He also participated in races from 2003, from 5km to Ultramarathons.

He went to the Road Runners Club of America – Coach Course at San Jose in 2009 and participated in the Silicon Valley Marathon. Training is a rigid word for him to use to enjoy his passion. He never likes to train for his run. He just runs because he likes to run.

Running started to grow in him, and the more he runs, the more he enjoys it.

RS: How long have you been running?

Sukaimi: Since I was 10 years old as part of soccer training, 32 years ago. It will be 22 years since I got serious in running when I did my National Service.

RS: How do you train yourself to become a regular runner?

Sukaimi: Like I mentioned, running started to grow in me. The more I run, the more I enjoy it. The key is you must enjoy what you are doing to make it sustainable. When someone does not enjoy it and starts to run, it may not be sustainable. Therefore, for me, to be a regular runner is more about psychological factors.

At different phases of life, I have different ways to psychologically motivate me to run.

  • During national service, getting fitter was the key to make me run regularly.
  • After national service, the age of blogs and forums, getting to know, sharing and socialising with likeminded people and running together makes me run regularly, which led to many PBs.
  • During parenthood, running on a baby jogger with my children motivated me to run regularly.
  • Now, after going through a phase of chronic disease and thinking about my family, I changed my diet and started to run more frequently than usual. In fact, right now, I feel fitter, and my running is more structured, consistent and sustainable, even better (although not faster) compared to those days when I had many PBs.

RS: Do you get bored easily when your running routine becomes boring and repetitive? 

Sukaimi: Yes, it can be boring. Here are my recommendations to keep your runs interesting.

RS: If so, how can you spice up your running session to make it more fun?

Sukaimi: Here are the tips to make your run more interesting:

  • Run by duration (plan to run 30 mins, but run 17 mins and U-turn back, following the same route for another 13 mins).
  • Run with metronomes or music with a certain beat per minute. (to ensure that the cadence is maintained throughout the run).
  • Galloway Method, run and walk throughout the distance (sometimes, use a metronome or music at certain beats per min during the run).
  • Interval training. Run hard and walk throughout the distance (sometimes use a metronome or music at certain beats per min during the run).
  • Run with load (using a weighted vest) to add some challenge.
  • Most of my runs are always impromptu. I will decide when and what to do, how far and where to run. That’s why I am the lonely runner. 

RS: Can you share a fun running tip for new runners to help them run efficiently and enjoyably?

Sukaimi: New runners can try these out to make their run more efficient:

  • Participate in a race (pre-Covid)
  • Plan a training programme for the race (include long runs and interval training)
  • Create objectives for self-challenge:
    1. Run 10km in 10 days straight.
    2. Run 5.5km with a 6kg load and mask every day for 55 days straight.
    3. Annual mileage target following the calendar year (example, 2022km for this year)
    4. Weekly mileage target (ranging from 35 km to 50 km per week)
  • Target a certain landmark (historical or interesting), plan out the route and run there to take a selfie.
  • Run along routes that bring back childhood memories.

You can follow Sukaimi on Instagram: @thelonelyrunner

2. Risa Morishita

Bio: Japanese, 25-year-old, Traveller

Runner: Risa Morishita

Risa used to run 100m, 200m and 400m in middle and high school, but she was the slowest in the team. She started to run a full marathon at her university just for fun. She has been getting into it because she found many benefits in long distance that she didn’t know.

She is now the founder of her own running club “LOL RUN CREW” in Tokyo, Japan. She has been assisting a lot of runners at more than ten official marathons as a Nike Run Club pacer and completed 30km-100km marathons as a race ambassador.

RS: How long have you been running?

Risa: About 10 years (4 years for marathon)

RS: How do you train yourself to become a regular runner?

Risa: There are two tips for training daily and before races.

  • Daily

Set an exciting goal for each run. I run only 5km to boost energy, 20km to sightsee new places or 10km to grab a nice bubble tea. Once you find that running can be achieved for any personal purposes, it becomes your routine, which is most important before you start training.

  • Before race

This is my basic rule on how I became a marathoner, which I learnt from my dad, Hakone Ekiden (One of the most prominent relay marathons in Japan).

Try to run more than 5km almost every day no matter how short a distance, as long as you maintain the running routine at least 4 days a week.

How much you run will depend on what your confidence lets you believe during the race. Your body apparently doesn’t get tired faster since your body’s getting used to running long hours.

RS: Do you get bored easily when your running routine becomes boring and repetitive? 

Risa: No I don’t, I never regret a run that I’ve run in my life. Running always helps me maintain positive mental and physical health. It works as meditation that makes you realise the most precious things you didn’t see lying around you.

Morning runs refresh you by improving your productivity for the day. You can feel that running before you eat breakfast in the morning burns more fat than running after eating.

RS: How do you continue to keep your running session interesting?

Risa: : I make my running session more fun by creating interesting running routes adding some essence, which makes you realise something new.

It can be seasonal events, such as cherry blossom viewing and visiting a shrine at new year but also collaborations with others.

One of the meaningful sessions was plogging in Tokyo. “Plogging” is jogging and picking up litter. I made the course around the park, where there was a lot of trash left behind by walkers.

We ran and collected countless cigarette butts, plastic bottles, tissues, and so on with garbage trash bags and tongs. It was a great run, finding out how one’s irresponsible behaviour pollutes the environment terribly, and there is always somebody who cleans nature behind them. 

RS: Can you share a fun running tip for new runners to help them run efficiently and enjoyably?

Risa: Running with somebody is much more fun while running alone is like meditation. If you go for a run with friends on the weekends, you not only share the moment in great nature but also feel so refreshed, burning your fat together while talking compared to only chit-chatting at a cafe.

To join running events and meet someone similar to you is also good motivation to keep it up. There are countless ways to enjoy running. I hope you will find your own best way of running, and I am looking forward to running with you at LOL RUN CREW (@lolruncrew) soon! 

You can follow Risa on Instagram: @risamorris

3. Eisabess Chee

Bio: Singaporean, 26-year-old, Civil servant

Runner: Eisabess Chee

Once averse to running, Eisabess let herself be convinced by her partner back in 2017 to give the sport a shot. The initial stages weren’t all rainbows and butterflies, just resentment and body aches.

Gradually, with the support of various running communities and friends, she found her own rhythm. She eventually grew to appreciate how much running taught her about her body, mind and life. Since then, she has gone on to compete in 5k, 10k and 21k races. Running has become integral to her lifestyle and identity.

RS: How long have you been running?

Eisabess: Nearly 4 years now!

RS: How do you train yourself to become a regular runner?

Eisabess: As with all habits, the habit of running regularly must also be cultivated over time. Most regular runners I know do it out of discipline or determination, or they actively derive joy from it. Mine is none of the above. I do it simply by telling myself I have no other choice!

RS: Do you get bored easily when your running routine becomes boring and repetitive?

Eisabess: Definitely! I always need to shake things up in my run in order to come out of it feeling like I enjoyed it.

RS: If so, how can you spice up your running session to make it more fun?

Eisabess: No two runs are the same. There are many elements that make up a run, and these include (but are not limited to) location, type of run, running route, distance, time of day, running shoes, and even how mentally ready you are that day.

One way to make things more interesting is to use running as an excuse to discover new locations! Back in pre-COVID days, I always ran to explore whichever city I travelled to, as there wasn’t a cheaper and more efficient way to get to know your neighbourhood than that.

In Singapore, I apply the same idea by looking up a place I haven’t been to on the Garmin website, sketching out a route of a particular distance (e.g. 10k), syncing the route to my watch and then just letting technology work its magic. My partner and I call these “runsplorations”—it’s probably obvious why. If you can’t go far, no sweat.

Another easy way to amp things up is to gamify your run! Using the District app, start from wherever you are and run to checkpoints to collect points. You can take it as easy as you want, or make it a race amongst pals. But either way, you will not finish feeling like it was just another run.

A final suggestion is, very simply, to inject new and exciting elements into your run. Think a 5k is boring? Try breaking it up into smaller segments, say 500m, and tagging on a workout at the end of every segment.

For example, you could challenge yourself to do 5 burpees every time you finish another 500m. Not only will you clock the mileage, but you would have also scraped together a cool 50 burpees by the end of your session. 

RS: Can you share a fun running tip for new runners to help them run efficiently and enjoyably?

Eisabess: If you’re the sort who enjoys listening to music while running, don’t just listen to a random potpourri of songs.

To make your runs efficient and also fun, find a playlist that matches your cadence, which refers to the number of steps you take in a minute. I personally use this Spotify playlist called Run ‘N’ Bass, which has a whole roster of 170-175 BPM songs but there are literally tonnes more out there. 

You can follow Eisabess on Instagram: @goodbetterbess_

Feel free to share your fun tips and tricks with us about how you keep running fun yet challenging. We would love to hear your thoughts.

The RunSociety Team

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