Some people LOVE running. And some people only run if they’re being chased. Maybe you fall somewhere in between these two extremes and are considering running to improve your health.

The idea of taking up running can be an exciting goal. But the actual act of running? Well, not so much for some people. In your mind you know 30 minutes of daily exercise can transform your health – and that running is great exercise, but, when you’re relaxing on the couch, lacing up your running shoes is the last thing you feel like doing…which is why you should probably do it!

If you’re committed to starting a running habit, there are things you can do to stay motivated and look forward to running. Here are five ways to make running seem less strenuous and more fun.

Sing Loud and Proud

Music makes running fun. You may create your own catchy playlist or search a music service like Spotify to see what other runners are listening to. Music gets the heart pumping and ignites each stride with determination.

If you still need an extra boost to keep things going, consider singing along to your favorite tracks. Sure, you might get a few crazy looks from passing drivers, but let them stare. You’ve got a run to finish! (This probably works best outdoors and not in the gym.)

It’s helpful to have more than one playlist to cycle through so you don’t get bored listening to the same old songs over and over again.

Pretend Someone is Chasing You

Have you ever had to suddenly make a run for it? Whether you were actually in danger or just dodging raindrops, you probably felt a jolt of adrenaline kick-in as you took off. Try to get your mind back into that mode by pretending someone is chasing you in the middle of your run (it’s probably best to not play this little mental game at night so you don’t freak yourself out).

Take the Road Less Traveled

Sometimes a change in routine works wonders for the mind. If you’re getting bored with your current running route, map out a new one, or, better yet, just go wherever the wind takes you. These days many high end trackers come with a GPS to ensure you won’t get lost and will faithfully lead you back to your starting point.

Run with a Friend

Running with a buddy makes running more fun. And if you really want to try something different, run with a friend you know is faster. It might be a struggle to keep up at first but you know in your heart that you welcome the challenge.

Race Against Yourself

If you don’t currently run with a stopwatch, get one and time yourself on your regular running route. Then pick one day each week when you race against your previous best time. There’s something about striving for a new personal best record that makes you forget about the pain and struggle.

Beginning a regular running routine can be made easier if you think of ways to distract yourself from the grueling grind of pounding the pavement. And the day quickly comes when you will finally get addicted to that runner’s high and can’t wait to lace up your shoes!

So, run with a friend, race against yourself, or take a different route to mix things up. Above all, maintain a positive attitude and keep at it because before long you’ll see that having a fit body is pretty fun as well, making every breathless step and drop of sweat worth it.

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