How to enjoy outdoor walking and running

Is your social media feed filled with running enthusiasts or daily walkers? Are you wondering how on earth people are enjoying it? You’re not alone. Many of the Spatone team started lockdown as running-phobes and nervous walkers, but we’re starting to get the hang of it. 

To get you going, we have put together a few tips that have been helping us learn how to make the most of our activity outside.

1. Create a motivational playlist

For a lot of people, running or walking without music can be boring and distracting. You can find your mind drifting to any area of discomfort in your body or relentlessly clock watching. Distracting yourself with music is a great way to help you get ‘in the zone’, and finding a good playlist is essential! The last thing you want is a song that’s going to lull you to sleep. If you’ve got Spotify, there are plenty of upbeat gym or running playlists you can check out. But if you’re a little pickier about your music, why not create your own playlist? Put together 25-30 of your favourite upbeat songs and remember to play them on shuffle to keep you on your toes. You want to be able to free your mind and lose yourself in your run or walk. If you’re wanting to go out several days in a row, create a few playlists so you can mix it up.

2. Listen to an audiobook or a podcast

If music isn’t your thing, listening to an audiobook could be a great option for you. Plus, you’d be working out your muscles and your mind! The book or podcast doesn’t need to be challenging; instead, choose something in which you can really lose yourself. Audiobooks are a great option if you don’t usually have time to read. Who knows, you might actually start looking forward to your reading runs! Podcasts are also a fun, and usually free alternative – we’d suggest picking a longer podcast or a podcast series, so you don’t run out of content mid-excursion.

3. Change up your route

As many of us need to stay near our homes at the moment, it can be hard to figure out how to make your route interesting. While knowing where you’re going can help you get in the zone, it can also become pretty boring if you’re doing the same route every day. Try using a mapping app such as Strava’s Route Builder or Under Armour’s Map My Run. They’ll allow you to change your route up whenever you want, while staying close to home. You’d be surprised by how many unexplored areas you find around you!

4. Try to pick out different things on your walk/run (create your own ‘I spy’ game)

‘I spy’ doesn’t need to be for children and can actually make your run fun; yes, FUN. If your running/walking route has been getting a little boring, make a game out of spotting certain things en route. Appreciating these little things can also help you feel more positive, both during your exercise and after. Here are a few things to look out for:

  • Birds
  • Flowers (you can even try naming them if you have any botanical knowledge)
  • Bees
  • Cats or other furry friends
  • Colours (Try looking for bright ones: orange, purple, pink, yellow)
  • Random, quirky objects
  • A ray of sunshine
  • Shapes in clouds

5. Challenge your friends

A little competitive spirit is a great way to get motivated and add a little spark to your outdoor activity. Set races that are driven by distance, time/pace, and frequency, as well as quirkier ideas like virtual scavenger hunts (write a list of things you all need to take pictures of!). You could also try a virtual race, where you all start at the same time and message each other when you’re done. Create a group chat and make sure you’re all tracking your runs and walks with an app or photos, so you can keep yourself accountable!

6. Take it slow

If you’re not in the mood for a challenge with friends, then taking it slow might be the way to go. If you’re new to running, why not try Couch to 5K? You can also find some free beginner running calendars online. If you’re into walking, try to set yourself a daily step challenge. Setting smaller daily or weekly goals will give you greater satisfaction with regular wins and will help you progress at a steady pace until you finally find yourself enjoying your outdoor activity!

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