Bored bored bored

I always thought I was quite good at relaxing - turns out that is only true from the neck down. Boredom whilst running is driving me nuts. When I listen to music I tend to sing along which isn't helpful when I'm trying to run. I don't like my mind being in free fall with nothing to focus on! (Generally I read whenever I'm awake and not doing something - including in the bath, on the loo etc etc)

Anybody else have this problem and have any suggestions? I have found a few good podcasts but they are running low already! Now that I'm doing longer running stretches I need the distraction more than ever!


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21 Replies

  • The world is full of problems, why not address some of those while running.

    Try running without any music and let your brain be stimulated by your environment. Sometimes I find myself focused inwardly and the whole process is almost meditational, while other runs are spent absorbing the stimuli of the landscape and wildlife around me.

    I think you are mistaking boredom for not being passively entertained by music or other external sounds . Get back to basics and explore your brain and your own thought processes while the the blood is pumping.

    Keep running, keep thinking!!

  • Yep!

  • This....

    This is always good. I plan my/my family's meals, then the shopping list, then when I'm going to go shopping, then will it be a specific trip or on the way back from the gym, how much bread is in the freezer etc etc.

    I may not remember it all when I get home but the plan is there....

  • This is exactly my problem - not just running but life in general! I hate for my mind to wander round of its own accord. I really hate ironing for example, not just because its a hateful job but because it doesn't engage my brain. I have trouble getting to sleep if I don't read until I'm at the point of dropping my kindle.... I've never considered it to be a problem before :)

  • First of all I would like to say a big thanks to you. I responded to your post almost instinctively and on rereading hoped it would be read in the way that was intended, but also it made me realise that I have not run without music for quite some time. So today I headed out on a 5k with nothing in my ears but the cool morning air, in an attempt to clarify what it is that goes on in my head when running.

    I started to draft out a reply to you, but soon realised that this was a way bigger subject and I will need to do at least a 10k to begin to do it justice and a long rambling post will no doubt follow. Secondly I ran through some ideas for a speech for a particular character in a play I am writing, making some real progress.

    The run was slower than usual, but was one of the most enjoyable and stimulating runs that I have had for a very long time, reinforcing what I said in my initial reply you. I believe that it is important to learn to live with ones own thoughts and not drown them with constant external stimuli. Running provides this opportunity.

    Thanks again

  • How about audiobooks? Bit of an expensive option, I suppose, but I found them really good to reduce boredom when I was driving a lot, which seems a similar sort of activity in terms of options for distraction.

  • Our library lets us 'borrow' digital audiobooks, less expensive.

  • What about talking books? Listen to a story as you run! Make it a thriller and you can pretend your running from the enemy!!

  • I listen to comedy downloads from Radio 4. They are generally half an hour so round about the right time. Many advantages a) they're free b) it's funny and c) unlike music, you don't realise how long it is until it's finished (I found when listening to music I would count down the songs or run too fast to a "go-ey" one).

  • Desert Island Discs podcasts are an interesting thing to listen to.

  • Was just about to suggest radio4 then see others have also promoted it! Any pod cast that interests you would be good I think but I also think Iannodatruffe makes a good point about running in the moment or solving lifes problems in your head on a run. Depends if you like to be in the world on your run or escape from it. I think I will do a mixture!

  • I'm also a radio 4 podcast fan. But I also use running time as thinking things over time. (Rewrote a large chuck of my dissertation last year in my head by running). But also, I find that just letting my brain amble along in neutral is very restful.

  • I count my breaths while I'm running - breathe in for three steps and out for two, thirty breaths is one minute (for me)... And I do maths - proportions, fractions, percentages of the total time I'm going for. Sometimes it helps to pass the time; other times it makes me painfully aware of how long there is to go! But it's definitely a distraction.

  • BBC radio has so many podcasts - inc the Archers! You can choose a genre that suits you - happy running

  • A shout out for the Ouch podcast - BBC disability talk (all flavours) Really funny, real down to earth and a good antidote to whinging about being tired or bored....

    Counting the number of species of plant was a good one for me on a run recently (I'm not much good at ID and even I am not slow enough to get a really good look at each one)

  • Actually - it is a GOOD idea to sing while you are running. 80% of our running - in particular long runs - should be done at a conversational pace. This pace is such that you can completely converse with a fellow runner - OR sing quietly to yourself. If you can't sing while running, you are running too fast.

    Of course, this does not apply to "workout" runs - which are done at paces above conversational level.

  • Trail running is more demanding of your concentration. Give that a whirl.

    I like new routes to keep me interested

  • Thanks everybody for your comments!

    I just need to point out Bazza1234 that I could not really go any slower but still can't manage to sing or chat at the same time! I only wish I could! My running (and I use the term loosely as its more like staggering but with more arm action) speed is only 4.5kph according to my treadmill.

    I am stuck on the treadmill for now as I don't seem to be able to run at all outside yet and I really wanted to build up to the 30 minutes and then go back to that. Maybe I will start at W1 again outside whilst doing treadmill runs in between. When i have tried it I couldn't even do 30 seconds.

    My aim is to do a park run by September but I would like to be able to run all the way and take less than an hour to do it! It seemed a reasonable goal knowing I should be doing 30 minutes by 15th July! Another 6 weeks to work up from there.

  • Ah, I think I see your problem! Treadmill running... :D Outside is far less boring. When you say you can't, what is it exactly that you can't do? Yes, it's less even underfoot. But honestly, if you can find a local park or stretch of pavement to start with, you will be fine. You say you're going slowly but slowly is great to start with. If in doubt, slow down. The action of running is what counts, and some of us run slower than we walk.

    I used to have to run with some sort of sound in my ears - music or a podcast (or the Archers - yay!) . Now I find running very meditative, as others have said. The cadence of my footfalls is what matters. I can solve problems, work out what's for tonight's tea, write shopping lists, write the next scene in my fic, reflect on how I handled a difficult situation - all sorts! Or, of course, just look at the scenery.

    Try outside - it's wonderful :)

  • Hi Anniemurph

    The reason I say I can' because on the couple of occassions that I tried it was horrid. The jolting was appalling and it felt like gravity had increased its pull about tenfold! Obviously I'm used to the treadmill and its cushioning but I didn't expect the velcro feet effect! I intend to start C25K again, or close to the beginning outside to work up to it. The place that I tried is a circular park with a nice flat circular path which is almost exactly a third of a mile round. Seemed like a good place to start on......

    Not sure I can do meditative in any way shape or form and it has never been so much of a problem. I need to work on this I guess!

  • A podcast manager app is a great idea, then you can subscribe to different free podcasts that are downloaded to your device. I recommend BBC Radio 4's Drama of the Week and This American Life in addition to what's already been mentioned. Lots of us struggle to switch off and need the stimulation to keep us going.

    Any diversion from the gremlins is great for me!

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