As much as I’d like to suggest to just head out the door and run, that’s not going to work for everybody and maybe you get bored. I know that everybody’s mind isn’t necessarily humming with activity like mine is all the time. Other people have nice quieter minds that don’t have to turn on things all the time. So, I’m Jesse Funk and on today’s episode of Runner’s High, we’re going to talk about four things you can do to not get bored while you’re running.

Let’s get the easy one out of the way, take music with you. Now, this has been probably the go-to tip for a lot of people, and most likely you’re going to take your phone with you. I actually have an iPod Nano. I was trying and trying and trying to find because I wanted to show to you because I’m a relic because I don’t take music anywhere but back when I did, I had this tiny little thing, it’s very, very convenient.

Unfortunately, they don’t make those anymore because I’m old apparently. But you have your phone, you can do a whole number of things to take it with you; armbands, take it in a pocket, just carry in your hand, whatever you got to do. They’re heavier, but they are convenient so you can take them with you.

But if you use over the ear headphones while you’re running, you’re disgusting. Okay, so I’m screwing with you. But here’s the thing. How do you do that without your ears just getting ridiculously sweaty? If you wear big headphones when you’re running, leave me a comment. Let me know like, how does that work? I see it and it just boggles my mind. Here’s the biggest downside of music though, is that because music has a tempo and a cadence and we’re kind of in tune with that, it can change how fast you’re running for better or for worse. So, that’s the biggest downside.

A lot of people go to music, but I’m gonna actually go for suggestion number two, and that is listen to books or podcasts. Now if you want to spend more time with yours, truly hit that subscribe button in the bottom right hand corner, you can go check out the Smart Athlete Podcast where I interview some of the most intelligent and active athletes on the planet.

Really great people, really interesting stories. So, you can spend time with me doing that. It’s also available on iTunes if you don’t want to deal with YouTube while you’re out running. Now, podcasts and books are a great way to go because unlike music, they don’t have that tempo, cadence kind of mixing problem that you’re going to have when you’re listening to music.

You can also use it as a time when you can learn a new skill or learn about something that you’ve been meaning to get around to but you always say, I don’t have enough time. Well, you can double up, you can run and listen to somebody talk at the same time. Word to the wise though, if you’re somebody who spends a lot of time learning new skills, really pushing yourself, do not spend this time to learn a new skill.

Just let it go. Don’t worry about it. Use it as a time to relax. It’s actually a nice thing that happens when you let your mind wander and just go around wherever it wants to go. You’ll begin to process things that where if you’re actually spending the time on them, you may not get the results as if you just let it go.

I actually talked about this on the podcast funny enough recently with my guests, Bonnie Tsui. And she wrote a book called Why We Swim, and she talks about that in the book and then we talk about it on the podcast as well. So, as I mentioned, hit subscribe, go check out my interview with Bonnie here in a minute. Personally, I’m a fan of comedy podcasts, because I like to laugh. Who doesn’t like to laugh?

And you can always get a lot of entertainment value from them. No matter what your particular political or comedic bend, there is somebody out there with your sense of humor. If you like unsophisticated poop jokes like me, then check out Your Mom’s House or Two Bears, One Cave. Try it out.

Along those same lines, is my tip number three is comedy specials, stand up specials. If you’ve got Netflix, you can do this really, really easy. Download the app on your phone and then you can pick out a special and download it before you go out for a run. So, you don’t have to worry about internet connectivity. This is my go-to option when I’ve got indoor bike workouts, or I’m on the treadmill, because anytime you’re indoors, you’re not going anywhere, there’s no change of scenery, it is dreadfully boring.

It’s ridiculously anxiety inducing, because there’s nothing going on here, you’re working really, really hard. And the nice thing about comedy specials is that they’ve been polished, there’s a nice cadence to them, but not a cadence in the sense that is that music so it doesn’t affect your speed. And then you also get that entertainment value. I find I can kind of weave in and out of a joke and still pay attention to what I’m doing with my workout.

Whereas if I’m watching like a movie of some sort, and there’s like a story arc I got to pay attention to, there’s the music that’s trying to change my mood, those things all bother me when I’m trying to work out or trying to run. So, a comedy special is a great medium to be entertained, have your brain doing something, but then not worry about the mood of the music affecting what’s going on with you.

Now I’m a ridiculously big stand up fan. So, if you don’t know what to see, I’ve seen nearly every special on Netflix. Not everyone but a lot. If you don’t know, leave me a comment below. Let me know what do you find funny, show me a meme to say I like this person, but I don’t know what to watch next, I will make a recommendation for you. Leave them down in the comment below. I will make a personal recommendation of what you should watch next.

My last suggestion it’s probably not the one you want, but it may be the one you need to hear. Don’t do anything, just be bored. Now, I talked about this in another episode of Runner’s High, probably multiple times. But boredom is really kind of anxiety in disguise. And it’s possible that you need that time to let your mind settle down; for it to be anxious and for you to strengthen your mind’s ability to not be anxious when you’re not actively doing something.

One tip here, if you want to do this is just head out the door and then not bring anything with you, is to focus on your breathing. And really, this is a mindfulness activity, which when we think about meditation, we think about, okay, I’m sitting in a room and I’m not doing anything, and I’m really, really bored. But that’s not the truth of it. The truth is, your mind is engaged.

So, when you focus on your breathing, you’re thinking about how does it feel when the air is entering my nose or my mouth, and how does it feel when it exits? And that’s what your brain is paying attention to. Obviously, pay attention to traffic and all those kinds of things. But for the most part, you’re going to be paying attention to your breathing.

Now, you’ll notice that your brain wanders off and it goes, “Oh, I hate that guy at the grocery store last week and he blocked me in my parking space and I really needed to pee and I peed my pants.” And then you go, “Oh, wait, I’m supposed to be paying attention to my breathing, and you come back to your breathing. And then you’re not so bored anymore because your mind has the ability to wander and then you pull it back and you actively make it focus on “Hey, this is my breathing.

It’s a little paradoxical to think about actively focusing on breathing, which makes you relax, but it is actually a good way to get everything to all work together to not be bored, to relax, to enjoy your run as something that you practice continually over time. So, if you want more tips on running, how to be a better runner, and possibly a better person with the Smart Athlete Podcast, hit that subscribe button, stick with me on the channel. I’ll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.