4 ways to make running a less boring experience.

Image: iStock

Running is a brilliant way to stay fit. You can do it just about anywhere, it won’t cost you $20 for a 45 minute session like other workouts and it’s proven to yield great results.

But that doesn’t make it fun.

Let’s be honest here. Pounding the pavement can become a little… monotonous after a while. Even if you have a great view and your chosen route is full of twists and turns and heart-burning staircases, running tends to be a little same-same.

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To be fair, some people enjoy that, but if you’re easily bored there are plenty of apps and other phone-based tools to make your run more enjoyable or interesting.

Here are some ideas to look into:

1. Customised playlist generator

Now this is a little bit clever. Actually, it's really bloody clever.

Michelle Bridges and her 12 Week Body Transformation program have joined forces with Spotify to create a widget that generates customised playlists tailored to your musical tastes (yep, yours - nobody else's) and how you like to run.

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The generator, which launched earlier this week, asks you a bunch of questions before you hit the pavement, which helps it determine the playlist you need. These factors include your location, your favourite workout song, and the distance and intensity of the run you have planned. It'll also suggest some nearby tracks to try if you're bored with your usual run.

The best part? You won't be stuck with the same running playlist every day, and the generator won't judge you for your shameless love of Katy Perry songs.

Click here to get started.

Choosing a great running track can make your jog a lot more enjoyable, or at least more picturesque. Here are some of the best around Australia:

2. Get chased by zombies

The most effective ways to keep those legs moving? Why, run like there's a horde of flesh-eatin', braaaiiiins-thirsty zombie chasing after you, of course.  That's the idea behind Zombies, Run!, anyway.

The popular app - which is described as a "running game and audio adventure" - feeds a storyline through your headphones, with orders, voice recordings and simulated zombie noises creating a surprisingly realistic experience. You're given missions to complete as you run, which involve collecting supplies and earning materials to aid you in surviving zombie apocalypse.


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If you're a killjoy Serious Runner and this all sounds frivolous and silly (pah!), you should know the app also tracks the boring important stuff like how far you've run, your time and pace. You can purchase Zombies, Run! for iPhones here and for Android phones here, for less than $5.

3. Podcasts

If having music pumping through your ears as you run isn't really your bag, podcasts make a gentler, less bass-heavy alternative. (If running music is your bag, check out our series of workout-friendly playlists here).

There's a world of podcasts out there covering almost any topic imagineable - current affairs, pop culture, food, feminism... etc - and they're nearly always free. Even more importantly, podcasts tend to be really informative. So if you listen to one as you run, you're making yourself fitter and smarter, or at least more interesting, at the same time - and you'll never be short of dinner party conversation starters.

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To get you started, here are some of the most popular podcasts in our office: Serial; This American Life; Radio Lab; The Bugle, Freakonomics and Wil Anderson's Thirty Odd Foot Of Podcast.

4. Make it a race

If you're the competitive type, you probably treat every run as a race (admit it: you've totally 'raced' the person on the treadmill next to you at the gym). Adding an element of competition is a great way to spur you on, and you don't necessarily have to cajole any of your friends into racing with you.

The Ghost Race app allows you to run against... yourself. Don't worry, there are no weird time travel/hologram/out-of-body functions involved here - you're racing against your own personal record. Running extroverts, fear not: it's also possible to face off against your friends or other athletes.

If you'd prefer something a little more, ah, supernatural, the app also allows you to race a 'ghost'.

And if you need even more inspiration...

Just run like Phoebe. (Above)

How do you make running enjoyable? Do you have any favourite fitness apps? 

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