Before I get into talking about running, I have to share this with you. Because you won’t judge. Right?

I got an email from Bed Bath & Beyond this morning with the subject line “IMPORTANT: GEL FUEL SAFETY ALERT” and my first thought was “Oh no! I wonder which gels have been recalled?” … Until I clicked on the email and realized that they were talking about gel fuel for FIRES not RUNNERS.

Um, yeah.

Anyways. This morning I had a great eight mile run! Apparently my legs are finally recovered from vacation (or maybe it was the brisk air this morning, I love running in colder weather!). I also threw in some stairs during my run (yes, Prospect Park randomly has stairs in the middle of it leading up to some trails… someone was s-m-r-t in building that!).

So I like to think about random things when I run, as I’m sure most runners do. My thought this morning was getting into a rut, and not necessarily just in running. I, like most people I think, am a very routine person. I always run Prospect Park in the mornings, even on my long runs (sometimes more than once). I always run in the same direction because I think if I went counterclockwise, I would have a panic attack.

So what can I do to make sure that doesn’t get boring? I think it’s important to switch up elements of the run. I’ve been running Prospect Park for more than a year now, and still love it (granted the one section is kind of boring…). My runs vary because sometimes I’ll do sprints as I run around the park; other days, like today, I’ll run stairs; and I’ll also switch up how I get to and from the park (which also helps to vary my distances).

And in life, it is easy to get into a rut. For us 9to5ers, we pretty much have the same routine five days a week. Week after week. But there are ways to prevent getting bored with your life. I think that making little changes in your routine helps a lot. If you always eat breakfast and then put on your makeup, try to switch it once or twice a week. These little things are easy ways to freshen your routine.

Even my cat switches things up by putting a toy in his food before he eats so he has a little buddy during dinner time. I think he counts this as multitasking – playing AND eating.

You can also make bigger changes to get out of a rut. Take a class (last year I took a knitting class and it was so fun!) or join a hobby group (I’m sure your area has tons of running groups like mine does!). Make plans with a friends to try out a new restaurant, or spend time looking for a new recipe to make for dinner (I am so guilty of finding new recipes… and never trying them. Working on that!). I always find that signing up for a race (like the Jingle Bell Jog!) gives me something to look forward to and is a great way to switch things up.

Have you ever been in a rut? What did you do to spice things up?

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