While some people prefer to run alone and concentrate on their performance, and take the time to release their minds from any stress and negative thoughts, others prefer to run in groups and use the time to socialize with likeminded people.
But both running alone and in a group can become tedious at times which is why we have assembled this group of fun games which you can incorporate in your runs with your running buddies or your running group to make the experience more enjoyable and to add some variety to your daily routine runs:
Change your everyday running route by organizing a run with your friends to the place you have picked to have brunch and then go back with a cab or by other means. Make your runs more interesting by setting specific points to run to instead of starting and finishing at the same place every time.
Streetlight decision running
If you are running in a group in the city, you can make your runs more interesting by letting the city streetlights decide your running route for you. Just stick to the lights while you are running. Go forward when the light is green and turn when they are red. This is a fun game but make sure you run safely and stick to the pedestrian rules so that you don’t get injured in the process or don’t accidentally hurt someone on your way while switching directions or running on the streets.
Telephone pole speed play (Fartlek)
Speed up and switch the pace of your running group each time you pass by a telephone pole. You can make the game even more interesting by asking each of the participants to name the next object which will make the group increase its running speed. You can choose people or inanimate objects which you are likely to meet along the routes as starting points for your next sprint during this game. Choose to run faster if you pass by a mailbox or by a woman with a stroller for example. Picking random objects during the game will make the surprise factor even more intriguing and will keep the group motivated to keep up with the others during the sprints.
The Indian run
This running game requires three or more people in the running group. The idea is that all runners run in a single line, and periodically the last one in the line moves up to the front to lead it. This running game is very useful for training changing paces, as well as getting better at rhythm changes often required in races. Of course, the pacing is up to your running group, or you can leave it to the person leading the line to set their own pace of their choice and try to surprise the other runners in the line.
Do your run in relay style, by picking a loop route and interchanging with the other runner once they complete the route. This will allow you to rest after you are done with your loop. You can then set your own pace for your next loop which will allow your running partner to rest more or less, depending on the pace you choose. If you feel you don’t need all that rest during loops, you can incorporate some exercises to do while you are waiting for your running buddy to get back to you and pass you the relay by slapping your hand.
Envelope (hat) fartlek
Fill a hat, envelope or other suitable item with pieces of paper with different pace increase durations written on them. Make the different people in the running group pick one or more during the run. You can add three or more options in the envelope, depending on your running goals. For a nice 26 minute fartlek game, you should add the following options: six 30, four 1:00 and three 2:00 fartlek reps. This nice speed play game will definitely make your run much more fun and engaging.
Medicine ball running
This is an excellent strength exercise designed for shorter runs. You will strengthen your back and core by running with a 6-8 pound medicine ball in your hands and passing it around to your running buddies on the way. You can make it even more fun by replacing the medicine ball with a large watermelon which you can enjoy eating with your running buddies after the run!
Find a large empty space or field (such as a soccer field) and ask your running buddies to stand on each corner or on opposite corners if there are only two of you. Both of you run toward each other so that you meet at the center, and then jog to the next corner to repeat the sprint again. This is a fun and competitive game which will make you want to run faster so you beat your running partner at the center of the field.
Everything is better when you turn it into a game. This is why you should try to incorporate one or more of these running games in your weekly running schedule with your running group. It will make the runs so much more enjoyable, and the additional tasks, pace changes and exercises incorporated in these games will help you work out even more efficiently than when you are out on a regular run.
These games are also excellent ways to make running attractive for your children too. Try to take your your family for an occasional run, and ask your children and family members to play one or more of these fun-filled running games with you. This will make exercise look more like playtime for the children, and will help them stay active while enjoying themselves and spending time with your family! Teach your children to spend time playing real running games, instead of spending the whole time playing computer and video games instead! Running is one of the ways to keep your body fit, healthy and your mind free of stress and anxiety! So, keep on running and add some fun to it too!