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Running Challenges Ideas That Make You a Better Runner in 2022

running challenges that make you a better runner

What better way to motivate yourself than a challenge? Running challenges can recharge your passion once more! We’ve put together some great running challenges ideas for you to look at in 2022.

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

– Fred DeVito

The feeling of accomplishment and reaching a new level is enough motivation to push yourself further.

Additionally, having a goal to aim at and a small win can make running a fun and rewarding experience, both physically and mentally. Heck, even those who hate running can help themselves stay motivated with a good running challenge!

One thing you’ll notice is missing from this list is a marathon. Clearly marathons are the ultimate challenge, but that’s a pretty easy one. We wanted to come up with some ideas that are less common and could be accomplished by a large portion of runners.

Why Should You Consider Running Challenges?

“The ultimate is not to win, but to reach within the depths of your capabilities and to compete against yourself to the greatest extent possible.”

-Billy Mills

Challenges will spice up your routine! Having goals to achieve can give you a sense of purpose to get up and start running.

Completing a challenge can help you become a better runner, discipline your mind, and feel accomplished!

Running Challenges You Can Try for a Start

Pick a challenge that you feel will be the most fun to start with.

Setting your target for any challenge should always be reasonable—a little over your usual to push your limits further but don’t go too far!

Having a goal incompatible with your current physical state can make you feel frustrated when not accomplished. That’s the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve.

30-Day Running Streak

Consistency is key! As simple as this challenge could be, it requires discipline and commitment.

Set a target to achieve for each day. For example, you can run one mile every day continuously for 30 days.

The mileage you set should be reasonable to you. Increasing your mileage should be done slowly to be safe and not overpush yourself.

The hard part comes when you wake up not feeling your best one day, and going for the run can feel like a tough job. But, as hard as it might be, pushing yourself to do it will be worth it.

Tip: By the end of the month, the one-mile run will be a piece of cake! After that, you will be able to run longer distances easily.

This challenge can build up your stamina and increase your endurance to run more.

Keep track of your time each day; you’ll see that mile being finished in less time every day. Wearing a smartwatch or a smart band can help you keep track of all your statistics.

Run a 5K Every Month

Local races are such a big motivator, and 5k runs are often held. So you’ll almost certainly find a 5k event happening in your local city.

This is a tough challenge for beginners; running your first 5k might need some practice and preparation, so maybe opt for another challenge if you’re still getting your feet wet in running.

If you’ve run many 5k races in your lifetime, you may want to up your skills and try to run a 5k each month for a full year.

Run a Trail Once a Week

Running on the same old roads can eventually become boring; you can try trail running for a change!

It’s a stunning experience, bonding with nature and discovering new places. However, it can be quite a challenge to do.

You should consider trail running shoes; they have higher durability than your normal running shoes to endure the obstacles on your run.

Additionally, they’re more rugged with extra cushions to endure small rocks along your path, and they’re less slippery.

You can challenge yourself to do a trail run once a week. Who knows, it might be your thing!

Early Morning Runs

The challenge is to wake up before 6 am and do a run. The real challenge is to get out of your warm bed earlier than usual; it requires a lot of self-discipline.

Running early has a lot of pros; the weather is nicer, there’s less traffic, you can feel the serenity and peacefulness, and you get to see the sunrise if you wake up early enough!

You might think that you’ll be tired for the rest of the day, but you’ll be surprised to see how energized you’ll feel throughout your day!

In addition to that, you’ll start your day feeling accomplished, setting the tone for a positive mentality.

You can start the challenge by doing this for three days a week, then up your challenge for 30 consecutive days.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you with this challenge:

  • Put your smartphone away from you so you’d have to get out of bed to turn off the alarm
  • Prepare your clothes before going to bed
  • Go to bed earlier
  • Don’t use your smartphone or laptop for an hour before going to sleep
  • Let there be a small reward to look forward to when waking up early
  • Set multiple alarms

Complete Your Runs With Negative Splits for a Week

A negative split is a strategy in which you start the first half of your run slowly and steady, and then in the second half, you speed up gradually or suddenly, giving it all you got!

The second half of your run will be tough, as you’ll start to feel tired from the first half, but you have to push yourself through the pain and fatigue.

This strategy builds up your mental toughness and increases your endurance and strength to run more mileage.

It also means you’ll be running races faster, in less time, and without feeling tired as usual. You’ll be passing by every other contestant who’s already feeling exhausted while you were just warming up!

Additionally, when your body gets used to negative splits, you’ll feel your adrenaline rushing once you blow up your speed in the second half.

Try doing negative splits for every run for a week, and then up your challenge to all runs in one month.

One Mile Personal Record in 30 Days

How fast can you run a mile? How about you try breaking your record? This challenge can build up your speed and momentum like no other.

Your goal isn’t to beat that competitive record; the goal is to beat your own record. Run a mile and see where you stand; your goal is to significantly beat that number by the end of 30 days. If you feel like you’re going to die at the end of it, that’s ok. Build up slowly. A PR is a PR.

The average one-mile running time for a 25-year-old male that’s relatively in shape is around 10 minutes, while competitive runners can do it in four to five minutes.

The current world record for running a mile is 3:43.13 and is held by Hicham El Guerrouj. Let those numbers motivate you to do more and push yourself harder!

A stopwatch will come in handy; using the stopwatch on your phone is probably not the best idea while running if you don’t appreciate your screen being cracked.

Run Every Street in Your City

women running in the city

This’s a long-term challenge; it can take you months to complete, depending on how large your city is.

Running every street in your city is a fun experience. You’ll get to explore places you’ve never been before inside your hometown, and maybe you’ll find that store you’ve been looking for!

Here are some tips for you to complete this challenge:

  • Try to avoid unsafe areas in your city. Doing this challenge in a group is safer!
  • Plan your routes before heading out
  • Use apps like Strava to keep track of your progress

Complete a Run While Wearing a Training Mask

Training masks, also known as oxygen deprivation or altitude masks, restrict the amount of oxygen entering your body during a workout, imitating a high-altitude environment.

At high altitudes, there are lower oxygen levels, so your body tries to adapt to the situation by increasing your cardiac output and your lung function.

This is an advanced challenge that shouldn’t be attempted by beginners; it won’t cause any harm. However, they can benefit much more from normal exercise.

The 4x4x48 Challenge

4x4x48 is an advanced challenge that was created by David Gobbins, a former Navy SEAL and an ultramarathoner.

The challenge is to run four miles every four hours for 48 hours straight. This’s a big mental and physical challenge even for athletes.

It’s a big step to attempt this challenge. It might take many attempts and require more training to achieve.

However, it’ll be worth it in the end. You’d be surprised to see how much this experience can change you physically and mentally.

In Conclusion

challenges ahead

Running challenges can spark your energy once again; the feeling of accomplishing a goal is mentally rewarding.

You get to become a better runner and improve your physical and mental health, all that while doing fun challenges. While we have covered several running challenges ideas that make you a better runner in 2022, the most important thing is consistent practice and application of solid principles. That’s how you will see extended growth in the long term – maybe even getting to bag that marathon!

Frequently Asked Questions

You might have a question going through your mind regarding running; here’s a list of the most asked questions:

How to make running more fun?

Find a challenge that seems like fun to you, set up a playlist of your favorite songs to play throughout your run, and plan an interesting route to run through.

Taking the same route every day can become monotonous and boring.

Can I add other workouts to my running routine?

Yes, you can add a set of push-ups, planks, lunges, squats, or any other workout to your run. It will help build up your strength and stamina along with running.

Can beginners do challenges?

Yes, as long as it’s not an advanced challenge, beginners can attempt any challenge that is reasonable to their current physical state.

What is the recommended distance to run to stay healthy?

It depends on your physical state, but anywhere from 10 to 20 miles every week can have a great impact on your health.

Is it okay to go running every day?

Yes, the more you run, the better for your health. Just take it slowly, and don’t overpush yourself.

What to avoid before running?

  • Not performing stretching and warm-ups
  • Drinking too much
  • Forgetting to visit the bathroom
  • Eating right before running

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About the author

Jasper loves to write about fitness, running, and anything else that gets him moving outdoors. He's an avid hiker, backpacker, and climber who loves to stay fit so he can make sure he's healthy enough to enjoy his favorite hobbies. He also spends time writing about his true passions in life.