Few forms of exercise are as loved and hated in equal measure as jogging.

Nearly everyone has a story of running for gym class or an extracurricular activity and loathing every minute of it. And yet there are some people who love to run for reasons that completely baffle non-runners.

If you love jogging, it might be because that’s how you destress and clear your mind. Maybe you love the opportunity to run outside and see the area you live in.

Jogging is also a great way to stay fit—or get in better shape. And when used in combination with additional steps to help lose weight, jogging can help you trim off those extra pounds.

This odd mix of love and hate means that jogging experiences frequent surges in popularity… followed by a quiet period before the cycle starts all over again. The last few years, for example, have seen one such surge in popularity. All of that popularity means there are plenty of resources on marathon training, running styles, jogging gear recommendations, and much more.

But what happens if you’re already jogging and just looking for easy ways to boost your performance?

The resources are out there but they’re a little harder to find, especially if you’re more into light runs than all-out marathons. Thankfully, those resources, like this one, often offer very simple methods to make your jogging more effective and more enjoyable!

Here are three easy and effective ways to improve your jogging regimen with surprisingly little effort:

1) Stretch

You’ve heard this suggestion before, but it bears repeating: stretch before you go jogging.

The easiest way to make yourself hate your workout—any workout—is to injure yourself in the middle of it. While stretching might not be the most glamorous thing, it’s going to reduce your risk of injury.

The good news is that you aren’t limited to the static stretches you probably remember from your school days. You can go with dynamic running stretches, or try out a little bit of light yoga before you head out for your jog.

Both options prepare your muscles for the stress you’re about to put them through. Stretching also helps you focus your attention on the workout and not on things that might distract you and lead to other injuries.

Once you find a stretching style that you like, it will become just one more thing to like about your jogging regimen.

2) Get A Workout Buddy

There’s an unfortunate stereotype out there that runners are all lone wolves. Or, on the flip side, the only people with workout buddies are those that do ‘power walks’ around their neighborhood every few days.

While there are certainly people who fit both descriptions, workout buddies are a great idea for just about anyone.

Ideally, your workout buddy should have the same general fitness goals as you. And it is important that they have the same kind of attitude that you do toward your workouts so that they do not discourage you. But those are about the only requirements!

Your workout buddy can be your best friend… or it can be someone you met while on an earlier jog. There are even apps to help you find an ideal buddy.

It might feel awkward to huff and puff next to someone at first, but you’ll soon find that you’re more likely to get up for your workouts when you know your buddy is waiting. Plus, you’re more likely to push yourself when you’ve got someone holding you accountable.

3) Try A Fitness Game

This tip might seem too silly at first. After all, fitness video games have never quite caught on.

But I’m not talking about something like jogging in front of your TV or carrying a handheld console around while you jog.

Games like Zombies Run! are a different angle on the idea of a fitness video game. They act more like podcasts than video games.

And if you’ve never tried a podcast, these are a great way to give both a shot at once!

The games work like this: you set up a profile and start your first “mission.” Then you jog through the mission while the game plays audio to immerse you in a story that the game is based around.

For Zombies Run!, the story goes that you’re a supply collector for a post-apocalyptic community. As you run, you gather supplies. At the end of the “episode,” you have a chance to “spend” the supplies you collected and upgrade your base. Each episode progresses along a set storyline that is part mystery, part adventure, and all excitement.

If zombies aren’t quite your thing, there are several other jogging games that work the same way but have different themes. You can find everything from superheroes to medieval fantasy to classic sci-fi tropes, and each game has its own charms.

After all, there’s nothing like a good story to keep you motivated and add a new layer to your workout regimen.

The Takeaway

The easiest way to improve your jogging regimen is to find what works for you and stick with it. There’s a lot of advice out there and it’s easy to get swept up in the newest hype or trend.

But if the new spin on your regimen makes you miserable, you’re not doing yourself any favors. And the same goes for any old habits you have.

If you run the same route every day and find that you’re bored, switch it up. If short jogs are where you thrive, ignore all the hype around long runs and do what works best for you.

The best regimen you can make is the one that you stick to. Anything else is going to cause more stress than it clears up. And, if it goes on too long, it might kill your love of jogging altogether.

So don’t let it get that far. Find what motivates you and get moving!

Author's Bio: 

Misty Jhones