Running is having a moment. From Keltie O’Connor completing a running streak to the rise of zone 2 cardio, it feels like everyone on social media is lacing up their sneakers for a jog. If you’ve never run before, the idea of pounding the pavement may sound like torture. However, a new viral social media trend makes heading out for a run feel more like a game than a workout. Keep reading to learn about the “Run Until” challenge and discover the benefits of adding this unique workout to your movement routine.
What is the Run Until Challenge?
Started by running influencers Tom Trotter and Natalie Long, TikTok’s “Run Until” challenge gamifies running by turning jogs into a game of “I Spy”. Before heading out the door, participants pre-determine a series of items they need to spot in order to stop running. These items can be as general as spotting a flower or super specific, and the goal is to challenge you to run for miles, while your mind is focused on something else so those miles become easier (and more fun!).
Benefits of the “Run Until” Challenge
While running itself offers some well-known benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health, this specific challenge provides a few unique advantages you may not find in other running workouts.
Makes exercise feel fun
Slogging through an exercise routine you hate because some influencer told you it would give you a six-pack isn’t a great approach to fitness. If you want to make regular exercise a habit, research shows you need to enjoy what you’re doing. The “Run Until” challenge encourages participants to take a more playful approach to running. Turning your workouts into a game can make movement feel more joyful, helping you stay consistent.
When we were kids, creativity was built into our day. From art classes to creative hobbies, we had plenty of opportunities to let our creative juices flow. But for many of us, as we became adults and started juggling work, social lives, and finances, creativity fell by the wayside. Creative thinking isn’t just important for art or writing. Studies show that creativity has the power to help improve your overall well-being as well. Incorporating the “Run Until” challenge into your routine can help you tap into your creativity while getting in a workout.
Encourages you to explore new areas
Raise your hand if you’re guilty of hopping in your car for a quick trip to the store only to zone out during your drive and have no idea how you got there. Whether you’re driving, walking, or running, many of us opt for the same routes every day. However, switching things up can be a great strategy for boosting your mental health. When you take a novel route, your brain releases dopamine, helping enhance your mood and increase your motivation.
The “Run Until” challenge adds an element of unpredictability to runs, encouraging participants to explore new areas. Depending on the specific items you choose to search for, you might find yourself strolling through a cute new neighborhood or exploring a city park. This element of discovery adds diversity to your routes, helping keep your runs fresh and engaging.
3 Tips for Getting Started
Don’t be afraid of walk breaks
If you want to create a running habit without getting injured or overly depleted, it’s important not to push yourself too hard when getting started. Incorporating walking intervals into your run can help your workout feel more enjoyable and prevent you from getting hurt or exhausted.
Take rest days
When you love your fitness routine, it’s easy to overexert your body. However, rest and recovery are just as important as exercise, especially for runners. 30% of female non-elite endurance athletes are affected by overtraining syndrome, which causes extreme fatigue, mood swings, and increased risk of injury. To avoid overtraining syndrome, take at least one rest day a week, and always listen to your body: if you’re feeling resistant, overly sore, or fatigued one day, skip the run for a gentle walk or stay home and stretch.
Challenge your workout mindset
If you’re used to super-structured workout classes, taking an unstructured stroll with the sole purpose of spotting something interesting may feel weird. However, the purpose of this challenge is to help you embrace a more playful approach to movement. When you go out on a run, have fun and challenge the voice in your head telling you working out should feel like a drag or serve some specific purpose outside of making you feel good. While structured exercise routines offer plenty of benefits, sometimes it’s good to shake things up. The “Run Until” challenge can serve as a break from your usual routine, injecting a sense of adventure and curiosity into your workouts.