Some subtle tweaks to your workout routine might be all that you need to spruce up your run. Start by changing the time of day you run. If you jog in the afternoon, think about running first thing in the morning, when it's cooler. If you jog in the morning, consider jogging in the afternoon to give yourself an extra hour of sleep.
Instead of doing your run nonstop, break it up with other exercises. Stop in a grassy area to do crunches, sit-ups or pull-ups from a nearby tree. You may also find it easier to run if you have a destination. Run to the store for some groceries, run to a cafe for a cup of coffee, or, if your workplace has a shower, you can even jog to work.
If you aren't already running with an MP3 player, this is a guaranteed way to add spice to your run. It can also make you a better runner. In a UK study, researchers found that listening to carefully selected "motivational" music, such as Queen and Madonna, could increase endurance by 15 percent and improve the mood of the runners [source: Brunel University].
Don't worry if your music collection is a bit thin. There's a growing number of record labels geared toward workout music, and Web sites and podcasts create endless mixes for runners. If you're going to be plugging up your ears, though, just make sure to be extremely careful of dangers. In South Carolina, for instance, an iPod-wearing jogger was struck and killed by a small plane making an emergency landing. Because of his iPod headphones, the jogger was unable to hear the approaching plane [source: Associated Press].
Keep reading to find out which four-legged personal trainer is best for you.