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Question: I run about 5 miles a day, four or five times a week, at a constant pace. Are there ways to make my workout more enjoyable? I find that I am getting bored and need some new ideas.

Answer: Everyone who exercises faces this problem. I like to vary the type of exercise I do from day-to-day (cross-training) to increase the interest. For instance, I normally run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and cycle (either indoors or outdoors) on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. In addition, I try to change my jogging route to vary the scenery, and I wear a headset and listen to talk radio while I run. When I ride my cycle ergometer inside, I usually watch a video of some kind or a TV program to keep my mind from dwelling on the work I am doing. These techniques help the time to pass and make exercise more enjoyable for me.If you are a dedicated runner, and don't like the idea of cross-training, you can vary your running program to increase the interest. In the May issue of Runner's World magazine, Dave Kuehls listed some workouts for developing speed in serious runners that could be modified for less serious runners to avoid boredom. I will summarize these workouts below:

1. Pickups. Using this technique, you run at a steady pace and then "pick up" the pace from one telephone pole (or driveway, sign or some other regularly repeating object in your environment) to another - or two or three down the line. When you reach the second "marker," slow down again to your regular pace. The idea is to run at a quick pace but still be able to do your steady base pace.

2. Strides. After an easy run, find a flat patch of grass or trail and run five or 10 100-yard distances at a faster pace, with a 15 to 30 second rest between each. Do not run "all out," but concentrate on form and leg turnover.

3. Uphill running. Find a mild grade (like on a golf course or on a trail), and run 100 to 400 meters, five to 10 times at a comfortable pace. Start with a 15-minute jog to get warmed up, and jog after the uphill runs to cool down. If you are exhausted after a few times up the hill, find an easier hill.

4. Downhill running. Do about the same workout as described above, using a gradual downhill slope on a soft surface. This workout helps to develop leg turnover and stride length.

5. Hill combo. This combines the best features of both uphill and downhill running but requires you to find a hilly golf course or cross-country course that allows runners.

6. Fartlek. Fartlek is a Swedish term meaning "speed play." It is best to find a mountain trail or cross-country course that has hills. Then, increase and decrease the intensity of the run depending on how you feel and the nature of the course you are running.

7. Races. Many runners enter races that are shorter than the race distance they are preparing to run. For instance, a marathoner will often run a 10 K prior to the marathon in order to be forced to run at a faster than marathon pace. This is more "fun" than running training laps, and someone else is providing water and timing.