Fun running challenges – 3 ideas to add variety to your training

If you’re bored with your running program or want some extra motivation, try these fun running challenges to add some variety. There are 3 challenges to choose from and you can download a printable of all 3 (see below). You should be able to run continuously for about 20 minutes to do the challenges. If you’re a beginner, then see the suggested beginner programs at the end of the post.

Fun running challenges – instructions

Fun running challenges PDF 

General safety notes

Please read the general exercise safety guidelines here. Also make sure that you warm up before your runs and cool down afterwards, with a few minutes of either walking or slow jogging.

Challenge 1 – 20 minutes to 40 minutes

30 day challenge

For this simple challenge, you run on alternate days, increasing your run time slightly each day, as shown in the chart.

Challenge 2 – 400 minutes in 4 weeks

fun running challenges - 400 minutes

Set your own schedule, but aim to notch up 400 minutes. Colour in or cross out a box for each 5 minutes you do. (So for example on a 30 minute run, mark 6 boxes).

Suggested weekly schedules for the 400 minutes challenge

These are some combinations of run times you could use:

  • 2 x 30 minute runs plus 1 x 40 minute run
  • 2 x 30 mnute runs plus 2 x 20 minute runs
  • 2 x 40 minute runs plus 1 x 20 minute run
  • 4 x 25 minute runs
  • 2 x 20 minute runs plus 6 x 15 minute runs

Pyramid sprints 4 week challenge

Fun running challenges pyramid sprints

In this challenge, you alternate sprint runs with walking. For the first half, the sprint run increases with each interval. Once you reach the maximum sprint time, it decreases with each interval. The maximum sprint time in weeks 1 and 2 is 40 seconds, in week 3 it’s 50 seconds and in week 4 it’s 60 seconds. Each workout should start and finish with a 3 minute jog to warm up/cool down.

Buying a treadmill for home use

Now that folding treadmills are widely available, having a home treadmill doesn’t mean you need a dedicated workout space. You can fold your treadmill up and store it out of the way between workouts. If you’re thinking of buying a home treadmill, here are some points you should consider:

  • If you’re going to be using the treadmill for running, avoid very lightweight models that are only suitable for walking speeds. Also, a cushioned running/walking deck will help to absorb impact.
  • Dimensions: there’s a slight variation in dimensions between models. If you’re tall, you might prefer a longer walking/running deck to allow for a longer stride. Obviously, the treadmill needs to fit in your chosen storage place when it is folded away.
  • What sort of a console do you want? Is it important to you to have a multi-feature console with a choice of preset programs, or will you be happy with something simple that just lets you set speed and incline? Extra functions add to the cost of the treadmill, so think about whether you really need them.
  • What is the incline range? Some treadmills only have a limited incline range. Models that offer up to 12% give you more options to vary your workouts and to challenge yourself more as your fitness improves.
  • Maximum speed – if you run fast, or plan to do sprint intervals, you should bear the maximum speed in mind. For walking, or average speed running, any treadmill will be fine.


Get the fun running challenges PDF

Sign up for My Fitness Planner updates and get the free printable download link e-mailed to you:

After you sign up, you’ll get 2 e-mails, one will have a link to your printable download and the other will be a welcome e-mail.

If the e-mails haven’t turned up within a few minutes, please check your junk folder, as some service providers have very strict filters.

Related to fun running challenges

walk to run challengeStarting to run - running challenge for beginners PDF