fun 30 day running challenges

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Let’s go over a list of 30 day running challenges!

Anyone else in a running slump?

Or even just trying to run regularly, but struggling to stay motivated?

This spring, something happened to me that hasn’t happened too often: I got injured.

If you haven’t experienced it, plantar fasciitis is a real pain in the butt. The lingering foot pain meant I had to take time off.

Not only did this destroy my exercise habits, it also completely zapped my running motivation. I’ve been seriously struggling to get it back, even now that my foot is fine.

When faced with slumps like this in the past, I’d often sign up for a race; there’s nothing like good ole’ racing fear to motivate you into shape.

But with quarantine, that’s not exactly an option. It’s looking like most races are getting cancelled through the rest of 2020.

So I began looking for a new motivator and have found a pretty compelling one: running challenges!

I have a list of seven fun running challenges – each lasting 30 days – that will not only whip you into shape, but actually be enjoyable.

Check them out below!

Please note: Check with your physician before starting any exercise routine or starting any particular diet. See this Disclaimer for more details. This post may contain affiliate links. For details, please visit my Disclosure page. Thank you!

7 Fun 30 Day Running Challenges

1 | Mile PR 30 Day Running Challenge

Since we can’t compete against others right now, why not compete against yourself?

In this challenge, time yourself running a mile on day 1 and plan to run the same mile course on day 30. Now you have a concrete motivator – your desire to beat that initial personal record (PR) – to keep you running all month long.

For extra inspiration, check in on your mile time once a week and challenge yourself to improve it each time.

2 | Complete Every Run in the AM x 30 days

Okay, I’m not a morning person. But maybe that’s why this challenge is extremely attractive to me.

There are so many benefits to exercising first thing in the morning. Not only do you get your run “out of the way,” you wake yourself up and start your day with a sense of accomplishment.

You also prevent all the commitments that arise during the day from interfering with your run – because it’s already done!

If you find yourself making excuses to get out of afternoon runs, try this 30 day running challenge and complete all scheduled runs in the AM.

3 | Do Something Different On Each Run

Boredom is every runner’s achilles heel…except for, well, their actual achilles heel.

So switch it up with this fun running challenge! Your choices are endless: complete a HIIT running workout, distance run, trail run, exploratory run through a new neighborhood, fast 3 mile run, or a run with a couple 3 minute pace pick-ups.

The running world is your oyster! So keep running from getting stale and try something different every run for 30 days.

RELATED POST: How to Enjoy Running: 8 Tricks That Work Instantly

4 | Complete X Miles in 30 Days Running Challenge

Now this is a customizable 30 day running challenge because it depends on your running experience.

To complete this one, set a mileage goal for the next 30 days. It could be 80 total (about 20 miles/week). Or you could follow the 10% mileage increase rule I talk about in my 9 secret running tips post, completing 20 miles the 1st week, 22 the 2nd week, 24 the 3rd week, and 26 the 4th week (for a total of 92 miles).

While this running challenge may look different for everyone, the basic premise is the same: make a mileage goal and stick to it!

woman tying shoes for running

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5 | Run 5 Days Per Week for One Month

If your main goal is to recommit to your running habit, opt for a frequency goal instead of mileage.

Some people recommend doing running streaks for a month: running at least 1 mile every day. You can absolutely try that if you think that would work for you!

But I’m realistic, as well as nervous about getting injured again. I don’t think I’d be able to run every single day with my work schedule, and definitely think it would do me more harm than good.

So instead, I think it’s more realistic/achievable to commit to 5 days a week for 30 days. Adjust this as needed for your schedule and goals – 4 days, 6 days, whatever! – and cruise your way to a new, strong running habit.

6 | Challenge a Friend/Family Member to a Friendly Competition

This can come in so many different forms.

Challenge someone to see who can run more miles, more often, or improve the most in 30 days. If you two are close in fitness level and live together already (#socialdistancing), then consider challenging that person to run with you every day.

The sky’s the limit for these 30 day running challenges!

7 | Move for 30 Minutes x 30 Days

And if any of these fun running challenges sound a bit more daunting than fun, opt instead to try this one out.

Instead of just focusing on running, challenge yourself to a month of moving for 30 minutes each day. Run one day, do yoga the next, then try a YouTube dance workout – or whatever you like! Just something that gets you moving and exercising.

This is a great option for anyone wary of running 5 or more times a week.

fun running challenges

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Why Complete a 30 Day Running Challenge

Completing challenges like these are a great way to kick off a running habit. When you get in a running slump you may find it hard to get out the door every day.

Making a goal with a set time frame (30 days) is the perfect way to get recommitted.

RELATED POST: Creating an Exercise Habit – 7 Tips for Working Out After Work

What to Keep in Mind During a 30 Day Running Challenge

This challenge doesn’t prevent you from getting sick or injured.

30 days is a long time. It’s very possible that something comes up and you have to miss a day or two – or even a week.

At the end of the day, remember that committing to one of these 30 day running challenges is committing to your health. If you’re not feeling your best one day, then you SHOULD take the day off. Heal and get back to it when you can.

What Happens If I Run for 30 Days Straight?

You get a whole lot of great, quality exercise…but hopefully not at a price.

Even while seriously training for races in school and after, I’ve never trained non-stop. I always take one rest day a week to let my body and mind recover.

If you want to complete a running streak, be very mindful of how you’re feeling. If you start to have consistent aches and pains, listen to your body.

To decrease your chance of injury, consider lower mileage each day. You could also take an active “rest” day where you go on a long walk or hike instead of running. Then you’ll still get some quality exercise but without the pavement pounding.

Is Running 30 Minutes a Day Enough to Lose Weight?

Unless you change your diet, it’s unlikely that any amount of running will make a big impact on your weight.

If you have minimal prior exercise history, you may see some weight loss because your body’s unused to working so hard for so long.

But the absolute best way to lose weight is to make healthy eating changes, both by eating whole/unprocessed foods and by achieving a caloric deficit.

RELATED POST: Can You Out-Exercise a Bad Diet?

Can You Improve Running in a Month?

Ohhh yeah. You bet you can!

If you’re seriously looking to improve your running, I recommend doing the first 30 day running challenge I listed: improving your mile PR. If you’re trying to gauge your endurance for longer distances, you could measure your 5k time instead.

The keys to seeing noticeable improvement are consistency and frequency. Running 5-6 times a week will show you much more improvement than 3-4 times per week. While I typically recommend running for distance rather than time, aim for hitting at least 20 minutes each run.

Then you’ll be well on your way to becoming a running beast!

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