How To Start Running When You Hate It


Running on the road

Ok, Running is not for everyone. It is one of the BEST activities that you can do to stay fit, but at the same time, it may seem like a tedious activity, people often complain it seems repetitive. With all of that said, most people have considered running as a form of daily exercise at some point; the question is, how to start running when you hate it?

The first step is to put your running shoes on, do warm up, and go for a run. You should manage your distance and pace in order to not go too hard because this will put you off going for another run.Try making running as fun as possible by competing against yourself or have a good musical playlist to keep your mind busy.

The main goal with this article is to help as many people as we can to go and finally start running because staying fit is one of the most important things that a person can do. Remember, physical wellness contributes to your mental well-being. With all of that said, let’s get straight into the article.

How do you force yourself to like running?

This question is a simple one, and it should be relatively easy to get an answer for it, right? Well, you will always be met with the same generic responses such as “push yourself,” “get up and go,” “wake up early,” and “be the best you can be.” These types of answers frustrate me, and I remember when I first started running and going to the gym, these answers almost made me quit before I even properly got started.

I find these answers quite patronizing but before I get into a rant, let me stop right there. For the average person, simply “getting up and going” is not enough. It would be best if you made running enjoyable for yourself based on your personality. Here is a list of ways to make running more enjoyable when you are starting out. In this list, you will find out why I say you need to make it fun according to your personality. Let’s get into it.

  • Forget about what people think.
  • Make sure you have something good to listen to.
  • Wear the right shoes.
  • Start by walking (with a catch)
  • Pace yourself.
  • Track your mileage and your times.
  • Use running as an escape.

Now that you have gone through that list, we need to discuss these things in more detail. I want you to have a deep understanding of how you can use all of those steps to make running as enjoyable as possible. Now, are you going to love running all of a sudden? Maybe or maybe not.

Forget About What People Think

We get asked a ton of questions, and when questions like “how do I start running” gets asked, you soon find out that a lot of people are shy to start running because maybe they are out of shape and they think people are going to look at them funny or perhaps even laugh at them. This thinking typically comes from people who are out of shape.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, you will find that when you start running or even going to the gym, most people do not care about what you are doing. For some, this sounds like a blessing, but for others, it sounds pretty harsh. The truth is, anybody that does care does so in a positive way. They are happy to see someone who is out of shape trying their best.

If you care about what people think because maybe you are out of shape, or even if you believe that you will be doing something wrong, you will stay out of shape for the rest of your life. Look, I know that being self-conscious is not easy to get over. However, it does become easier as time goes on.

Make Sure You Have Something Good to Listen to

This is where you need to find what is best for your personality. For me, I have a lot of different playlists on Spotify. I also listen to a lot of podcasts when running. Every single playlist should serve its purpose. Allow me to give you a few examples.

If you are going for a walk or a slow jog, you could listen to a podcast or some relaxing music. If you are running on a treadmill, I highly recommend watching a few videos of your favorite hobbies. I have found watching extreme sports while running on the treadmill is a great way to keep the energy up.

Once you start going into full-blown running, that’s where you want some upbeat, energetic music to keep your blood flowing.

Obviously, everyone is different. It would be best if you found what suits you, and trust me, what you are listening to during your runs can change how you feel about running faster than anything else.

Wear the Right Shoes

The absolute worst thing about starting to run is hurting yourself. Look, I fully understand this. Once you get shin splints, it can be extremely challenging to bring yourself to go on your next run, mainly because shin splints take some time to recover and to be honest, most people don’t like feeling pain. Make sure your running shoes are a correct fit

Ensure that you wear the right shoes; this is critical if you want to start running and if you’re going to start enjoying your runs. We have seen it more than we would have liked, but people do not wear the right gear, and after their first run, they never go on a run again.

Start by Walking

If you start by walking, this can be one of the best ways to get yourself into the right state of mind to start running. However, there are two crucial things that you need to take into account if you start by walking.

Routine is vital when it comes to running or any form of fitness training. So, when you start walking, you want to do it at a time of day that you are usually free. You want to do this because you will use that same time frame when you start running. Remember, the point of walking is to get yourself into a routine.

You also want to use walking as a way to program your mind to associate this activity with relaxation and “time for yourself.” Again, this is why you should have a perfect playlist for walking.

Pace Yourself

One of the quickest ways to fall out of love with running or quit running before you even get properly started is to do too much on your first go. You would have heard about “burnout” when it comes to studying and work, but burnout plays a massive factor in the number of people that quit an activity before they had enough time to get going.

Don’t allow this to happen to you. Pace yourself by only training for 10 to 20 minutes a day; in the beginning, remember not to overexert yourself during these 10 or 20 minutes and slowly build yourself up to a point where running for 30 to 40 minutes a day doesn’t feel like much work.

Get A Couch to 5k App

If this sounds too complicated and you’re looking for very specific instructions on what to do then you might want to try a Couch to 5k app. There are plenty of these available on the respective Apple Store and Google Play stores. What is great about them is the structure and instruction they give you. I’ve used them when coming back from an injury and literally been forced to start from scratch with my running. 

Track your Mileage and Your Times

Once you start getting into a groove, you want to track your times and track your mileage. This is because you want to start competing against yourself. It becomes almost like a game, and this game becomes more enjoyable, and it helps you stay motivated.

Here are some of the best app you can download to track your progress:

Strava – A social network for runners and cyclists.

Map My Run

RunKeeper 

There are two ways that you can compete with yourself. You can either run a set amount of miles every day and see how long it takes you. On the flip side of that, you can run for a set amount of time every day and see how much mileage you can do in that time frame.

Experienced runners will often change between these two methods. However, running a set amount of miles every day is often more manageable because you can set a route that starts at your home and ends there. Running for a set amount of time, you can’t pinpoint where you will end up at the end of the run.

Running at sunrise

Use Running as an Escape

There could be many reasons you need an escape, but it’s more just about giving yourself time to be with yourself. We all need our space, and we all need time to reflect on what is happening in our lives. While running, you will spend a lot of your time thinking about the run itself, but you will also spend a lot of time reflecting.

If you have a busy life with professional responsibilities and family time, running is the perfect way to escape from it all. It might sound like another cliche, but it is true. Running is one of the best ways of spending time with yourself and escaping from your busy life, even if it is just for 20 minutes to an hour.

Do Runners Actually Enjoy Running?

This question is a very challenging question to answer. To answer this question, you would need to make many assumptions about millions of people you know nothing about.

What we can say is that most people don’t start running because they enjoy it. People start running for various reasons. This either be to lose weight, stay fit, join a social club with a friend who is already a runner and much more. The point is, most people don’t simply start running because it is something they love or even dream of doing.

Once you get into a good routine and you start becoming more comfortable on your runs, that is when you start falling in love with it. I know that sounds cliché, but it is pretty scientific. Once you have completed a run, your body releases large amounts of endorphins. While it doesn’t last long, these endorphins can put you in a state of euphoria, quite literally.

This euphoria is known as “Runner’s high,” and it can be pretty addictive. Unfortunately, this euphoria only lasts about 10 minutes, but during those 10 minutes, you will feel content with yourself.

Is it ok to hate running

It is perfectly fine to hate running, even if you have been doing it for years. As we mentioned above, most people start running for a variety of reasons, and it is that end goal that keeps a lot of people going, and that is why many people get out of bed or get home from work and immediately go for a run.

Your goal could be to lose weight, and once you have lost that weight thanks to running, a new goal will pop up. That new goal will be to stay in shape, and during this entire process, you might never enjoy the running itself. Whether you love or hate running, achieving your goals and reaching new fitness levels is what will keep you running.

Why is Running So Hard at First?

We have gone in-depth into how you can make running more enjoyable, but with all this talk about making it more enjoyable, I feel that it is essential for us to answer why it is hard to start running. The truth is, everyone has their reasons. Finding out those reasons is your first step to getting more motivated to go on your run.

Here is a list of common reasons why people find it so hard to start going running. Some of these reasons might not apply to you, but at the same time, one or all of them might. So, let’s get into it.

  • Being out of shape: Once a person goes from being fit to be out of shape, the problem gets gradually worse as time goes on. You become almost comfortable with where you are, and the thought of all the hard work that will go into getting back into shape seems dreadful. That leads us to our next point.
  • Excuses become easier to make: Once you start making excuses for why you can’t go on a run, it becomes like a snowball effect. It will become easier to come up with excuses, and they will start piling up on top of each other.
  • Going too hard on your 1st run: We have already mentioned something similar in this article. If you do too much too soon, it will throw you off entirely, and it is the most common reason people start something but don’t see it through. Remember to pace yourself.
  • Running can be boring for some: People find running to be a challenging activity to start because it can be tedious. Again, I recommend finding a good podcast or a good playlist to see you through and make the exercise a little bit of fun.
Baby Running Stroller

When Does Running Get Easier?

Running becomes easier every time you complete a run. See, if you complete the run and then recover, your next one will always be a little bit easier as long as you run the same distance at the same time. 

We can say that running it easier once you can run for a solid 30 minutes without stopping. You can feel comfortable knowing that you are a lot fitter than the average person and won’t be as tired after every run.

If you run consistently for three days a week for six weeks, you will see a significant improvement in your physique, health, and mental wellness. Not only that, but you will find that going for a run becomes almost second nature. You won’t have to force yourself to do it, and while you are doing it, running won’t seem so terrible.

Final Thoughts

We can’t force anyone to do anything. If you have read through this article and still don’t feel like going for a run, unfortunately, there is not much more that can be done. You might have to start looking for another exercise. I guess I will close this article off by saying just put your shoes on, get your headphones in, do a stretch, and go for a run. Who knows, maybe all you need is that one run to make you fall in love with it.

Mark Norman

I've been running for over 6 years and now try to balance it with life as a dad to two young kids. I'm not super quick, I just try to run consistently, not always easy! I'm lucky enough to have run the London Marathon twice along with countless other half marathons and 10ks. I'm also one of the Run Directors at my local parkrun.

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