Around 15% of the US population, about 56,000,000 people run or jog regularly (source). That has to mean something, right? The fact that you are reading this article likely means you are wondering how to get into running when you hate it. You want to love it, but you don’t. We’re here to fix that.
“The advice I have for beginners is the same philosophy that I have for runners of all levels of experience and ability: consistency, a sane approach, moderation, and making your running an enjoyable, rather than dreaded, part of your life.”-Bill Rodgers, 4X Boston Marathon Champ
First… Why Do You Hate Running?
Is it the actual act of running? The physical requirements? The leggings?
The first thing you need to do is find a way that running can be fun for you. You may not like how it feels, how hard it is, or how much time and energy it takes up in your day, but if you find the aspects of running that are enjoyable for you then this will make the whole activity more bearable.
Identifying what is driving your dislike for running, and similarly what makes you not want to hate it, can help walk you through the process to a place where you enjoy, and even crave, running.
Whatever the reason, we lay out a few helpful tips that will make you enjoy running more.
6 Tips On How To Get Into Running When You Hate It
We took an informal poll of some hardcore runners, and this is what we got back.
Here they are, in no particular order:
#1 – Be Realistic and Only Compete Against Yourself
Starting a running routine can be intimidating. You see all these people running and they look so natural doing it, while you feel like a lumbering elephant. It’s easy to get caught up in how you compare to others, but that’s not how you should measure your success.
Instead, set goals for yourself and strive to beat your previous times. There are tons of apps (like Nike+ Run Club) that can help track your progress and give you something to aim for. Your running journey can include others, even a running partner, without being a competition.
If you start competing against others, you’ll only get frustrated. You’ll have days where you feel like you can’t run as fast or as far as somebody else, and that will discourage you from continuing.
But if the only person you’re trying to beat is yourself, then every day is a challenge you can win!
#2 – Get the Righ Equipment (Technology)
I’m very driven by data and information. If I am tracking something, you better believe I’m going to do my best to “win” against the metric. This holds true for tracking my calories and protein intake to my lifting and workout sessions in the gym. If there’s a number to hit, I am motivated to hit it.
If it’s just “work out tomorrow” it’s much less exciting for me.
Running isn’t equipment heavy, but there are a few things that can help make it more fun and interesting:
Proper Running Shoes Make A Big Difference
When you start running, you need to make sure to get some proper running shoes. I recommend the Saucony Ride 15’s (men & women). This is pretty important, and, honestly, the best investment you can make from a safety standpoint as well as comfort and overall enjoyment.
A heart rate monitor.
his little piece of tech is amazing. It connects to your smartphone, tracks your runs, and gives objective feedback as to how hard you are pushing yourself. I can’t say enough about my Polar Heartrate monitor. I couldn’t live without it.
#3 – Train For A Race – Start With A 5K
Training for a race can help motivate you in a lot of ways. First, it gives you an end goal to strive for. It also gives you a timeline in which to train. And, ultimately, it makes running more fun because you have other people to do it with.
This may seem like a lot, especially if you hate running currently, but you’ll get there faster than you think.
A 5K is the perfect distance to start with because it’s not too short and not too long. You can train for one in as little as 8 weeks or stretch it out to give you more time to get into tip-top shape.
And, once you complete your first 5K, you’ll be surprised at how accomplished you feel! This can be a huge motivator to keep running and maybe even train for a longer race down the road.
Tip: Running isn’t one of those things that are instantly enjoyable like watching The Last Kingdom on Netflix. It takes a minute, but the pride and feeling of accomplishment are hard to beat.
What About Running A Half Marathon?
While it’s tempting to go for the gold right out of the gate, overtraining can be a killer when you have started to become a runner. If you think you hate running now, wait until you are so sore you can barely move, and then go try to run.
Not fun. Not fun at all.
It’s completely fine to start slow the first week. New runners generally shouldn’t be aiming for half marathons. They have their whole lives to train for that.
#4 – Join A Running Club or Find A Running Partner
If you’re someone who enjoys social activities, joining a running club or finding a training partner can make running much more enjoyable.
It’s great to have people to talk to while you’re running and it also keeps you accountable. If you know somebody is waiting for you at the trailhead (or your local street corner), you’re much less likely to hit the snooze button and stay in be or say screw it and hit the couch.
Training partners are also great because they can help push you to new levels. If you have somebody to run with who is a little faster or can go a little further, it will challenge you to step up your game.
And, as we all know, a little healthy competition never hurt anybody!
Tip #5 – Running Doesn’t Have to be a Drag.
I get that running can be boring at times, but there are ways to make it more interesting. For some people, this means listening to music or podcasts while they run so they can zone out and forget how hard they’re working.
Others prefer to run with a friend so they can catch up on gossip or have someone to compete against. Some people simply enjoy the feeling of being outdoors and getting some fresh air, even if running isn’t their favorite activity.
Easy running can be very enjoyable; no records to smash, no pushing yourself to the brink, but just an enjoyable run with a friend. It gets the blood flowing and may help reduce the chances that you quit running if you’re honestly enjoying it.
Remember to slowly build up to a good routine as well. Again, going too hard too early can be an issue. Staying at a slow jog for two weeks or so will help you really get into it.
Tip #6 – Focus on the Health Benefits
Running is one of the best exercises you can do for your body. It’s a full-body workout that burns calories, strengthens muscles, and improves cardiovascular health.
Is Running Good For Cardiovascular Health?
Yes. When you’re running, your body is working hard to keep you going. Your heart rate increases and your lungs work harder to get oxygen to your muscles.
This can help improve your cardiovascular health, make your heart stronger, and improve your overall fitness level. Understanding some of these benefits will make you hate running a little less.
Running also burns calories, which can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. In fact, running a marathon burns around 2,600 calories alone! And because it’s a weight-bearing exercise, it can also help strengthen your bones and muscles.
So if you’re looking for a way to improve your health, running is a great option. And even if you don’t enjoy the actual act of running, knowing that you’re doing something good for your body can make it more tolerable.
How Many Calories Am I Burning Running?
That depends on the height, weight, and level of fitness of an individual. But, generally speaking, running at a decent pace of around 6mph will burn around 600 calories per hour for larger men.
Ok, I’m Convinced, Now How Do I Develop a Running Habit?
- Follow a plan
- Prioritize the workout – no excuses
- Get adequate sleep
- Eat right
- Hydrate properly.
Follow A Plan
If you’re looking to start running, it’s a good idea to follow a plan. This will help you stay on track and make sure that you’re getting the most out of your workouts.
There are a variety of different running plans out there, but I would recommend finding one that fits your level of fitness and experience. If you’re just starting, a beginner’s plan may be a good place to start.
These plans typically last for around 12 weeks and gradually increase the difficulty level so you can build up your endurance.
Once you have a few weeks of running under your belt, you can move on to an intermediate plan. These plans typically last for around 16 weeks and include more challenging workouts.
Finally, if you’re looking for a real challenge, there are advanced plans that can last for 20 weeks or more. These plans include very difficult workouts that are only meant for experienced runners.
No matter what level you’re at, following a plan can help you stay on track and make sure that you’re getting the most out of your running.
Prioritize The Workout – No Excuses
If you’re serious about developing a running habit, you need to make it a priority. This means setting aside time each day (or week) to go for a run, no matter what else is going on in your life. I wrote an article about getting back into running after gaining weight – it has a lot of great advice in it as well that applies here.
Of course, there will be times when things come up and you can’t make your run happen. But, for the most part, you should be able to stick to your plan if you make it a priority.
If you find that you’re constantly making excuses not to run, it may be time to reevaluate your priorities. Running should be something that you make time for, no matter what else is going on in your life.
Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for runners. When you’re running, your body is working hard and using a lot of energy.
This can lead to fatigue and make it harder to stay motivated. Getting adequate sleep will help your body recover from your workouts and give you the energy you need to keep running.
Most experts recommend getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night. But, if you’re training for a race or working out more than usual, you may need even more sleep.
Listening to your body and getting the amount of sleep that you need will help you stay healthy and make it easier to keep running.
Eating a balanced diet is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for runners. When you’re running, your body needs the right mix of nutrients to fuel your workouts and help your body recover.
Eating a diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein will help you get the nutrients you need to run your best.
You should also make sure to eat enough calories to support your running. If you’re not eating enough, you may find it harder to maintain your energy levels and recover from your workouts.
Eating right is an important part of being a runner. But, it’s also important to make sure that you’re not overeating. Eating too much can lead to weight gain and make it harder to run.
Finding the right balance of food will help you feel your best and perform your best when you’re running.
Staying hydrated is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for runners. When you’re running, your body loses a lot of fluids through sweat.
If you don’t replace these fluids, you may start to feel fatigued and your performance will suffer.
Most experts recommend drinking 8-10 ounces of fluid for every 20 minutes of running. But, you may need more or less depending on how much you sweat and the temperature outside.
Listening to your body and drinking when you’re thirsty is the best way to stay hydrated. But, it’s also important to make sure that you’re not drinking too much. Drinking too much can lead to weight gain and make it harder to run.
Finding the right balance of fluids will help you feel your best and perform your best when you’re running.
Running is a great way to get in shape and relieve stress, but it can be intimidating for people who don’t like running. There are simple ways that you can make the process easier on yourself so you enjoy your time out more!
Make sure to prioritize workouts, eat well and hydrate properly during training runs. You should also find a plan online or with a coach which will help keep you accountable when things come up.
And finally, do some research into how other runners cope with these pains – they may have found an easy solution that could work for you too!