This is a picture of myself, my boyfriend, my brother, and a couple of my best friends after one of our annual trail races. I used to have to BEG them to sign up for anything that had to do with running, and now we all agree that a lot of the races we do are the highlights of the year. Funny things almost always happen, good or bad, and if the race is pretty far we make a whole weekend out of it. Even if you or someone you know hates running right now, it is easy to find the joy in it if you do it with other people or simply stay consistent.
As a side note, the guy on the left did this one without knowing it was ten miles long and 90% uphill. We told him it was around 5 so he would sign up, and halfway through he realized he had five miles left to go. After he recovered from wanting to kill me and all his other friends, he admits it was a LOT of fun. Plus, he finished a race he never thought he could and got a lot of free food. Goes to show a big portion of running is mental.
If you currently hate running, but want to get started, I have a few pieces of advice for you.
- You don’t have to like running. Commit to giving it a try and with time you’ll learn to like it, but there numerous other activities and sports out there as well if you aren’t interested. If you want to be a runner, you just have to suck it up and run for a while. Like most rewarding, beneficial things in life, it is often difficult in the beginning and gets easier as time goes on.
- Listen to podcasts. They’ve literally changed my life. Just ask my boyfriend, who is now competes in Brazilian jiu jitsu after hearing about it on Tim Ferris’ podcast. I have learned a lot from them, and they get me through my long runs. I’ll put up recommendations for some soon.
- If there is a day you REALLY don’t want to run, promise yourself that you’ll run for ten to fifteen minutes and then you have the permission to stop. I guarantee that 99% of the time, you will get into the flow of it and will want to keep going.
- Focus on the end. One of the best motivators for running is the feeling when you are done. Think about how much better you will feel afterwards, and power through.
- Have something fun waiting at the finish. A few of my friends are huge fans of morning runs that end with breakfast at a local restaurant. Eating is always more enjoyable with a bunch of friends after a hard run.
- Explore or do “destination” runs. If you have errands, run to them. Run to a friend’s house or to the beach and jump in the ocean. If you’re in college, run to class (who cares if you are sweaty), or if you’re in the city run to a coffee shop and get a coffee and walk home. View running as a means of transportation.
- Switch it up. Maybe you hate running because you only try it on the treadmill or early in the morning. Perhaps if you run late at night or outside somewhere you’ve never been you will have an entirely different experience. I know that If I start to dread running, it often relates to boredom regarding my route or the time of day. And I can’t take running in gyms despite the fact that I can go for hours outside.
And last but not least, don’t stress about it. Have fun and leave your watch and phone at home sometimes and just GO!