No one comes right out of the gate a star runner. Marathon training is tough, challenging, and intensive. It’s not for the faint of heart. And for anyone who resolves to run a marathon for the first time, you may find out pretty quickly that hey—I don’t like running.
If we’re honest, a lot of people—most people—don’t like running at first. It’s something that takes a lot of time and conditioning for your body and mind to grow accustomed to. It’s just not something that most of us naturally enjoy right off the bat. So if you’re one of the people who has committed to a marathon, 5k, or other kind of endurance race but you’ve discovered that you really, really don’t like running, what are you supposed to do about it?
Well, there’s good news. There are plenty of things you can do to make running a more enjoyable activity. At the very least, you can make it more bearable. When it’s all said and done, you’ll be crossing that finish line, proud that you didn’t throw in the towel!
6 Training Tips for People Who Hate Running
1) Plan Your Route
Does your running feel aimless? Maybe you just have a distance in mind, and you go. Or maybe you’re running on the track at the gym. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to set a route and set a goal. Point A to point B. Give yourself a reward at the end of your route. For example, maybe a coffee shop is within running distance. Find something that you can run for or towards. Create a goal for yourself. Change your route. See new things. Find a scenic path. Just have a plan!
2) Start Cross-training
Running doesn’t have to be the only part of your training. Even if you’re not running a triathlon, we can all benefit from cross-training. While running should still be an integral, central part of your training, you can mix it up if you get bored by picking up something else at the gym—literally. Grab some weights and do strength training. For older runners especially, strengthening our muscles and bones goes a long way towards injury prevention. Swimming and other aerobic exercises can also help keep things fresh between runs.
3) Find a Running Buddy
Does running feel too isolated? Lonely? Maybe you just need a running buddy. Some people just need that extra pal to provide encouragement, accountability, and motivation. Find someone to run with. They can not only ensure that you get out and run even when you don’t want to, but they can be the one to push you to do better. Just make sure that your running buddy likes to run—you don’t want someone who talks you out of exercising when you should, or enables you when you make excuses!
4) Find What Gets You Going
We all have something that really gets our blood pumping. Try making a running playlist. Experiment with the kinds of music on it. You may be surprised at what genres really motivate you to move! This is a great opportunity to use something like Spotify, where you can customize your playlist with a vast music library.
5) Don’t Be Too Tough
Beating yourself up isn’t a huge motivator to keep at it. While you’re getting used to this running thing, don’t worry so much about things like run times and distances. It’s good to have goals in mind and to aim for realistic targets, but don’t beat yourself up if you’re not hitting them right away. Focus on enjoying yourself at first. Then, you can worry about numbers and goals.
It takes every runner time to find their stride. You may start off hating this whole running thing, but don’t give up. You may discover hey, these are the wrong shoes for me. My technique needs work. I shouldn’t eat that right before I run. Wow, this route was awesome. I love running in the mornings and not after work because it gives me so much energy. Endurance training—and running in general—is a big experiment in figuring out what regimen works for you. It’s not one-size-fits all.
Don’t write off running before you give it a fair shot.
What helps you get through a tough running day? Share your tips in the comments.