Asking “how to love running?” is like saying “can you ever imagine yourself enjoying housework?” We all love living in a clean house. It gives us a sense of pride and confidence that we can handle adult responsibilities like homeownership.
Running makes us feel the same way. It may feel like a chore sometimes. But we all love being fit, and all of the advantages that come with being healthy. Right?
Running has enormous advantages. It is an excellent way to get fit, feel better and healthier, and even build new relationships with other runners.
Besides, if you have a somewhat physical job being fit, it will make you much better at your job, leading to many other rewards in other area of your life.
However, starting a new running habit is not easy.
To figure out how to get into running even when you hate it, out of shape or overweight, I will discuss in this article how to get into running and share with you some simple and easy tips that you can implement right away and fall in love with running.
How to Get Into Running When You Hate It
Some background, I used to be not in the best shape and avoided sport. About ten years ago, I decided to start running and get fit, and surprisingly enough, I learned how to love running; now I am far fitter and felt better than I’ve ever been.
With the few tips that I will share with you in this article, you will be able to build up your running stamina, get into running, and learn how to love running.
12 Best Tips On How To Love Running
1- Set SMART Running Goals
Setting SMART Running Goals will help you accomplish your running goals and teach you how to love running. I recommend you set your goal to run more often and sign up for a race, so you have a plan to work towards.
Winning races is fun; however, it’s not everything. Putting in your best effort and improving a personal record (PR) are more satisfying accomplishments.
If you continuously set goals for yourself, it keeps you happy and motivates you to train. As you complete each one, you feel fulfilled, and running doesn’t feel like a chore anymore.
A certain distance is usually a good starting goal, then once you have excelled and exceeded, start adding times.
For instance, you can sign up for a 5k run in your area or city.
I find races help; it’s really awesome running along with a thousand other like-minded people.
I recently did a 10K race; all the runners were really cheerful, and the crowd cheering everyone on was great.
Eventually, you have multiple goals at once for different distances and times associated with them.
2- Try The Run-Walk Method
If you are new to running, try the run-walk method. It is an excellent way for new runners to get started and for experienced runners to improve their race times.
Contrary to what you might think, the method doesn’t mean walking when you’re tired; it means taking brief walk breaks throughout your run.
We all know that running too fast and getting exhausted can be discouraging. When you start, aim for consistency and learn to run at a slow pace.
Try walk and jog intermittently and keep a journal if possible. Don’t increase by more than 10% per week.
For example, let’s say you’re running 4 miles ( about 6.5km) a week now, and you decide to increase your training, run 5 miles (about 8km) next week. And 6 miles the week after that. And 7 miles the week after that. It may look like slow progress, but it will help you learn how to love running.
Follow the 10% rule, and your body will get stronger and fitter, and you will learn how to love running.
Walk To Run Program 12 weeks
3- Improve your Running Form
There are a couple of things that are essential to get into running and learning how to love running. One of them is running form. Running is extremely sensitive to your form.
The best and easiest way to get a better running form is just to keep practicing.
The video below breaks down all the essential elements for efficient distance running form to help you discover how to run properly, reduce injury risk, and learn how to love running.
4- Start With a Short Distance
When I started, I was aiming to just learn how to love running. So my goal was to go running every other day. I discover running even only 4 to 8 miles each week helps me enjoy it.
My goal was just to run 3-4 times each week. Most people make the mistake of running too fast on most of their runs.
Your first runs should be slow enough to hold a conversation and speak in full sentences.
It’s a lot easier to love running when the running is easy. Even elite and professional runners do most of their runs at a pace that’s very easy for them.
Keep each run short until you master your form and only then add one longer run per week.
I purposely went for a shorter distance, only 3.5km; the distance didn’t really matter as I just wanted to keep running and build up momentum.
I went quicker with a shorter distance than I usually would have, but I think the main difference is really mental. Because the aim is to do a couple more runs to work towards something, I was way more motivated than normal.
Most of all, though, I built a bit of confidence that helped me make my runs become a lot more enjoyable and feel less like torture.
5- Add Some Easy Runs
Don’t rush yourself; I hated running at first because I constantly pushed myself to be faster and get better times.
It wasn’t until I started having “fun” and “easy” runs where I told myself time didn’t matter that I really started to enjoy it.
To learn how to love running, most of your runs should be “easy runs.”
The mistake most beginners to running make is to run too hard. If you run too hard and too fast, you will eventually quit running, but you will start enjoying your runs and learn how to love running once you start adopting easy runs.
After starting to go for easy runs, I have stuck to it for a couple of years now and run every other day.
In the beginning, everyone puts high expectations on themselves, and it is frustrating to have to slow down; however, it will make running much more enjoyable. In the long run, you will be faster and be able to run longer distances.
Consistency is the key, and the more you run, the easier it will get.
6- Develop a Feeling of Gratitude
I get into funks with running (particularly in winter) where I get up and think, rain or snow again, this sucks. Or where my body just feels exhausted and worn out.
Developing a feeling of gratitude helped me a lot. For instance, when I am outside using my body in one of the most strenuous ways possible, breathing fresh air, experiencing the world, and being open to the elements, running feels fantastic. I always feel grateful to be able to go for runs and experience all the beauty that nature offers us.
Next time you’re running, try to be conscious that you’re out in the world on a little adventure. When you start feeling yourself hating it, gently refocus your mind on the fact that you’re out there doing it.
I have excellent runs when I give into this awareness.
One of the keys to enjoying running is to run at least 2-3 miles ( 3.3 to 4.9 km) at least 4-5x per week. And, if possible, run at the same time until it becomes a habit.
7- Running With a Dog
Running with your dog can make your runs more enjoyable. If you have a dog, consider going for runs together, it will make you happy, and enjoy running more. Dog joys are contagious.
Everyone loves watching dogs interact with the world, even if they are running on-leash.
My neighbor has a dog. His dog is such a ball of joy; it is crazy. Sometimes his daughter goes outside with the dog.
The dog behaves like that is her first time ever outside. She jumps, runs, sniffs, barks like it is her last minute before getting back to an underground bunker. Her happiness is very contagious, send everyone around smiles. Dogs are awesome.
Seeing a wagging tail in front of you can be a great source of joy,happiness and motivation.
8- Make Your Running Fun And Social By Finding Running Buddies
Start by joining a running group; it is an excellent place to begin if you want to learn how to love running.
Usually, running groups aim to bring in runners of all levels together because they focus on enjoying the sporting activity instead of competing. Meetup.com is a way great way to find or start a running group. If you aren’t able to find a running group in your area or city, you can start one and invite other runners to join.
Besides, you will meet like minded people with similar goals as you, making it easier to loosen up and feel confident.
Once you’re able to run a 5k comfortably at least twice per week, it becomes exponentially more enjoyable. Other than that, switching up your routes and playlists keep things fun and fresh.
I have a couple of friends from college, and we support and keep each other motivated through meet-ups and local competitions. The people you met while running will keep you going and help you learn how to love running more than any ‘runner’s high.
9- Find Fun And Beautiful Places To Run
Try to make your runs an engaging process where you experience the landscape, the surface, the changing weather, and seasons.
If you’re out running three times a week, you will have something new to discover and hear every time you go out on three running routes.
You may have your favorite routes; however, there are still new places to explore.
Vary your route and discover new areas in your neighborhood and also run in places with breathtaking scenery such as parks, mountains, try trail running.
You will have a lot more fun if you are enjoying your surroundings. This will help make your run feel more like an adventure and less like a chore.
10- Listen To Your Favorite Podcasts/Music
The Podcasts/music I listen to when I’m on a run has really helped me enjoy and love running a lot more.
I love being able to clear my thoughts while running by just listening to good audiobooks or podcasts.
I listen to audiobooks and Podcasts, but only when I am running. That way, I have to run to find out what happens and it has really made me look forward to running.
Try RockMyRun, an excellent running app for beginners that offers running and workout music in the form of DJ mixes.
11- Focus On Positive Thoughts
When you’re struggling during your run or looking to find the motivation to get out there, visualize yourself finishing your run.
Imagine the last 100m as you approach the end of your run. Visualize and feel what goes through your mind as you know you’re about to accomplish another satisfying run and the glow from the endorphins flowing through you.
It helps if you have a regular route so you can visualize the surroundings of your finish stretch.
If you find negative thoughts popping in your head as you do this (like yeah, but I’m not even close to finishing yet. I still have so far to go), then just accept that you had that negative thought and turn your attention back to your positive visualization.
This is really a form of meditation, so I’d encourage you also to practice yoga and traditional meditation regularly to help you learn how to accept negative thoughts without attaching yourself to them.
12- Develop a Running Plan
Developing a running plan will not only keep you motivated but also help you learn how to love running and make your runs more enjoyable.
Below you will find a 4-week running plan that I followed when I was getting started. It helped me make my runs effortless and more enjoyable.
When you start running, try alternating between running and walking, increasing your time running every week.
4-Week Running Plan For Beginners
How to Start Running When Overweight or Out of Shape
If you feel out of shape or overweight, check these 11 easy and simple tips on how to start running when overweight and out of shape.
These tips will help discover how to get in running and easily learn how to love running.
To learn how to love running or keep your love of running alive, remember why you decided to get into running in the first place. Your enjoyment comes from finding your why.
If you are a new runner, I hope these 12 best tips on how to love running will empower you to keep running. And if you’ve been running for a while now and have some additional running, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.