7 Tips for the Person who "Hates" Running

July 21st, 2021

Seven Tips for the Person who “Hates” Running

Written by Neva Barno

  • Are you the person who has said your whole life that you hate running? 
  • Do you come up with constant excuses for why you don’t run? 
  • Have you tried picking it up several times only to fail shortly after? 
  • Do you secretly wish you enjoyed running?

The real thing that is limiting your potential is your mindset. I know because I was THAT person. I was diagnosed with asthma at an early age, and running has always been a struggle. While asthma is a genuine problem to have, it was the first thing that held me back from enjoying running. In January 2021, I decided to change this mindset that I had. I signed up for my first conqueror challenge. I had to complete 21 miles in a given time frame. I chose 56 days because of SMART goals. I ended up completing it in 42 days. Now, I’ve moved on to my second conqueror challenge, which is 46 miles. While the mileage may not seem like much to some, it’s the most I’ve ever run in my life, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Here is what I learned so far on this journey, and my advice to anyone who wants to go from hating running to loving it – or any other activity for that matter: 

  1. Enjoy running as a celebration of movement. This is the most important point I will make and will influence many of my other recommendations. In the past, my mindset has always been that if I learn to run, maybe I’ll be skinnier. That is NOT healthy motivation. Yes, realistically, you may lose some weight if it becomes a habit. Long-term motivation does not usually last with extrinsic motivation. Once I decided to view running as a celebration of movement, and what my body COULD do, I felt confident and happy to be putting in the work. 
  2. Running is for ALL body types. Another limiting belief I had was “my body is not built for running.” I limited my body before it even stood a chance. We do not need to look a certain way for movement. 
  3. Create a running routine that you love. I kept telling myself that I needed to run X amount of miles without stopping, or do this or that because that’s what runners do.  Guess what? This is MY running routine and my celebration of movement. I love using timers – run for x minutes, walk for x minutes, repeat till done. Also, try not to focus on your speed.  I felt like I had to run fast to be a “real” runner. Even if you are a slow walker, does it stop you from walking? The same goes for running. Ironically, the more comfortable I felt running, the faster I went, but I never let an expected speed ruin my movement. 
  4. Your self-talk will either make your run difficult or enjoyable. “I hurt… I’m slow… it’s too hot out… I can hear myself breathing, and that’s embarrassing…” The list goes on. If I heard myself saying those things out loud, I probably wouldn’t want to run with me either. Try not to psych yourself out and instead choose positive self-talk such as “just keep moving… look how far you’ve come… this part of my body feels perfect.” 
  5. Experiment with different playlists and music. It matters. If you’re stressed for whatever reason when you’re running, calming music may help. Maybe you like to zone out to a podcast. I love rocking out to “pop-punk powerhouses” on Spotify. If you see me running, I may be pretending to beat some drums at the same time! 
  6. Practice mindfulness. One reason I love walking and hiking so much is looking at all the nature around me. Being present is a skill and an excellent tool for stress management. So why can’t I do that while running too? I like to identify all the colors and textures of the objects around me. What do I smell? Fresh cut grass? Shifting your focus from inward to outward can help you with pain and to manage those unwanted thoughts. 
  7. Find a place to run where you feel safe, and don’t be afraid to bring self-defense tools. I say this because I’m a trauma survivor, and safety is essential to me. It doesn’t feel good to be scared while you’re trying to better yourself at the same time. Avoiding just reinforces a fear that will probably never happen.