If you love to run, then this article is not for you. If you think running sucks but wish you enjoyed it like all those people on Instagram claim they do, keep reading.
When I tell some people that I am a running coach, they don’t have any reservations about sharing their hatred for running. If you truly hate to run, I’ll be the first one to tell you to forget about running and focus on moving your body in a way that you do love.
Exercise shouldn’t feel like torture or punishment. Yes. It’s hard at times, but most seasoned exercisers will tell you that you eventually learn to love the hard work, or at the very least, the feeling of completing the hard work. It’s when you learn to push yourself and achieve new levels of strength and fitness that exercise becomes so rewarding. It doesn’t have to be running; there are plenty of ways to get and stay in shape.
I love to run. I run to chase mental clarity. I run for a healthy heart and body. I love how a run makes me feel, mentally, and physically. I can run one mile after a challenging day and emerge with a renewed perspective. Running has truly changed my life. If you want it to, it can change yours too. If you think running sucks, here’s how to make it suck less.
Run Consistently To Suck Less
If you want to learn to love running, and you don’t already run regularly, you need to run more consistently. Running sucks for everyone at first. You have to give your body a chance to adapt to this new exercise. If you’re huffing and puffing and feel like you might die on your first run in two years (or ever), congratulations, you’re normal. The only way to improve your fitness is to run consistently.
Take Action: Set a realistic weekly schedule and stick to it. I promise it gets easier as you get more experienced.
Start Small To Suck Less
It takes time for your body to acclimate to running. If you run too much too soon, it will lead to frustration, unnecessary pain, and potential injuries…and that sucks! Have patience. Run a mile, or perform running and walking intervals for a mile to start. That’s it. Do it again in a couple of days. If you want to make running part of your life, there is no downside to starting small and building fitness over time.
Take Action: Plan to run one mile. See how it goes. Try it again in a few days.
Slow Down To Suck Less
A huge mistake I see runners make is that they inadvertently go out too fast. Learning to pace yourself is a skill you need to learn. At the beginning of your running journey, speed should be your lowest priority. Go slower than you think. You build endurance (aka being able to run the distance without feeling like dying) by running slow.
Take Action: As soon as you start running, slow your pace a bit from what feels natural. It’s too easy to begin needlessly fast. If you’re not sure, always assume you’re going to fast and slow down.
Rest More To Suck Less
You gain fitness, build endurance, get stronger, and get faster during the rest period after the workout, not during the workout itself. That means if you don’t allow your body the time it needs to recover, you could be sacrificing results and risking injury. More is not better. New runners need more rest than seasoned runners.
Recruit a Friend To Suck Less
Everything’s better with friends or another way to say it for new runners: misery loves company. A running partner can help you stay motivated, lend you an ear for complaining, or remind you that you’re not in this alone. We often feel more committed to our obligations to other people than we do to ourselves. A regular running partner can help you get out there when you’re not feeling motivated.
Take Action: Join a local run club or start a neighborhood run. Find a group online or recruit a friend. Sign up for a local training group.
Get Your Mind Right To Suck Less
Work to banish negative thoughts. Learn to recognize self-sabotaging thoughts and reverse them. The way you talk to yourself matters. Accept that it will be hard at times (that’s normal).
Instead of thoughts like:
“I can’t do this.”
“This is too hard.”
“I’ll never get better.”
Try these mantras instead:
“I can, and I will.”
“My hard work will pay off.”
“This struggle will be worth it.”
“I can do anything I put my mind to.”
Take Action: Repeat a positive mantra in your head (or out loud, who cares if your neighbors think you’re crazy?).
I promise you that if you want running to suck less and you put in the consistent work, you’ll get there! It takes time, patience and perseverance, but before you know it, you’ll be the one trying to convince all your friends to sign up for the next local 5K.
Willing to give it a try? Let me know how it goes!
Questions? I’d love to help.