Do you hate running? Lots of people do. I see it on their faces. Even though running is a basic natural form of exercise, it’s easy to hate!

So here are some funny, creative and practical ideas to help you hate running less! Even if you LOVE to run, I think you’ll find these useful as well.

1) Start Small And Build

Go for a walk and do five minutes of running, then go back to walking until you recover. Rinse and repeat. Eventually that five minutes will turn into six, then seven, and so on. Remember, even marathon runners started out being exhausted after five minutes. You have to work your way up, there are no shortcuts.

2) Don’t Skimp On Good Shoes

Don’t buy the cheapest running shoes! I can’t stress this enough. It pays to take the time to find the right fit for you. A hundred dollars can be a small sum compared to the fact that you are going to use those shoes for a few hundred miles.

3) Learn To Love Pain (Not)

“I like running. Feels good to hurt.” Notice I didn’t attribute that quote to anybody but it is, unfortunately, how many people feel. DON’T learn to love your pain. Get someone, like ME, to help you figure out what the heck is causing the pain and fix it. Trust me, you’ll love running even more then!

4) Hide Your Pain (Not)

One of my clients told me, “I tend to get stuck thinking about how much I’m gasping so one of my training secrets is to listen to music just loud enough to hide my breathing. This way I can still hear traffic or other trail users and then tend to lose track of how hard I am working and don’t focus on how hard I’m breathing. Plus the music helps pump me up and keep me pushing the pace.”

This person sounds way too out of touch with their run and way too IN TOUCH with how hard they’re working. PAIN isn’t meant to be loved (as in point #3) or HIDDEN, either. PAIN is a warning signal that something is off. Fixing it is always the best solution, and you’ll enjoy your music more too!

5) Repetition

I think it helps to repeat the same runs over and over. Same paths. Same turns. It’s like when you take the same drive to commute to work everyday. The familiarity makes the route seem shorter.

Or…

6) Always Mix It Up

One trick is to change the environment you’re running in as often as possible. Run different parks and trails, map out a route through your city or neighborhood. The same old route gets old and sometimes makes it harder to even start.

7) Reward Yourself

Give yourself rewards for what you achieve. One of my clients agrees. He said, “It’s better to run five miles and drink five beers than run zero miles and drink four beers.” I know, I have some clients with unique perspectives on life!

8) Proper Form

A mid-foot / forefoot striking style is very achievable by a beginner. And you really want to avoid that awful habit of heel striking! It’s really about finding the right posture and stride length (forward leaning, shorter strides) and the rest falls into place quite naturally.

Learn to Run & Walk for Fitness

9) Run Outside

Some people like treadmills. Those people are lunatics to people who love running outside. Running outside is great. To each their own! But do make sure you get outside and run at least once in a while.

10) Don’t Hate It Less, Do Something Else

I love to run when I’m playing a sport or when I’m running on a trail or on the beach. But some people, probably most people, just don’t get that runner’s high. Running for the sake of itself is boring, hard to do, and sometimes nothing can make it better. So if you’ve come to the conclusion that you hate running, that’s fine. Seek out other forms of movement and exercise.

I call my website JOYinmovement.com, not YouMustLoveRunning.com and I do this for a reason. Find joy, find movement that brings you that joy, and then get going!