I’ve always hated running. There, I said it.
For years I have tried to enjoy running. I’ve given it my all on multiple occasions, only to find myself dreading each workout and wishing for injuries.
As sick as that sounds, it’s true.
A couple years ago I broke my foot and the first thing that crossed my mind, after the initial pain subsided, was “Good. I may never be able to run again.”
Seriously, what is wrong with me?
Well we may never know the answer to that, but I know I’m not the only person who feels this way about running. We haters are mostly the noncompetitive type, who get bored while running and abhor the jarring impact.
So why would I keep trying to like running when there are so many other ways to workout?
It’s a great universal workout.
Running develops long lean muscles like nothing else, and usually kicks your body into high-gear fat burning mode, if you don’t normally do it.
Also running is a great social workout. I don’t know how many friends have asked me to be their running buddy over the years. I have to admit, it is more enjoyable with other people around.
So if you are determined to become a runner, but hate running like I do, here are some “Running Tips for Haters” that will help ease the pain:
Running Tips… for Haters
1. REMOVE ALL ANNOYANCES. This is a big one so it comes first. When you already dislike something, any tiny irritation might be enough to push you to the point of quitting. Therefore…
- Use bobby pins, head bands, ponytail holders and barrettes to get your hair out of your eyes and off your sweaty face.
- Wear clothes that breath, and do not ride up, pinch, or rub anywhere.
- Make sure there are no wrinkles in your socks and tuck your laces in so they don’t slap your ankles while you run.
- Wear sunglasses and sunscreen.
- Run the cord from your headphones through your clothes so you don’t pull them out when you’re pumping your arms, and the cord isn’t smacking you in the face. You can also buy an MP3 player armband to help keep the cord out of the way.
- If you have sensitive knees or shins, wear knee/shin compressors to keep your muscles warm and tight.
2. HYDRATE AND ELIMINATE. About 30 minutes before your run, drink a glass or two of water. You want the water working through your body before you start so you don’t feel sick from dehydration while you run. Then 1 minute before you run, eliminate. The worst thing in the world, is to be 2 miles from home and have to pee. If you plan on running over 5 miles, you may want to think about wearing a hydration belt to make sure you replenish your fluids.
3. CAFFEINATE. A little caffeine before a workout gives you that extra boost to help push through your run. If you are not opposed to coffee try drinking your daily cup, along with the water, about 30 minutes before you run. You’ll be zipping along at high speed.
4. GET YOUR GROOVE ON. A great running playlist really helps you to set a pace and forget that you hate running. A running playlist is not where you show your artistic sensitivity and progressive musical knowledge; it’s all about the beat.
Choose fast songs with a DAH-dah-dah-dah DAH-dah-dah-dah DAH-dah-dah-dah pace. If the songs have a get-up-and-go or overcome-the-odds theme, even better.
The music you choose should make you want to go faster. Some of the songs on my playlist are:
Katie Perry “Hot and Cold”
Bangles “Walk Like An Egyptian”
Garth Brooks “Ain’t Goin’ Down Til the Sun Comes Up”
Journey “Don’t Stop Believin”
Blondie “One Way Or Another”
Paramore “Misery Business”
You can find some good ideas for running playlists here.
5. STRETCH. This may sound prosaic, but you need a good stretch before and after your run to loosen up your muscles and prevent injury. Take the time to stretch so your body isn’t mad at you later.
6. START FLAT. This can be tricky if you live in the mountains like I do. You’ve got to make your first few weeks of running as optimal as possible so you don’t quit. Map out the flattest path through your neighborhood or drive to a track and run laps at a consistent pace.
Save the hills and intervals for later.
7. PUMP YOUR ARMS. A close friend shared this trick from her high school cross-country days. If you shoot your arms forward, like you’re grabbing for a rope in front of you, your legs will follow suit, lengthening your stride and creating momentum. This works exceptionally well if you do happen to find yourself running up an incline. PUMP, PUMP, PUMP!
8. DON’T QUIT BEFORE YOU’RE IN THE ZONE. I’ve heard people call it: hitting their stride, getting in the zone, the 2-mile mark, the 15-minute mark. Whatever you call it, there is a moment in your run when things get easier. For most people this happens between 10-20 minutes of running.
For me it happens at 20 minutes. My first 10 minutes are fine. Then minutes 10-20 are pure hell. Finally around the twenty minute mark, I notice my body doesn’t mind the run anymore. Things begin to flow. My breathing regulates. My muscles are primed for the job. …But I would never know this if I gave up after 15 minutes.
Although I never thought I’d say this, I actually LIKE running after the first 20 minutes. I just have to push through to get there.
9. SPEND THE NECESSARY CASH TO MEET YOUR GOAL. That may mean getting new running shoes, a knee guard, shorts that don’t ride up, an MP3 player, or decent headphones. I’m not encouraging you to break the bank, but if learning to not hate running is a priority, don’t let a little money get in your way.
10. RUN WITH FRIENDS. Like I mentioned above, running seems much less daunting when you’re doing it with a friend. You can chat a little to take your mind off the workout, and it’s a great way to keep a consistent pace. Plus, a partner equals accountability. You’re much less likely to skip your run if you have a date set with a buddy.
Over time, these running tips have gotten me to a place where I don’t dread the run. Hopefully they will help get you there too!