Hate running? An expert and athlete's top 5 tips to enjoy it

Hate running? An expert’s & an athlete’s tips to enjoy it

Do you hate running?

Do you find yourself hating the thought of hitting the pavement? Does your mind put up every mental barrier imaginable? Can running REALLY be enjoyable?

In short, absolutely!

Many of us have tried to give running a chance… But for whatever reason it is an exercise we all actively avoid.

It’s not uncommon to dislike running, in fact, very rarely do we say, “that run was so fun!”. It is one of the few forms of exercise we all can do – and arguably the most convenient, yet remains the biggest obstacles for people to overcome when it comes to their training.

There are many self-educated reasons why we make running so difficult. But with so many performance benefits associated to running, it’s hard to find any reasons why we shouldn’t be running.

Is the hardest part about running overcoming our own mind?

For us running rookies, beginning is the hard part. A world of excuses takes over and we set unrealistic expectations when we start. Once you realise you can’t become an ultramarathon runner overnight, it’s a little less daunting.

Running isn’t easy, but let’s not give up on it so fast says Accredited Sports Scientist, Ben Brugman.

“Fortunately, there are ways to overcome your phobia to run. It’s about scaling it down and actually being realistic. Those who revisit running or decide they want to start, usually try to overachieve straight away. It doesn’t take much to make it enjoyable either.”

“Running is one of the best all round training aspects to sports not to mention your health. Once you find your stride and routine, running can be an important, and fun, part of our lives.”

Ben’s five tips to enjoy running:

1. Set SMART goals – Short term and long term goals will give you structure to your sessions and keep you motivated.

2. Running doesn’t mean ONLY running – Break your session up into walk, run and sprint segments. Increasing the portion of running relative to walking might tie in nicely with your goals. You could also try run intervals interspersed with bodyweight exercises or meditation.

3. Playlists & Podcasts & Apps – Having some good tunes or an intriguing podcast to look forward to can help encourage you to lace them up and get you through those mentally tough patches. Apps that coach you throughout the process can also play a key role in breeding success, trying the Nike Run Club App to have a running coach guide you along the way.

4. Get the RIGHT gear – It may not be the flashiest new kit in the fancy new fabrics but making sure that you have clothing and especially footwear that ensures running is a comfortably-uncomfortable experience can make all the difference in sticking to it long-term.

5. Listen to your body – YOU are the expert on you. While a little soreness is to be expected as you begin your running journey and increase your running volume or intensity prolonged discomfort that effects your daily quality of life for more than 48 hours should ring alarm bells. Rest, recover and consult help as needed.

We asked a PRO!

Australian distance running star Stewart “Stewy” McSweyn agrees even he struggles at times with motivation to get outside and run on some days.

“I too like most runners frequently go through ups and downs within my motivation levels on a daily basis to get outside and run. These days make it exceedingly important that you have little strategies and structures in place to help you push through those days where lacing up the shoes doesn’t feel quite so easy.”

Stewy’s tips to get you out the door:

1. Be adaptable with your training  – Getting out the door is the hardest part! once you’re out running then you can decide whether you adapt or change up the running you are going to do. Often once you are out the door you will surprisingly start feeling much better than you thought.

2. Music or podcasts – Another strategy I will often use is listening to music or podcasts on days where I don’t feel like running as they often help boost my motivation.

3. Mix it up – Mixing up training and running locations can often help boost motivation on these days. Sometimes changing the location can help make a run much more enjoyable.

4. Set goalsSetting goals for yourself to help create accountability. Having overall training goal or upcoming race can help make you more accountable and more motivated to push through the days you don’t feel like running.

Follow Stewart’s running journey on Instagram – @stewy_mac3

Want to take your running to the next level?

Want some additional help to improving your training and performance, speak to your local exercise expert can help. They will be able to prescribe safe and effective exercises that are tailored to your specific needs. They will also help you to set realistic goals and stay motivated.

The Nike Run Club gives you the guidance, inspiration and innovation you need to become a better athlete. Join Nike Run Club to reach your goals and have fun along the way. Download to get started. 



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We have partnered with Nike Australia Pty Ltd for this article series.

The views expressed in this article, unless otherwise cited, are exclusively those of the author, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA). ESSA is the professional organisation committed to establishing, promoting and defending the career paths of tertiary trained exercise and sports science practitioners.

Nike had no role in the collection, analysis, or interpretation of data or research or the writing of this article.