How to Run When You Hate Running – 5 key strategies to push through it!

Do You Hate Running?

If you found yourself reading this post, there’s no question that you have one if not many issues with running. The answer to “How to run when you hate running,” lies mainly in destroying some of your limiting beliefs about running. I’m not saying that running will always feel great but you shouldn’t be in serious pain either. Honestly, it was hard for me to write this much-needed post because it’s a partial tear down and then a rebuilding up of ways to fortify a newfound strength of running. Truth be told, I’ve never hated running. I was in sports for most of my adolescent life. In all of the sports, I participated in most involved some type of running.

5 key strategies to develop a love for running

  1. Know that it could take 3 weeks to see even the slightest gain or benefit from running.
  2. You have to take on a running mindset.
  3. You have to identify yourself as a runner even if you’re really not “running” yet.
  4. Start off slowly.
  5. Give yourself 12 weeks and then decide if running is for you or not.

For some new runners, they have built many mental blocks that prevent them from giving running a chance. It all comes back to some of the most common reasons why most new runners fail based on my own research:

Most new runners fail because they try to run too much too soonThe simple overexertion of trying to run too far can quickly lead you down an ill advisable path. If this direction is not corrected it could lead you towards a hate for running instead of acquiring a joy for running.

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Did you run too far too soon?

Hang on, if you hate running, and you’re telling me that you didn’t run too much too soon, then I only partially believe you. All else being equal, meaning you can physically walk with no pre-existing injuries, you can learn to love running. For some runners that means taking it extremely slow. In fact maybe not physically running for weeks but perhaps walking the first couple of weeks.

Do you know what the difference between walking and running is? Most of us can visualize the difference, but few can put it into words. The actual difference is that when you run both feet are off the ground at the same time for the smallest fraction of a second. When you walk one foot is always on the ground. You don’t believe me, go try it. Ha! This was a trick to get you to take action and go run.

We all start off with good intentions for running

Why did you start running?

Always start with your why. The question of why you’re doing something actually transcends to all facets of your life, not just running. If it doesn’t then it should be one of the foremost questions you ask yourself. The “why” in anything in your life is the purpose of who you are and what you’re trying to attain. Don’t belittle the question of asking yourself why.

Did you starting running to:

  • get healthy
  • lose weight
  • increase lifespan
  • to compete
  • enjoy more time with a running partner

In order to exhale the hate of running and inhale the love of running, you need to take a deep look into why you actually hate running. If you don’t fix what’s making you not want to run, guess what – you’re not going to run.

What’s the underlying issue(s) that fuel the dislike for running?

Do you hate running because your body hurts after running?

how to run when you hate runningDepending on your current fitness level your body could simply hurt because you’re out of shape. You probably need to turn it down a notch and concentrate on small accomplishable goals for the first week. Try to schedule 3 days of exercise for your first week. Only spend 10 minutes each day exercising. Walk the first 4 minutes, then attempt to run for 1 minute. If you can’t make it one minute then attempt to run for 30 seconds. Alternate back and forth until you reach 10 minutes.

If you reach 10 minutes and you still feel ok then go ahead and repeat a 4-minute walk with a 1-minute run. Essentially what you’re doing is assessing your current fitness level. If you still feel ok after 15 minutes you can probably repeat this one more time.  Take a break for the next day and then the following day do this same exercise again.

I tried this and my body still hurts after running

Did you get proper running shoes? There’s a debate that argues that if you’re just getting into running then you probably don’t need proper running shoes, yes there are people out there promoting this. I highly discourage you to throw on any old pair of shoes to go run. If your pains are in your shins and feet then your shoes could be the culprit. If you’re having hip and/or lower back pains this could be from your running form or possibly other prior injuries. Improper balances when you’re running could also be a key instigator when it comes to body pains when running

If you experience a little discomfort when you try to run then just stick to walking. Walk 3 days a week for 20 minutes each day. Take a break between each day. The following week attempt to walk for 4 minutes and run 1 minute. If this still doesn’t work then try to walk for up to 9 minutes and then run for 1 minute. Play around with the time until you can run for a total of 4 minutes during one of your daily exercises. For example: walk 4 – run 1, walk 4 – run 1, walk 4 – run 1, walk 4 – run 1 = a  total of 4 minutes of running.

Does your spouse hate running?

If you’ve been on a recent health kick and your partner/spouse just isn’t on the health nut bandwagon, this could cause you to push back and not follow through with giving running a chance. Possibly, your spouse has already given running a chance and spread the poison downstream of how much they hate running. Although this alone shouldn’t cause you to hate running if you’re on the fence it could give you the final push.


If you have kids, you’ll want to spend a lot of time with them. When you get home for work you might want to go for a run but maybe guilt creeps in about needing to spend more time with the family. I try to always spend as much quality time with my family as I can. However, if I’m not healthy my family suffers just as much as I do. One way to go about this is to help your family understand the importance of staying healthy for the longevity of your life and the time available to spend with family.


Work can easily sap away precious time for you to be exercising and trying to become fit. For a lot of adults, work may be one of the biggest factors with not giving running a fair shot. Since work seems to take up a big chunk of our weeks, it’s fair to say that work get’s blamed for not having the time to do many other things, including running.

Did a coach/parent tell you that running wasn’t cut out for you?

Coaches of the modern world seem to be a little bit more down to earth than the coaches from 20 years ago plus. The newer coaches today try to not project negative ideas into athletes’ heads, such as “running isn’t cut out for you” or “you’ll never make it in track.” If you were ever told anything like this, these could be some of the rooted reasons why you might never fully give running a try. When your mind replays things like this you’ve tricked yourself into having a limited belief that you can’t run.

Are you telling yourself that you can’t run?

Are you your own worst enemy? Unforntanely, whether we know or not, we have to start blaming ourselves for all of our actions that brought us to this point in our life. If we’re not careful, our minds help build a mental prison around our capabilities, brick by brick, slowly over the years. If we’re lucky we catch it before the last brick is laid down. It all starts with starting to use the word “can” more often than “can’t” in our daily lives. I’m not trying to oversimplify this issue. I realize that we all have different upbringings and some have faced unbelievable circumstances. However, at some point, we have to liberate ourselves and take the first step out of our prison and not back into it.

Is the weather making you heat up?

Too Hot

It’s just to darn hot. You don’t want to sweat too much. It’s understandable that the weather does change the way we feel about running. Many times the hot weather has stopped me from running many times. The simplest way to beat the heat is to run early in the morning or in the early evening without the sun. For more hot weather hacks check out this post I wrote about running in the heat.

Too Cold

If it’s too cold outside to run and this is causing you to not want to run, opt for the treadmill. If the treadmill is a deal-breaker make sure you layer up if you’re going to head outside. By using relatively thin layers, you can allow your skin to breathe while trapping heat between layers. You’ll want to invest in headgear and gloves to keep yourself warm. Don’t put on too many layers because this can cause you to sweat too much, especially after you’re warmed up.

Is your weight causing you to hate running?

Weight can be one of the biggest factors causing you to loathe running. When we’re overweight, it’s harder to get motivated to put on the shoes and hit the ground running. We wallow in our current state and have trouble seeing ourselves as a healthy runner. If this sounds like you, you have to take it nice and slow making tiny adjustments to get the ball moving in the right direction. This starts with trying to eliminate one bad thing a week that you might be eating. Or simply remove one or two nights of drinking could be the factor that starts to burn away the weight.

When I was in my late twenties I was almost 60 pounds overweight which put me at about 280 lbs for a 6’3″ male. I was in a low spot in my life and was consuming away the extra weight which built up slowly after college. That’s the thing we don’t gain instant weight overnight, it’s a daily habit of consuming just a mere 250 calories extra a day that can pack on an extra 1 pound every two weeks. Add this up and you’re looking at an additional 26 pounds of extra weight per year. This is what happened to me over the course of about 3 years from age 25 through age 28.

How did I manage to shed the weight? There was no instant fix. It took years for me to shed my weight. It takes time by reeling in the number of calories consumed each week. Also, running 5 times a week is a big booster especially after interval sessions where you have an after-burn that can torch fat for up to 24 hours.

Do your previous injuries make you despise running?

If your hurt this can dampen the spirits of going for a run. The actual running deterrent isn’t the injury, sometimes it’s the runner. I can’t tell you how many times people have told me stories where they felt something was not right in their knees for instance, but they just kept going. The next day they got up and even though their knee was sore they went for a run anyway. Some day in the near future they go for a run again knowing that something isn’t right and, presto – pop, there goes an ACL tear. If you’re injured don’t run. Seek out a medical professional or rehab specialist to get you properly healed so that you can prevent future injuries. If you’re continuously reinjuring yourself you’re always going to loathe running. Here are some additional strategies to help you prevent injuries before they happen.

Have you always hated running?

Have you always had a hate for running but didn’t honestly give running a fair try? Are you simply too jealous of other runners that are in super shape? You need to start by looking at yourself and don’t compare yourself to other runners (If you need other tips like this one, check out this post about 6 things your running coach wish you would stop doing). Those other runners you see out there running 8 min paced miles have more than likely been running for a while. But guess what, they too had to start somewhere. Maybe their path to becoming a runner was easier than your path. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you should be focusing on yourself and not other people’s accomplishments. Small steps, small accomplishments – daily – is what moves the needle.

How do you turn yourself into a person who loves to run?

Make a list of why you hate to run – A real list

Stop what you’re doing right now and write down at least 5 reasons why you hate running. Close your eyes for about 30 seconds and think of 5 reasons why you WANT to love running. Take a second and look at the list and try to figure out how to move from the 5 reasons you hate running to the 5 reasons you want to love running. There should be one tiny step you can take to push yourself further from hating running toward wanting to love running.

Grab some armor

Do you know what the “fitness cliff” is in the fitness industry? It’s something predicted by an industry that at one point or another has taken your money in exchange for a gym membership. The “Fitness cliff” is the date in February of each year (around the 9th) where gym memberships and overall gym attendance falls off a cliff.

Why do you think this happens? I think the biggest reason people fall of the “fitness cliff” is that people don’t see the immediate results they thought were possible. They didn’t change the smaller daily habits such as better eating and sticking with something for a longer period of time. They quickly reverted back to the habits that were not working for them. Don’t be this person.

If this is/was you, I’m letting you know this so that you can take steps to fortify your mind. You need to stick with this as a long-term love, not a  couple of dates and then you toss it out with the trash.

5 key strategies to develop a love for running

Take some time to read through these 5 key strategies to help you turn your hate of running into a lifetime love for running. The health benefits of running are endless. Remember that it takes time to get in shape and elevate your current fitness level. Although we live in an “instant” society, it takes time to change bad habits into better habits. Most of us have trouble seeing past the current day. If you take the time each day to try to change just one habit per week you’ll put yourself on the path to a better you.

How to Run When You Hate Running – 5 Key strategies to help you develop a love for running:

1) Know that it could take 3 weeks to see even the slightest gain or benefit from running.

This strategy is probably the biggest game-changer of all of them. You need to stick with a habit for a longer period of time.

2) You have to take on a running mindset.

In other words, you need to know what it takes mentally to become a runner. Check out this post I’ve written that takes a deeper dive into the running mindset.

3) You have to identify with yourself as a runner even if you’re really not “running” yet.

Identifying yourself as a runner is the same thing as identifying yourself as a college student, an accountant, a father, a spouse, a volunteer coach. It doesn’t matter that you might not be running. During the early stages of learning to run, tell yourself daily that you’re a runner.

4) Start off slowly.

Even if you have to do nothing but walk for the first two or three weeks. Know that if you take it slow and increase your running on a weekly basis you can train yourself to run.

5) Give yourself 12 weeks and then decide if running is for you or not.

Don’t expect that the first week of running is going to be fireworks and a huge celebration. It could take time. If you’re feeling like you’re about to slip and quit running, sign up for a 5K race. This will help you refocus your training and hopefully realign your efforts to stop hating running and finding a long-lasting love for the sport.


Most people want to be along further than they are earlier on. It’s in our human nature to see a progression in all aspects of our life. You have to remember that it takes 3 weeks to start seeing any “true” result and/or benefit from running. You need to stay the course and keep running for at least 9 weeks or more.

Bonus for the ultimate post reader

Congratulations on making it through my post! I want to give you something that could help you out if you’re out of shape and you’re struggling to get started. If you’re out of shape and you need help running 1 mile, check out this free quick training guide divided into 3 training plans, based on your fitness level. Here is the post, How to run 1 mile when you’re out of shape.

Exhale the hate, inhale the love of running!

When does running get easier?

If you’re still having difficulties running or running is just hard, check out this detailed post about, why running is so hard and 35 tips to make your runs easier.

Is your running getting harder instead of easier?

If you’ve suddenly felt your running mojo decrease and your running, simply put, is not getting any easier but harder instead. Check out: 13 reasons why your running is getting harder instead of easier.

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Coach Scott's Credentials:
  • Published Author
  • RRCA Certified Running Coach (Level 2)
  • RRCA Certified Youth Running Coach
  • NASM CPT (Certified Personal Trainer).
  • NASM CNC (Certified Nutrition Coach)
  • NASM WLS (Weight Loss Specialist)
  • ACE SFC (Stretching and Flexibility Coach)
  • ACE GFI (Group Fitness Instructor)
He has published over 20 books including, Beginner's Guide to Half Marathons: A Simple Step-By-Step Solution to Get You to the Finish Line in 12 Weeks! (Beginner To Finisher Book 3), which has become an Amazon International #1 bestseller. Scott specializes in helping new runners become injury-free race finishers. He recently completed his 22nd half marathon race. 

 To sign up for a FREE half marathon training schedule, log sheet, and pace predictor CLICK HERE.

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How to Run When You Hate Running - 5 key strategies to push through it!

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