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How to Keep Running When You Hate Running

BY: The Running Channel
28 April 2023

We get it, it’s not always easy to muster the energy or motivation to run. Sometimes getting out the door is the hardest part, so here are ten tips to help you lace up your shoes and hit the road, even when you’d rather do anything else.

1. Choose the Right Gear

First things first, ensure that you have comfortable, supportive running gear that fits you well. This is crucial, as an uncomfortable outfit can turn a potentially enjoyable run into an ordeal. Don’t shy away from experimenting with different gear. You never know what shoes or clothes you’ll enjoy until you try them.

2. Vary Your Runs

Running the same route at the same pace every time can get monotonous. Vary your runs by exploring different paths, trying interval training, track sessions, or even trail runs. Not only does this make running more adventurous, but it can also boost your progress.

3. Follow a Plan

Eliminate the guesswork by following a running plan. It helps you maintain discipline, forcing you to go out for runs even when you feel like resting. However, always listen to your body and adjust your plan if you feel any discomfort or pain.

4. Visualize the Post-Run Feeling

Remember, the only run you regret is the one you don’t go on. Whenever you feel unmotivated, visualize how accomplished and positive you’ll feel after finishing your run. This mental trick can help you overcome the initial resistance.

5. Adopt a Gateway Habit

A gateway habit is something that can be done in under two minutes that leads to a chain of beneficial habits. For running, a good gateway habit could be putting on your running kit. Once you’re dressed, it’s much easier to convince yourself to step outside.

6. Start With a Walk

If you’re finding it tough to motivate yourself to run, just go for a walk. There’s no pressure to hit a certain pace or distance. If you feel like running during your walk, great! If not, you’ve still gotten out and moved, which is a win in itself.

7. Stack Your Habits

Habit stacking involves pairing a habit you enjoy (like listening to music or talking to friends) with running. You could call a friend during your run or listen to your favorite podcast – perhaps even The Running Channel’s podcast!

8. Run With Friends or a Club

Running doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. Invite a friend to run with you, or join a running club. Running with others creates a sense of community and belonging, and it can also make you feel accountable, making you less likely to skip your run.

9. Sign Up for a Race

Setting a goal, such as running a race, can be a great motivation booster. Knowing you have a set date to prepare for can keep you disciplined in your training. Plus, making your goal public adds a level of accountability.

10. Find Your “Why”

Finally, understanding your personal reasons for running can make all the difference. Whether it’s to get fitter, socialise, or enjoy some fresh air, make sure your reasons are personal and powerful. Your “why” should be stronger than your reasons not to run.


Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Even if you “hate” running, these tips can help transform your perspective and make your runs more enjoyable. So, what’s your reason for running? Do you have any motivational tips to share? Please leave them in the comments below!



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