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How to Enjoy Running and Learn to Love It

Once you discover how to enjoy running – you’ll be hooked. However, getting to this point can be tricky for some, as running usually doesn’t feel very enjoyable in those first moments.

If you persevere long enough to begin to enjoy running, you’ll reap the benefits and create a lifelong hobby. Running is hard at times, there’s no doubt about it, but it’s easy to push through those tough moments when you know just how rewarding it can be.

How do I make running more enjoyable?

The key to learning how to enjoy running is to stay consistent. Running feels hard when you’re just getting started, coming back from a break or pushing yourself to achieve new goals. Pushing through these tough moments is usually what leads to the greatest sense of enjoyment and fulfillment.

If you’re staying consistent and still just can’t seem to enjoy running, try incorporating more of the things you already love. Find a running partner, listen to podcasts, books or music, try running in your favorite location, or reward yourself in a fun way.

When do you start to enjoy running?

Many new runners start to enjoy running once they’ve created a solid running base and start to see progress. The difficulty of running often feels overwhelming in the beginning, but after just a few days or weeks of consistency, most find themselves enjoying running.

This progress often comes with learning to correctly pace yourself, which results in running feeling easier as well as providing a sense of accomplishment. When the rewards start to overshadow the challenges, it’s easier to enjoy running.

Don’t enjoy running? These 15 strategies will help you learn to love it in no time. Enjoying running is possible for anyone!

How to Enjoy Running: 15 Ways to Love It

Whether you’re wanting to start running consistently but haven’t been able to overcome those initial hurdles, or are simply hoping to find more joy in exercise, these tips will help you quickly enjoy running.

Try any or all of these simple strategies to enjoy running in no time.

Stick with a schedule

The quickest way to start enjoying running is to stick with it and stay consistent. Understand and accept that those first few days or weeks of running are going to feel difficult as your body adapts to the new activity.

However, the more diligent you are with sticking to your schedule, the quicker your body with adapt and running will begin to feel enjoyable.

Find a partner or group

Regardless of whether you’re just beginning or are stuck in a slump during training, hooking up with a running partner or group is a great way to start to enjoy running again.

If you’re finding it challenging to coordinate schedules and locations with a running buddy, try talking to them on the phone during a run. Having a source of distraction and support during a run is a great way to make the miles feel more meaningful and enjoyable.

Listen to podcasts, books or music

Another way to bring fun and excitement to your running is to listen to podcasts, audiobooks or music during your run. Podcasts and books are a great way to learn and find inspiration while you run, and music is a great way to get pumped up and excited.

Try mixing things up with some music on a long run, podcasts or a book during easy runs, and focused silence during workouts. The variety will help keep things interesting during training and help you really enjoy running.

Try a beautiful trail

If music or podcasts aren’t your thing, or you’re already utilizing them and still aren’t enjoying running, try changing your location. One of the best ways to enjoy a run is to run in a beautiful area.

Trails are usually easy to find and relatively close to home, but offer the excitement of a getaway. You can choose a paved, dirt, gravel or wooded trail. Running on a trail allows you to experience the full beauty of every season and helps runners of every level enjoy running.

Sign up for a race

Perhaps the most common reason runners enjoy the sport is because of races. While there is certainly still fun and fulfillment from solo weekly runs, races take the experience to an entirely different level.

While the actual race is certainly the peak of the experience, training for it offers runners a sense of purpose. This purpose helps increase commitment and dedication, which deepens enjoyment during each training run.

Reward yourself

Putting in a hard effort is so much more fulfilling when there is a reward. For some runners, the simple act of getting outside and moving their body is enough of a reward. But for many, especially on those hard runs, it’s nice to have a little something extra to look forward to.

Your reward might be signing up for a goal race, buying a new running outfit, meeting up for a post-run meal, or enjoying some well-earned downtime afterwards. Whatever motivates and excites you will be all it takes to help you enjoy running.

Download a running app

Running apps can do so much more than just log your distance and pace. Most running apps offer a sense of community as well, allowing runners to connect and share their accomplishments.

If you’re unable to join a running group or run with a friend, running apps might be your next best bet. Sign up for an app and check out the social feature to see what those around you are doing. Fostering a sense of community with like-minded people will inspire you to get outside and help you discover just how much you can enjoy running.

Practice positive self-talk

It can be hard to enjoy running when you doubt yourself, or think you’re failing. A simple, yet incredibly effective strategy to help boost your enjoyment is to practice positive self-talk. Creating this habit right from the start will set you up for success in each training season.

Practice bringing awareness to negative thoughts or comments, and limit them during training. Try including some positive mantras or affirmations during each run so you can use them during harder workouts, long runs and races.

Set realistic expectations

Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes new runners make is expecting to start running and enjoy themselves right away. Setting realistic expectations will help you stick with it and stay strong, both mentally and physically.

Sticking it out when running feels hard is much easier when you remind yourself what all your body is learning and how far you have come. Being realistic when setting goals will help avoid any sense of failure for not accomplishing something monumental right from the start.

Push past limits

As much as we need to be realistic with our expectations, it’s also important to understand what all is possible to avoid limiting yourself. Running is certainly more enjoyable when it starts to feel easier and more natural, but it’s important not to get so comfortable that we get stuck in a rut.

When things are feeling a bit too easy, pushing yourself is a great way to bring some enjoyment and satisfaction back to your training. Challenge yourself to push past your pre-conceived limits and you might be surprised how much you enjoy running with purpose again.

Distract yourself

Nothing will ruin the fun quite as much as dwelling in how miserable you feel, or focusing on how much you have to do after a run. Rather than embracing the negative, distract yourself so you can stay present in the moment.

Listening to something, running with someone or checking out a new trail are effective ways to distract from the difficulty that comes with running.

Research the benefits

A simple way to help enjoy running a bit more is to educate yourself on the benefits. When you’re aware of all the good you are doing by running, it makes the work and effort seem worth it.

Running has an incredibly positive impact on both your body and mind. There is so much to be gained from starting a running habit that once you’re aware of it, it’s very hard to quit. Take the time to really learn about the benefits of running, and you might be surprised how much it helps you enjoy the sport.

Slow down

Another very common mistake made by beginner runners (and many seasoned runners, too) is running too fast. If running is feeling miserable and hard after weeks and even months of training, it’s likely a sign that you’re actually running too fast.

Slowing down is a simple way to help yourself enjoy running. Setting realistic expectations about your speed and pace, along with listening to your body and providing it the time it needs to adjust and grow, will help increase your enjoyment on the run.

Set a goal

When you’re first starting out, running just to get out and exercise is a great goal. But as you get more seasoned and fit, running just for the heck of it starts to lose some of its purpose.

Setting goals, signing up for races, and following training schedules are all great strategies to enjoy running. Giving your training a purpose will help you find joy in completing each workout, conquering new goals, and making progress.

Mix up your workouts

When all else fails, if you’re stuck in a rut, you need to mix it up. Heading out for a run at the same pace, on the same route week after week will certainly start to feel boring over time. Mix up your training in any way possible until you start to enjoy running again.

Try a new trail, complete each run at a different speed, run while listening to different music or podcasts, and run with friends.

Learning to enjoy running is critical if you plan to stick with the sport for any significant period of time. Sticking it out and staying consistent will help you cultivate joy more quickly than you might expect.

8 Ways to Stay Consistent Before Enjoying Running

Regardless of how much we might want it, running isn’t always going to feel enjoyable. Those moments of trial and doubt are times when it’s easiest to give up – however, by doing so, you’re missing out on some of the finest reward.

The turning point might be just one or two runs away, which is why it’s so important to push through those tough moments. Here are some tips to stay consistent to begin to enjoy running.

  • Follow a training schedule
  • Set a date with friends
  • Schedule it in your day
  • Get your gear out the night before
  • Don’t think twice
  • Find an accountability partner
  • Reward yourself immediately after a run
  • Monitor your progress

Just about every runner will tell you that they enjoy the sport – but that doesn’t mean it’s always sunshine and roses. Sticking it out through the difficult runs makes the easy one feel that much more satisfying.

Learning to enjoy running is possible for everyone, whether you’re just getting started or have been running for years.

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