“I love running!”
This statement is heard from runners everywhere – but for those just starting out or those who are unfamiliar with the sport, it can sound like it’s too good to be true.
Do runners actually love running?
In most cases, yes! Nearly all seasoned runners actually love running. That’s not to say that there aren’t hard moments or bad days, but in general, most runners continue training over time because they truly enjoy the act of running.
Understanding how to fall in love with running is key for anyone who finds themselves struggling to get started or stick with it over time.
How do I make myself enjoy running?
Nearly everyone starts running with the hopes that they’ll become one of those runners who can’t help but exclaim “I love running!” to anyone who will listen. But after a few bad runs or a rough beginning, it can be difficult to believe that you’ll eventually feel that way too.
Learning to love and enjoy running isn’t something that can happen overnight. In most cases, it takes some time before runners begin to truly settle into their groove and really fall in love with running. The best and easiest way to fall in love with running is simply to stick with it.
Persevere through the tough runs, the hard moments, and the times when you want to quit. Over time, your body with adapt and your mind will get stronger. Before long, you might find yourself exclaiming “I love running!” too.
How to Fall in Love with Running
Many new runners or those hoping to begin the sport are eager to find out how they can fall in love with running too. Luckily, nearly everyone who sticks with the sport will find themselves coming to enjoy it with time.
However, when you’re stuck in the trenches and enduring those first few miserable runs, you’ll probably want to know how to speed up the process as much as possible. Here are a few tips to help you fall in love with running.
Stick with it
Oftentimes, the most effective way to fall in love with running is to just stick with it. It takes some runners longer than others to learn to love the sport. Starting out with hardly any fitness, a lot of extra weight, or unrealistic expectations can slow the process of learning to enjoy running.
Running nearly always feels hard when it is brand-new and the body is trying to adjust. Simply persevering through these initial trying times and understanding that it is completely normal to struggle will help. Over time, each run will begin to feel easier and you’ll find yourself enjoying running more and more.
Make a goal
Having a specific purpose or goal for your running is a great way to stay motivated and remind yourself that it is worth it. Most runners who love running do it for more than just wanting to lose weight or “stay in shape”. Find your why and remind yourself of this reason frequently.
Plan enjoyable routes
Even when running feels hard, it still allows us to explore new areas and experience some amazing things. If you haven’t fallen in love with running yet, try running in a new area. Test out new trails, enjoy seasonal scenery, or treat yourself on a trip to a special location.
Invest in quality gear
It makes sense that runners love running more when they are comfortable. It might be tempting to try to save money in the beginning by running in gear that you already own, but that can lead to many issues such as chafing, blisters and even injuries.
Investing in a few high quality pieces of running gear will not only help you stay comfortable, but it might increase your motivation as well. Feeling confident by running in something that you love will help you fall in love with running itself more quickly.
Listen to a podcast or music
One of the best ways to really enjoy a run is to listen to something upbeat or inspiring while running. Motivational podcasts, energetic music, or thought-provoking conversations can all turn a bad run into a good one. In addition, they’re a great way to help distract from any pain or discomfort that might occur during a run.
Repeat a mantra
Our mindset and thoughts have incredible power when it comes to determining our mental attitude. The thoughts you think while running can greatly affect whether or not you learn to love it. Telling yourself that you feel terrible throughout a run will likely lead to just that. To avoid this, try reciting a mantra to yourself when things get hard.
Simple phrases such as “I can do hard things”, “pain is temporary” or even “I am worth it” might be enough to power through and eventually learn to love the sport.
Make it social
Many runners struggle in solitude. When running alone, it’s easy to let your thoughts get the best of you when running feels hard. Finding a running buddy or even a running group can be a great way to help quickly fall in love with the sport.
Record your progress
Nothing is more motivating than seeing where you are now compared to where you started. Recording your progress will help you remember just how tough it felt on those first few runs, and how much you have already started to enjoy running.
Sign up for races
One of the reasons runners love running so much is because of the camaraderie and excitement they experience at races. Races happen just about anywhere, for runners of all ability levels and at all distances. Signing up for some races will help keep your motivation high and soak in that excitement from others.
Running is such a great hobby. It provides loads of benefits from your physical and mental health, helps you stay motivated, and encourages other healthy habits. A simple way to fall in love with running is to really embrace all of its benefits and reward yourself for sticking with it. Enjoy the post-run endorphins, let yourself relax afterwards, treat yourself to a hot bath, or even indulge in a drink or treat of your choice post-run.
Comparison is one of the biggest reason that runners struggle to really fall in love with the sport. If you find yourself constantly comparing your progress or results to those of others around, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever learn to appreciate and love running for what it brings you.
Quit comparing your progress to others. Embrace your own body and physical fitness, and pay attention to how running makes you feel.
It might take some time before you’re shouting “I love running!” from the rooftops – but if you stick with it long enough, I bet you’ll find yourself enjoying each run more and more.
Remember that falling in love with running is not a linear journey. You’ll have ups and downs along the way, and even once your truly love running, there will come some moments where you want to quit. However, persevering, embracing the season, and loving your body for what it can do will help you enjoy the sport for all it has to offer.