Dear Everyone Who Does Not Suck at Running or Hate Running Like I do. I Need Your Help.

I do not like running. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I hate running. These are all things that I’ve said about running just before running or just after running.

“The thing that I hate about running is EVERY thing.”

“The best part about running is when I stop running.”

“Running is the worst.”

“I don’t trust people who (quote fingers) look forward (/quote fingers) to running.”

That’s how I feel every time I run. My lungs burn, my calves hurt, my boobs feel awkward and everything in me is screaming STOP RUNNING RIGHT THIS SECOND. There’s nothing about running that I like. But I know that running is good for me, and so during this session of boot camp, I’ve been trying to find a way to not hate it. In fact, these are my goals for this session of boot camp:

learn to not hate running.
strengthen my abs.
not feel angry when I run.
lose more than 5 pounds.
not suck at running.
lose more than 3 inches.
not want to punch everyone when I run.
not miss a single workout.
not cry when I run uphill.
push to my maximum every single workout.
To learn to like running maybe just a little bit.


, on Thanksgiving morning, I will be getting up at 6 in the morning to join my fellow boot campers for a 5K run. I’ve only done a 5K once before and it was on the treadmill. NOT THE SAME THING AT ALL. The farthest I’ve run is 2.75 miles. I have no doubts that I can do it, but I have doubts about how good I’ll be at it.

There will be uphill running and uphill running is what KILLS ME. I have both mental and physical issues with uphill running. (I have issues in general, with running, but ESPECIALLY the uphill running.)

Here is where I ask for your help.

Do you have any advice you can give me about running? Do you have any tips that will help me get through the mental aspect of running. Do you have any songs that I can download that will help keep me motivated? Do you have any words of encouragement you can give me that I can say to myself when I want to just stop and lay down on the ground and cry instead of finishing the run?

I look forward to reading what you have to say.

24 thoughts on “Dear Everyone Who Does Not Suck at Running or Hate Running Like I do. I Need Your Help.

  1. Diana

    If you get any answers that actually work you should compile them and do a post about it. Seriously. Because I need help, too. I have always hated running, so naturally I decided to sign up for a half marathon next year.

  2. Stephanie ODea

    I don’t particularly like running, but did train and ran a 1/2 marathon in 2008. I trick myself by picking a close by landmark: stop sign, red truck, etc. and then once I pass it pick another one. I also count 1-12 over and over, or write autobiographies in my head. I actually do some of my best brainstorming while I run.
    I’m not a fan of running to music, because I get annoyed at the sound variations– one song is too soft in my playlist, the other too loud, etc. but I’m a weirdo.

    I will also chant to myself “never ever ever ever ever give up” incessantly. 🙂

    good luck, Y! you can totally do it.

    1. Statia

      Let’s be friends. Because I’m like that too with music and running. I listen to comedy. Might help you, Y. I feel like MURDER when I run.

  3. Leigh

    Well, I wouldn’t say I love running or even like it that much–I only do it to stay in shape–but I do enjoy running races very much. I’m not fast and there’s no hope I’ll ever come close to winning, but it’s surprisingly fun to be running in a big pack of people like that all focused on a goal.

    The first bit will go quickly, there’s a lot of adrenaline and excitement and you’ll be into it before you know it. Focus on the crowd to distract yourself; if your family is coming to watch, have them stand around the 2 or 2-1/2 mile mark to encourage you in the last stretch. Don’t feel like you have to be The Best Runner in your group, just focus on how awesome it is that you’re running a 5K and when you finish, no one will ever be able to take that accomplishment away from you! Good luck!

  4. Jaime

    I always wanted to love running. For a span of about 6 months once I ran four days a week and I never loved running. And it never felt like it got any easier. I always struggled and could never run that far. Granted I probably wasn’t doing it right, but still. SUCKED! What sort of worked for me was counting my breathing. In-two-three, out-two-three. It gave me something else to focus on other than the ridiculous amount of pain I was in. My knees! My side! My calves! My boobs!

  5. Jenna

    I’ve gotten back to running this year, really since July. The first two weeks of any running attempt are the worst for me. Then the pain starts to wear off. A bit. Heh

    For me, having a song that makes me laugh in the middle of my run is a real help. Today it was Super Bass. Nothing like mouthing that while running. Watching my progress on the Runkeeper app has been a motivator too.

    Other than that, something in me clicked this time. I think it was how I physically couldn’t move for a year and a half and now I’m all, “Wee! My back works!”

    Best of luck to you!!

  6. Redneck Mommy

    I love running. Sincerely. Always have. Plus running has strengthened my core and helps control my back pain.

    Wait. This isn’t what you wanted to hear was it.

    *ducks and RUNS*

    (In all seriousness though, good luck. Running is hard. Whether you like it or not. xo)

  7. Karianna

    Yes, a 5K on a treadmill is not the same thing, which is GOOD! You’ll have scenery tomorrow! Give yourself a quick mantra, like “This will be over soon” or whatever you think might work. Picture the end – because that’s when you feel niiiiiice. It sounds so bizarre, but I hate 5ks, but love 10ks and half-marathons. The reason: 5ks don’t quite get me to that “runner’s high” part. You might end up wanting to go for a run *after* your 5k is done because your body will be warmed up. As for “being good at it” – don’t worry at all. I was often near the end of the pack, but we all got the same finisher’s medal. When you are done, pat yourself on the back for being awake and active while the majority of the population is lazing around.

  8. Maggie

    I listen to just music I love, so every song is a favorite – I don’t care the tempo or motivational factor – just that I love to hear each song any time I hear it. If I am struggling I also make bargains with myself like keep running until the song ends or I reach x landmark which ever is longer and then see how I feel. Or walk 1 song run 1 song.

  9. Aneets

    I always used to hate running too but over the past year I have really gotten into it & now can’t imagine not havin it as a part of my routine.

    My advice is twofold:
    – go slow. Seriously, start out at a pace that is realistic for you to maintain & won’t kill ou half way through. I live DoctorMama’s running tips on her blog. Must read for beginners.
    – distract yourself during your run. You need to not think about what your body is doing. I think about what I am cooking for dinner, go through my grocery list, make mental to do lists etc. I think about nothing related to the run at all. This is key. A good running soundtrack helps too. If you love the song you can be distracted similarly.

    Good luck!

  10. Wendy

    I so relate to this post! I am running my first 5k tomorrow morning. And I am definitely not a runner!! I am a mom of two high school cross country runners and the wife of a runner and I don’t want to be left out of the “fun”. I work out 5-6 days per week but I’ve only run 2 miles before. I loaded my iPod with some rock, pop and rap music and I hope to finish without walking!! Happy Running!!!

  11. Michelle

    Enell sports bra. Pricey. Ugly. Worth its weight in gold. Worth your boobs’ weight in gold. I NEVER bounce, and I look just like you.

    My running advice…permission to walk when I feel like it. Seriously. I have a certain mileage I have to finish. I start out walking, and eventually I start running. Run, walk, run, walk…”I’ll run until that next mailbox.” It gets me out the door.

  12. Amy

    I am NOT a runner…But I am trying to get into the mode for doing exercising because I need to be a better me. For me. So I understand EVERYTHING you just said about running and HATING it because I hate it too…and exercise in general.

    What I do to get my through a particular workout is this: I count. I use numbers of signifigance to me and play games with myself. “Hmmm I bet it’s 88 steps to the top of the hill” and then I count as I trudge. It’s dumb but it pulls me out of concentrating on the evil thoughts like “I hate walking uphills- this is what cars are for.”

  13. Kim

    I have a running playlist… I frequently change it up and pay attention when I’m running to which songs make me feel more energized.

    I DON’T listen to that playlist, peppy as it is, for anything else- cleaning, etc, so it makes me look forward to hearing it on my run. Now, there are even songs that when I hear them, make me WANT to run!

    I used to hate it, too. Before boot camp, during my first session of boot camp…. But once i pushed past the burning in my lungs, the other physical pains and weaknesses, it was fun in a way. Every run started to feel like a little victory. And I realized that once you build up your physical endurance it really is a matter of mind over matter. And somehow you just have to find a way to trick yourself into liking it. 😉 good luck

  14. Angela

    The best advice I was ever given: The first ten minutes will ALWAYS suck. Always. Get through the first ten minutes, and then things will hopefully look up. Good music helps, but not in the first ten minutes. Because THOSE MINUTES SUCK.

  15. James E.

    Here are a few things I can think of. I’m not a “pro” but just a dude who likes to run when he can.
    1) Start slow; don’t worry about pace or distance at first. Just get moving. The others will come as your body adapts.
    2) If possible, pick a place to run you enjoy. I am fortunate to live near a set of bike trails that let me run to downtown and around the lake. Love it. I have several routes around my area of different distance that I can use depending on how I feel that day.
    3) Some people say don’t run with music as many of the organized events do not allow such “performance enhancers”. Which stinks. But, I do run with either music or lately it has been podcasts on topics I enjoy. If I am focused on the conversation and the topic the time seems to fly.
    4) Invest in proper equipment. I made the mistake for years of buying running shoes just off the shelf. I took the time to visit a local running store and get properly fitted and it made a world of difference (no more blisters or missing toenails). The shoes cost a bit more, but they’re worth it.
    5) If you are a numbers person or want to track your progress pick up a running watch. There are several that have built in GPS that are not too expensive and they will track your speed, distance, heart rate, calories, time, elevation change, etc.
    6) Look for running plans as a guide. There are several out there for couch to 5k, 10k, etc. that provide distance milestones etc. that can be used to give you some direction.
    7) Try to have fun. But if you can’t, running might just not be your thing. It’s important to realize that as well.
    8) Something that motivates me when I’m not in the mood for running is to pick up Dean Karnazes’ “Ultramarathon Man” book and read a few chapters. I may never be able to run 100 miles, but I can at least get out and do 3 or 4.

    Hope those are helpful, even if in some small way.

  16. Julie {Angry Julie Monday}

    No great advice from me. I’ve done two half marathons in the past month. I run 4-5 times a week. Honestly, it is the only thing that prevents me from getting extra chubby, and unfortunately it is something that I “have to” do now. It gets a litte better though after time, and then you get a little faster also. But NOTHING feels better than getting that medal after finishing a race! Besides posting all of those awesome post-race Facebook pictures too!

  17. Kait

    Things that help me enjoy running:
    1) my Run, Zombies! App. It’s a story that you listens to about a zombie apocalypse, and you have to run to get away (moving at all is enough to get away). It mixes in your music with the story, so it’s pure awesome.
    2) my Vibram five finger shoes. I tried running in standard shoes and I always feel like I’m sucking wind and that I’m terrible at running. But I am essentially running barefoot with my vibrams, and it’s amazing. You do have to learn a different stride, and I did injure myself at first (to much to soon)… So be aware – there’s an adjustment period. But I love them. I will never run in anything else.
    3)my Under Armor compression Capri shorts. It might seem really dumb, but the slick fabric makes it feel like its easier to get each thigh past the other one. I also love my under armor compression bra. I know we are built differently, but finding an awesome bra for running will make a huge difference.
    4) a tracker. Any way that I can brag after running in twitter, the better. Ha ha.

  18. Jill

    I was YOU a couple mos ago and I am here to say you CAN do this.
    I will pass along the good advice that was given to me when I did my first 5K in Sept:

    Start slow…it will be tempting to run faster than you need / want to simply due to adrenaline. Don’t do it. There is no shame in walking if you need, but don’t be surprised if you jog the whole way due to your training, excitement, etc. I was used to doing a combo of walk / jogging daily of 2.4 miles. Hardly ever jogged the whole way. Did one trial day of 3.6 mi w/out walking and it was easy! Trust me: the excitement will carry you through on race day.

    Tomorrow is not the time for brand new shoes. Stick w/ your old shoes. As a reward for completing my first 5K, I went out to a running store the next day and got fitted for proper attire. It does make a difference! But never break in new shoes on race day.

    Bring your favorite music (go on & plug in your charger, I’ll wait. There. Perfect.).

    If you can, eat a light breakfast. Some carbs…a little protein and you’re set.

    Kind of embarrassing…but if you are a coffee drinker before you race, consider wearing a light pad for protection under your garments. It can be reassuring!

    Relax and have fun; bask in the glory that YOU are doing a 5 freakin’ K on Thanksgiving (!!!) and my, how you rock for that!

    Make sure you get a race memento – a t-shirt, numbered bib, etc. I still have my bib hanging up where I can see it to remind me that I didn’t dream it, I ran it!I If you can, time yourself so you can see how your time improves. I didn’t and wish I had.

    Good luck and let us know how it went!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  19. Katie

    For the mindset, I think you simply have to choose to stop using those words in your mind or out loud. I’m in Utah, and I have always said I hated the cold. This year, I decided to take phrases like “I hate the cold,” “I’m freezing to death”, etc. out of my vocabulary. Every time I think or say something like that, I stop and correct myself, and say something like “it’s rather chilly out here,” or “it is really cold!”

  20. Frogoutofwater

    The best advice I ever got about running was “Run ’til you’re tired; walk ’til you’re bored.”

    It might be that you hate running because you’re pushing yourself too soon to run too much, too fast. I started off as a walker (always liked walking) and I added some very short running intervals because a) it was less hard on my body to alternate between walking and running; and b) it broke up the monotony of long walking sessions. I started with running for 30 seconds every 5 minutes. Because running and walking use slightly different muscle groups, I found that adding a little running was easier on my back, hips, etc. Because I mostly walked and ran just a little, I started to really look forward to the running segments.

    While the Couch-to-5K programs work really well for some people, the progression is too fast for others, including me. I’ve completed two half marathons and more than a dozen other races in 2012, but I still don’t run for 30 minutes straight.

    I very gradually built up the length of my running intervals (over the course of about a year and a half) and the length of my workouts, but even now I don’t run for more than about 5 minutes at a time. (Currently, my intervals are run 5/walk 1 for between 30-90 minutes.)

    Also, although I run regularly, I don’t run frequently because I find that very body parts hurt (back, etc). I’m hypermobile, so I’m prone to over-training injuries. So the most I run is about every 3rd day. The next day I do some other kind of cardio and the day after that I rest. Because I don’t run frequently, I almost always really enjoy it when I do.

    I also have downloaded some good music, and found myself some comfortable and attractive clothes to run in.

    So you might find that you’d like running more if you restrict yourself. (You know how sometimes you want something you can’t have?)

    Why not try a 20-30 minute workout where you run for anywhere between 30 seconds and 3 minutes and then walk for 2-5 minutes? Create a playlist and listen to it only during those workouts. Do that every other day or every 3rd day, combined with some other cardio on other days, for a couple of weeks and see how you feel about progressing further.

  21. Laura

    Try Couch to 5k or Couch to 10k. I started Couch to 10k in September 2011, ran my first 10k in November 2011 and have since run 2 half marathons, 2 10ks and a few 5ks. Now I say why bother if it’s less than 5 miles! It’s a great way to ease in to it and not get discouraged.

  22. Mama Leone

    I used to read your website regularly, haven’t in a while. I just checked back and you look AMAZING. On the running thing. It is 80% mental, 20 % physical. You might want to consider downloading a cadence cd. ( I like the Army Airborne one) . If you are jogging to that and singing along it controls your breathing. You are now focused on repeating the words, which will control your breathing. I hope this makes sense. I see your oldest is in the military of some sort, so maybe he could call some cadence for you, you could record it and it would be like joggin with him. Just a thought.

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