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  • Writer's pictureKeira Waddell

How to Become a Runner (Even If You Hate Running)

So many people tell me how they’ve written off running completely after their first try (or even before). To be honest, I understand why. I remember my first few runs… gasping for air after the first half a kilometre, the impending stiches, the sore… everything, the shin splints, feeling like everyone and their dog were judging me on my lack of form and speed.

But, I stuck with it using some of the below techniques, and now I find it difficult NOT to run every day. It really does become addictive, and there is nothing like that rush of endorphins post run. So, here’s my top tips on how to become a runner, even if you believe you hate running.

1. Buy some new running gear.

There are two reasons that it will help you become a runner. Number one: you’ll be more likely to use the new things you’ve bought if you’ve actually spent some hard-earned money on them. Buying some cool running clothes that you feel good in will encourage you to put them on and get out and hit the tracks (it doesn’t matter if you’re a great runner, as long as you feel good doing it). Number 2: it's really important to get good-quality running gear — especially trainers. If you’re feeling sore after a run (especially in your knees or ankles), it could be a sign that you need new trainers. Do some research online to find the pair that suits you best, but the easiest way is to get a professional opinion by going to specialised store where someone can watch you running a recommend what you need.

2. Make a running playlist.

This was one of the best things I did when I started running. At first, I’d look forward to hearing my favourite music more than the actual run itself. Having that distraction while running is a great way to stop focusing on the difficultly of the run (and over time, it will get easier and easier, I promise). It will also stop you feeling bored while you’re running. It’s also a good idea to choose music with a good tempo — although I find changes in tempo to be quite beneficial too. You can get pre-made playlists on Spotify for different genres and tempos, but I think that choosing your own music, which you will be less like to skip through, will lead to a better-quality run as you won’t be stopping to look at your phone so much.

3. Change up your route.

It’s normal to have a favourite route, and it’s a good idea to keep doing the same routes to keep track of your progress; you’ll notice you get faster and find the difficult parts easier. But you will, without a doubt, get bored of running the same route all of the time. The boredom and monotony will lead to lack of motivation, and ultimately, you’ll end up bailing on your runs. So, don’t let yourself get bored and change it up! Apps like Strava are good for finding running routes completed and recommended by other runners.

4. Don’t focus too much on your speed.

Are you hoping to take part in the next Olympics or come first in a huge race? No? Well then, your running speed does not matter. I cannot stress this one enough. Many people feel like they’re just ‘not good runners’ because they focus too much on comparing their speed to other people. Everyone is different. Some people love sprinting, competing with themselves or others to beat their records. Others prefer running longer distances and not focusing too much on their speed. While it is sometimes good to have a little competition, focusing on this too much will definitely leave you feeling disheartened and unmotivated. Your speed will, without doubt, improve over time and pushing yourself too hard could lead to injuries where you may have to hang up your running shoes for a while (or forever if you never liked running much in the first place).

5. Get a running buddy.

I can’t vouch for this one myself — I’m definitely a solo runner. But many people find it helpful to have a partner while they run. Firstly, making a point of setting a time and date with someone will make you more likely to stick to it if you don’t want to let them down. Secondly, you’ll realise that you’re not the only one who finds taking up running is difficult — you can share your experiences and tips with others and start feeling a little better about your progress. If your friends and family don’t want to run with you, you can speak to people online, or even a friend who lives far away. You don’t need to physically run together, you can still share your progress with them and motivate each other. You could also listen to a podcast while you run if you like the idea of hearing conversation while working out.

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