Ways I Learned to Love Running

For all the reasons I used to despise…and mean hate…running—it gave me stitches, it hurt my shins, my shoes were too tight, it darn well hurt every inch of my body for days after—I vowed that I would become a runner, eventually.

I’m sure those of you who didn’t love running the first, second or third week you laced up your sneakers will agree, you have to train yourself to get stoked about runs. Beginner runners often have to proactively prevent a runner’s rut by finding their own personal fun in each run. Here are 10 ways that I (personally) trained myself to love running…

Incorporate Running Rewards

Sometimes a little incentive is all it takes to start off motivated about the more obvious benefits of running. When you’re not stoked about the weight loss and energy gains, something as simple as new sneakers, a new warm up suit, or a weekly massage might be just the thing to start you moving!

Focus on Goals

Aside from your larger running goals, I made a point to set a goal for each individual run. For instance, a benchmark for distance measured by light posts at the pier or a benchmark for speed measured by a stopwatch. Regardless, setting goals helped motivate and challenge me to look forward to improving my daily progress.

Leave Negativity in the Dust

As stated above, I had a whole boatload of reasons why I didn’t want to run and they were all negative. From blisters to shin splints, I’d convinced myself that my body just wasn’t made for running. However, when I left those doubts and negative thoughts in the past, I was finally able to see what my body could do and enjoy the time and exercise that running provided. Things only improved from there.

Run with Music

When running got me down, I made a point to assemble a playlist that could only pick-me-up and get me running. Running to your favorite tunes can draw from a source of amazing energy and tap into your inner rhythm and that extra push of motivation that we all have deep down.

Share Your Progress

Your friends and family want to see you healthy and happy so sharing your running progress with your larger social network can be very motivating. Share your own experiences via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (morning shots on runs are awesome), and blog about your funny, frustrating, and inspiring running stories. The response you get may surprise and motivate you even further.

Take the Scenic Route

I love the outdoors, which is why I started running 5 years ago last spring. And you know what? I can thank my runs for uncovering new trails, parks, outdoor tracks, and waterfronts on foot. In fact, I use my runs to uncover the dirt, gravel, paved, and sandy roads not often taken—otherwise my runs would get boring.

Make Running Your Me-Time

I’m sure you’ve all heard the reasoning behind making exercise a priority by booking it into your daily calendar? I took that theory one step further by giving my runs even greater multi-purpose. I see running as my exercise, yes, but also as my much-deserved me-time, a time for me to unwind, explore my inner and outer self and come back to my life a better, more fulfilled, less stressed individual.

Run Socially

Running can be a lonely activity—that’s if you choose to run alone. I’ve made a point to make running a social endeavor by asking friends to join me on a run.  This way we spend out time catching up and getting some much-needed exercise. We even grab coffee or breakfast after, but it puts a stop to more calorie-laden social events (i.e., going for ice cream or to the movies and scarfing down a bag of popcorn).

Challenge Yourself

Everyone likes a challenge, especially when it’s a challenge of your own personal best. Look at running as a means to improve—with races, triathlons, and even half and full marathons later down the road.  Plus, you can choose to get colorful, muddy, run for a passionate cause, or run as part of a team!

Fantastic Finale

Like starting off with motivation—ending with a nice prize is also very rewarding. Think of what you really crave after a hard, sweaty, breathless run, what is it? For me, it’s a glass of wine or that one girl’s night out that I get each week with the ladies I love. And for me personally, it’s that rewarding destination that really makes running every day worth my while.


Emily Lockhart

Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.