How to Learn to Love Running

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how to learn to run I used to be a person who HATED running. Loathed it. Then about 8 months after I had my second baby, in my postpartum delirium, I decided I was going to start running and I signed up for a half marathon. 13.1 miles for someone who had never even ran one. Crazy. But I did it.

And you know what happened in the course of training for that? Over time I went from hating running to loving it. Something I never thought possible, never dreamed possible! In some ways changed my life.  Because if a person like me could learn how to love running? Well, then the sky is the limit!

How to learn to love running in 10 easy steps (pun intended)

(Of course, always check with your doctor before embarking on a new exercise plan!)


1. Get a good pair of running shoes

Before you do anything, the one investment you should make is a good pair of running shoes. I am a fan of Road Runner Sports in OC. They will do a full analysis on your feet and running stride to make sure you get in a pair of shoes best for you. Plus, you can test their running shoes for up to 90 days and return if you don’t like them. You need a good pair of shoes without question.

2. Get some good music

Music is essential. Load up your phone or iPod with a brand new running songs play list. Songs that make you want to dance or energize you. Ask friends for their recommendations.

3. Sign up for a race

This was also important for me, because if I didn’t have that half marathon looming over my head I would have quit in the beginning. It’s easy so easy to quit because the first few weeks suck. But if you can get over that hump, you will be SO happy you stuck with it.

Find a cause that is important to you, and sign up for their race. I don’t recommend starting with a half marathon! Start with a 5K, then build from there.  The race will be a kick in the butt to get going on some training.

For my Orange County friends, I just registered for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation Run/Walk on Sunday, March 29th in Irvine. Join me on TEAM GAVIN (click link, then click ‘Join Team’ at the top right) to participate in your first race and raise money and support pediatric cancer research.Going to be my 5th year doing this event. It’s awesome.

4. Tell people you are doing a race and ask friends to join you

Accountability is good. Once the cat is out of the bag you are going to do a race, you have to stick with it.  See if you can enlist some other friends to do it with you.

5. Download a training schedule then stick with it

You can go online and Google a ton of “Beginning 5K training schedules” and get a lot of different ones.  I have always used the Hal Higdon Training Plans.  When training, I try to do a minimum of 2 runs doing the week, then one long run on the weekend.

6. The first 6 – 8 runs are hard – don’t give up!

In the beginning, your body will not like it! I remember my side cramping, and feeling like I was going to throw up some days.

But when you keep running, your body will rise up to meet you, and you will be AMAZED at how quickly your body will assimilate and get stronger in a short amount of time.

If you have not been active, take your time to ease into it.  Start with regular walks, then work up to a slow jog.  If you are active, but not a runner, start with run/walks.

On my first run ever, I tried to run for 1 minute, then walked for 1 minute.  As I got better, I tried to run for the length of a song, then walked for a minute, then ran for a length of another song, etc. And pretty soon my need to walk went away, and I could run the entire workout.

And don’t worry about how slow you are!!! I am really slow – I don’t care – just the fact I am doing it is reason to celebrate!

7. Embrace the first “I didn’t actually HATE that” run!

After a few weeks, you will go on a run that makes you feel like, wow, I didn’t hate it! Then you get a little bit of a runner’s high knowing you achieved this and actually felt good on your run. Hang in there until you experience this run. After that, you will be hooked because you know it’s possible.  Every run will not be a good one, but just the fact that it is possible to have a run and feel good will keep you going.

8. Plan your runs for the week on Sunday nights

You have to schedule your runs like you would a doctor’s appointment. Find the best time of day to run for you (for me it’s first thing in the AM, otherwise I feel wiped out from the day if I do later) and schedule in your 2 -3 weekday runs and what day on the weekend you are going to do your long run.

Then, print out a training schedule calendar and write down your distances or for how long you are going to run on your calendar. Put that calendar up where you can see it, and check it off when you are done.

9. Be smart about hydration and nutrition 

Your body needs to be properly hydrated and fueled to run – make sure to do some research online about how much you should be drinking before, during and after, along with nutrition suggestions for the best pre and post workout foods.

10. Celebrate your first finished race!

Come race day, you will be so excited that you finished a race.  Nothing compares to the sheer joy and energy of doing a race.  The people, the excitement, it’s really something everyone in this lifetime should experience.  Then when you cross that finish line, you will feel SO GOOD. You did it!

Now, the only question left will be, what’s your next race?


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  1. 1
    christy says:

    LOVE this blog!! Especially because I used to hate running, too! Even though I’ll never be fast, even though I still struggle at times, I’ve come to love running, and actually look forward to it. Good for you for trying something new and embracing it – proud of you and all of your running accomplishments!

  2. 2
    Suzanne says:

    I am Jen’s sister and she got me into running. I had a serious mental block. I had never run a mile since the 8th grade! The boys made fun of my bouncing and it pretty much stuck with me. I told Jen I couldn’t even go a mile and she took me with her and I did TWO. The trick is to start slow and commit to a training program. I’ve never seen any exercise get my legs and whole body so strong so fast. 3 weeks and I felt like I had a new body. And the endorphins have seriously helped my anxiety and stress levels. If I can do it, seriously…anyone can!

  3. 3
    Suzanne says:

    I have to say too that a good App/Fitness band has made a world of difference for me too. I can visually see the miles, steps and heart rate. I LOVE this Fitbit Charge HR. Here’s the Amazon link : (affiliate). I also love MapMyRun which is free. With GPS it can track your mileage, cheer you on and post to your Facebook so your friends can motivate you and cheer you on.

  4. 4
    Jen says:

    I love that others have also gone from running haters to lovers! Now that I know the joy of running i feel like I want everyone to experience it!

  5. 5
    Genise says:

    I am also signed up on Team Gavin! See you there! Great running tips.

    • 6
      jen says:

      YAY Genise!!! Is this your 5th year too? I remember your name from our original Team Tiny Oranges! What race are you running?

  6. 7
    Genise says:

    Sorry for the late reply, but I am signed up for the 10k, although I’m thinking of switching to the 5K so my 7 year old son can run with me. I was on the original Team Tiny Oranges – so fun! I haven’t been to the event since then, but I want to make this an annual tradition. I love this race and it’s for such a great cause! See you there!

    • 8
      jen says:

      Genise, you are amazing!!! Good luck and hope to see you there!

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