Body

How to enjoy running even if you think you hate it

Contrary to popular belief, running training actually involves starting off slow, buying the right (hello, stylish) gym gear and socialising. Sign. Us. Up.

By Ellie McDonald
Gwyneth Paltrow running

If your idea of going for a run is the ~panicked~ chasing-your-bus-down-the-street sprint you do every other day, it's fair to assume that running isn't exactly your exercise of choice.

But even though you may've heard that lacing up your sneakers for an-around-the-block jog can alleviate stress and boost your mood, running can also help you improve different areas of your fitness that will pay dividends down the track.

“For someone just starting out on their fitness journey, running will help increase cardio fitness, which will benefit in all training,” says Nike+ Run Club coach Matty Abel.

The key is to take things slow (yes, slow) and set goals you can and actually want to achieve.

Starting with...

1. Making running social

Know this: You’ll be less likely to ditch a run if you’ve made a date of it with your friends.

“They hold you accountable and also a little competition can really add motivation to your training,” Abel explains.

2. Starting slow

Making us all feel OK about the fact we may or may not get short of breath running up a set of stairs, Abel says that running doesn't necessarily come easy for all of us, so take small steps.

"For beginners, I would definitely recommend running at a conversation pace. This will train you up to become comfortable at running but also reduce the risk of becoming injured," he says.

"For my clients, I like to use music as a motivator. I have them running for two songs then walking for 1 song and eventually we increase the duration of their runs with more songs."

"I have them running for two songs then walking for 1 song and eventually we increase the duration of their runs with more songs."

3. Not going for a run (at least for a day)

Sometimes, in pursuit of reaching our personal best, it can be tempting to exercise excessively.

Although, as Abel reminds us, it is vital that you stretch and cool down after your run as "this will ensure you avoid any soreness the next day and of course, reduce the risk of injuries".

"I'm a big fan of foam rollers as they help after any exercise session," Abel explains. "They will help to improve circulation and break down any scar tissue."

"Love your body and it will love you back."

Reese Witherspoon is a long-time runner, and is often seen chatting, ahem, running alongside her friends.
Reese Witherspoon is a long-time runner, and is often seen chatting, ahem, running alongside her friends.

4. Get the right gear

If, like us, you get satisfaction out of lounging around in they-still-have-that-new-smell activewear, then it’ll come as a pleasant, fashletic surprise that buying new gym gear will propel your running training.

Sure, "enclothed cognition" is a thing - a thing that means we, as humans, can be directly affected by the clothing we wear - but as Abel tells us, picking the perfect pair of sneakers can take you from zero to running hero.

"It’s important to feel comfortable on your run as it’ll set you up to hit your targets and go that extra mile."Permission to exercise some serious credit cardio...

5. Tracking your progress and setting targets you can hit

As Abel tells us, it’s not about being able to smash out a 5K run with no breaks three days after starting your training. Set mini goals for yourself each week that are achievable and measurable.

“For example, that might be running to the next telegraph pole or 100m extra on your run,” he says.

Not only that but using a running app that records every detail, pace, distance and route you run will motivate you to push yourself harder.

Abel's favourite? The Nike+ Run Club app.

"The Nike+ Run Club app is like a mini personal trainer in your pocket - it's fantastic,” Abel tells us.

If you want to change your workout routine in any way, be sure to chat to a personal trainer first.