A few weeks ago, you decided to take up running on the recommendation of a friend. You’re burning a good number of calories and you feel healthy but running also leaves you exhausted and sore. You keep waiting to reach the point where you like running, but you worry it will never happen. When will running become enjoyable?
Running becomes more enjoyable when you can run for at least 30 consecutive minutes, which can take up to eight weeks. Once you hit that milestone, the fatigue and body aches from running should decrease, which will make you want to run more often.
In today’s article, we’ll explore the reasons why running isn’t fun for you now as well as how to make it more enjoyable. Whether you’re new to running or you’ve done it for a long time and you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, make sure you keep reading!
Why You’re Not Having Fun Running
Before you can determine what would make running gratifying for you, you need to understand what you’re not enjoying about it. Here are some issues that you might be currently facing.
You Struggle to Keep up with Your Running Group
You decided to join a running group to keep you accountable. You thought everyone in your group was at about the same skill level as you, yet every time you run with them, they leave you behind. They don’t mean to, they just run that much faster than you.
Sometimes your fellow running buddies slow down and give you a chance to catch up, but that just makes you feel worse.
Running Leaves You Feeling Exhausted
It doesn’t seem to matter what time of day you go running, as you’ve tried it all. Every time you wrap up a run, your energy is sapped for the whole rest of the day. A few hours after your run, you can barely keep your eyes open. By nightfall, you’re passed out on the couch before you can even reach your bed.
You know that exercise is supposed to make it easy to sleep, but this seems like something else entirely. You feel sometimes like you’re sleepwalking through your life on the days you go for a run.
You’re Always Sore
Then there’s the pain, of which you feel significant amounts. You’ve stretched and otherwise limbered up before a run ever since you got started, but you still feel achy. Sometimes it happens in the middle of a run, in which case, you need to stop and take a break. Most of the time, your body is stiff and sore after your run, especially the morning after.
You usually have to take a couple of days off to recoup and recover, which then makes you feel like you’re even further behind than everybody else. How come they’re not getting sore to the same degree as you?
You’ve Done It for a While But Aren’t Improving
You’re not a quitter, so you’ve put some time into running. Maybe it’s been a few weeks or longer, but you feel like you’re just not getting any better. There’s the abovementioned issue where everyone is outrunning you. Plus, when you time yourself, your speeds are consistent but not faster than they were a few weeks ago. You feel like you’re doing something wrong, but you’re not quite sure what.
You Aren’t Winning Any Races
You might have decided to sign up for a race, thinking the pressure of the marathon would improve your running speed. You put a lot of time and training into preparing for the race, yet you don’t come close to winning first place or even second or third. You’re somewhere in the middle of the pack or even further back.
The Routine Is Getting Stale
You have certain days of the week where you run, and there’s a path you always use too. Your life is starting to feel like the movie Groundhog Day in that you’re living the same routine day in and day out. You hate to say it, but you’re getting bored of running.
When Will Running Become Enjoyable?
All this begs the question, when does running become more enjoyable? You want to like it and stick with it, but you’re having a hard time maintaining your conviction.
Running will be fun when you make it that way. In the next section, we’ll have plenty of suggestions for increasing your enjoyment of running, so make sure you check it out.
If you feel like you have a skills deficit, then running for you will be more rewarding once you improve at it.
The mistake that many new runners tend to make is thinking that running is easy and that anyone can do it. After all, it’s just walking faster. So when they’re not immediately excellent at running, they get deterred and even quit.
Running is not like walking. If that was the case, everyone would do it. It requires more energy, stamina, speed, and endurance, all of which are in short supply when you first start running. The more you keep at it, the better you will become.
Your first goal is to run nonstop for 30 minutes. Once you can do that comfortably, you’ll find that running should be more enjoyable. You won’t feel achy or out of breath. You should be able to keep up with your running group. You’ll still be tired after your runs, but not so exhausted that you can’t stay awake.
Okay, but how long will it take for you to run for 30 consecutive minutes? That depends on your physical fitness. For some new runners, they can run for 30 minutes with no problem after only two weeks. Many more new runners report it taking upward of eight weeks.
Yes, that’s two months.
Give yourself at least that long. If you’re a relatively young, healthy person, you should be able to reach that milestone in eight weeks.
Tips for Making Your Runs More Fun
As we said in the last section, running is as fun as you make it. If you find that your runs aren’t sparking as much joy in you as you wish they did, here are some tips that will help you rekindle your love for running.
Run Somewhere New
All runners have their trusty and true routes, but the problem with going to the same place all the time is that it gets boring. What’s worse, you’re not pushing your muscles in new ways. You know every turn and curve and bend of the route, so there’s no need to exert yourself.
When you run somewhere new, you’ll be much more alert as you get to know your surroundings. You’ll use your muscles in ways you don’t on a path that you could run on with your eyes closed.
As a word of caution, always make sure that you choose a safe running route whether it’s one you’ve run on a hundred times or a brand-new place. Don’t wear earbuds or headphones, as they can prevent you from hearing someone or something (such as a car or a wild animal) behind you.
Stay alert and don’t run alone. You’re looking for a fun experience, after all, not a terrifying, unsafe one!
Don’t Time Yourself
Runners put a lot of pressure on themselves, especially the ultra-competitive ones. Everyone wants to improve and not only beat their own records, but those of their running buddies. With apps that share running data straight to social media, competition among runners has been fueled even further.
Yet pressure is not fun, so right now, you don’t need it. The next time you go for a run, don’t open the app you always use to time yourself. This isn’t about tracking your steps, your speed, or even the number of calories burnt. It’s just about running.
At first, you’ll feel like you’re wasting a run by not tracking this data. Then somewhere between the first and third mile, you’ll realize how freeing it is to not have that pressure weighing you down.
Go at a Pace That’s Natural for You
You don’t have to try to run like you’re Usain Bolt, especially as a running newbie. You don’t even have to be the fastest person in your running group. Give yourself permission to run at a pace that feels doable for you right now.
Yes, your pace might be slow to start, but here’s the thing. If you keep running, then your pace will naturally begin to get faster as you go. You’ll start passing other people in your running group who used to be able to run circles around you, and it will feel fantastic when you do.
Download a Running Game
If you’re having a hard time making running fun for yourself, you can always rely on a game to do it. Running apps such as Zombies, Go! will immerse you in a zombie-infested world. You need to run away from the ravenous creatures to avoid becoming a zombie yourself.
A game such as Zombies, Go! can transform any running route, even the ones you’ve run on a thousand times, so we highly recommend it. You’ll enjoy yourself so much that you’ll forget you’re even exercising!
Find People You Enjoy Running With
While we always recommend running with at least one other person, it’s okay to reassess your running buddies. If these are people who have far more experience or skills than you, then maybe you don’t want to run with them until you improve. You’ll just feel bad about yourself each time you join them for a run, which could make you want to quit running altogether.
Start your running journey with someone on the same level as you. Together, the two of you can learn more about running, improve at about the same pace, and support each other along the way. Plus, running with a buddy keeps you accountable so you can’t skip too many runs.
For many people, running becomes more enjoyable as they get better at it. Once you can run for 30 consecutive minutes, you’re skilled enough that you should like running a lot more.
Remember to do what you can to make it fun, such as download a running game on your phone or running without tracking your speed.
Above all, be patient with yourself. You won’t become a good runner overnight, but if you’re willing to stay the course, it will happen eventually!