How To Develop An Interest In Running? (Beginner’s Guide)

Now that you’ve decided to begin running, it’s time to figure out how to enjoy it. For many individuals, a taste for running must be acquired. I consulted ultramarathon runner Megan Wotherspoon for assistance with this article. While Megan now enjoys running, this was not always the case.

Let’s dive in and discover how to make it something you actually look forward to.

How to Enjoy Running

You can increase your enjoyment of running by focusing on improving your cardio and strength through activities other than running.

I remember hating running and then spending a month hiking in the mountains. Speed-walking uphill improved my ability to run. One day, I decided to put my newly acquired cardio fitness to the test by running 10 miles nonstop. Prior to this, I don’t believe I had ever run more than a mile.

Not only was I less out of breath, but my negative thoughts shifted to more positive ones, such as “I’m actually enjoying running, and I feel like I could run for a long time!”

The Next Step

Prioritize improving your cardio. This could be accomplished by walking on an incline treadmill, stepper, or stair master at a pace that makes it difficult to carry on a conversation.


As your fitness improves, increase the speed until you can no longer carry on a conversation without becoming too out of breath. Your cardiovascular fitness will improve without the discomfort associated with running. Additionally, you will develop muscular endurance, which will aid your running.

After 3 months, 30-minute sessions per week, test your newfound running ability. Don’t be surprised if you find your first run enjoyable due to your improved cardio fitness.

Once you have developed a solid cardio base, you may want to try high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to advance your running.

Megan Wotherspoon claims that activities other than running, such as high-intensity interval training, cycling, and even yoga, have helped her improve her cardio and strength for her upcoming marathons.

“Varying my training styles prevents boredom and enables me to reach my running and fitness objectives,” says Wotherspoon.

How to Appreciate Running If You Detest It

Most of us dislike activities or subjects in which we believe we are inadequate or know little. It is difficult to enjoy running if you constantly judge yourself with thoughts such as,

  • “Those people can probably tell I’m not a runner.”
  • “Why do I appear so awkward while running?”
  • “Why am I so breathless?”
  • “Why can’t I travel faster?”
  • “I wish I were in better condition!”

If you notice that you have these types of thoughts, you may also be visualizing people laughing at you or judging you while you run.

The Next Step

Next time you go for a run, pay close attention to the thoughts and images that pass through your mind and how they make you feel.

Being conscious of one’s thoughts can provide a starting point for replacing them with more rational and uplifting conclusions. Record the words, images, and other thoughts in a journal.

Megan Wotherspoon, an ultramarathon runner, claims that employing various mental strategies during her runs has helped her stay in the game. Utilizing positive mantras, counting her breaths, and focusing on her strides are a few of her favorite ways to calm her mind while running.

How to Improve Your Running Experience

Take a moment to consider an activity that you perform with relative ease that others wish they were better at.

Possibly you maintain an organized space, make time for reading, are adept at resolving challenging problems at work, and play an instrument well.

When you’re engaged in enjoyable activities, it’s likely that the voice in your head is saying much nicer things.

Put those negative thoughts and images from the previous step through Byron Katie’s inquiry process when it comes to running.

  1. Is this belief accurate?
  2. Is there any way I can demonstrate the veracity of this thought/belief?
  3. How do I feel about this thought/image?
  4. How would I feel if this thought did not exist?
  5. What other empowering thoughts could I transform this one into?

Let’s apply Byron Katie’s method to the following negative thoughts from the previous example.

Those individuals can probably tell that I am not a runner.


Is this belief accurate?

Perhaps – who knows?

Is there any way I can demonstrate that this thought is accurate?

Hmm – No…

I suppose I could ask, but I wouldn’t know if they are telling the truth.

“How does this thought affect my behavior?”

It causes me to feel self-conscious, insecure, and as though I despise running!”

How would I feel if I didn’t have this thought? Who would I be if I didn’t have this thought?

“I would feel calmer and more present. This run might even be enjoyable!”

What alternative thoughts could I have instead of “Those people can probably tell I’m not a runner”?

The Next Step

Create a flash card or print out the above questions. Take them with you on your next run and use Byron Katie’s questions to rid yourself of any negative thoughts that may arise.

Megan Wotherspoon’s second tip for ultrarunners is to think about anything other than running. Megan cites future planning, meal preparation, and problem-solving as effective strategies for enhancing the enjoyment of her runs.

According to Megan, “Sometimes being more present helps me enjoy running, whereas other times it helps to think about almost anything other than to run.”

Ways to Enjoy Running

By enhancing your cardiovascular fitness and reversing some of your negative thoughts, you will be well on your way to enjoying running. Once it becomes a regular part of your routine, endorphins can help you enjoy the activity. You may even begin experiencing runner’s high.

Many of the Six Human Needs are generally satisfied for those who enjoy running. Tony Robbins, a peak performance and life coach, and Cloe Madanes, a therapist, describe the following aspects of psychology:

  • Significance – feeling unique, special, different, or needed
  • Certainty – the knowledge that one can experience pleasant emotions while avoiding unpleasant ones
  • Variety – is the capacity to encounter novel situations, alterations, or stimuli.
  • Connection/Love – Need to feel a sense of closeness, union, or belonging
  • Developing – one’s abilities, skills, or knowledge is growing.
  • Contribution – entails serving or assisting a person, purpose, or cause external to oneself.

Using your six human needs as a guide, you can experiment with ways to enjoy or even love healthy activities, such as running, that you want to engage in more often.

Significance: For instance, most individuals view running as difficult and therefore avoid it. A person who can consistently run will likely feel a sense of significance and uniqueness for having the courage to run in order to achieve their important health and fitness goals.

Certainty: Running can satisfy the need for certainty, for example, by increasing the likelihood of living a long and healthy life.

You could also try combining it with an activity you enjoy. By pairing an activity, such as listening to an addictive audiobook, you can condition your brain to associate running with the certainty that you will enjoy it.

In a randomized, controlled study, researchers discovered that those who listened to an engaging audiobook exercised 51% more frequently than those in the control group.

  • Variety- To satisfy your desire for variety, you may wish to switch up your running routes, audiobooks, and music selections. Why not sign up for a race in a city or region that you have always wished to visit?
  • Connection/Love: Why not run with a friend or within a running group? These groups can be an excellent way to connect with other outdoor enthusiasts seeking more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Consider how running and your improved energy/fitness levels will allow you to enjoy the company of active friends and family members.
  • Growth: Running can provide you with an avenue for unlimited development. Why not run the first mile and see if you can complete five? As you pursue your next goals, treadmills, and fitness watches can help you track your progress with concrete data on your speed, times, and distances.
  • Contribution: It can also help you support a meaningful cause.

For one of her first marathons, Megan Wotherspoon ran to support the Cancer Society after losing a loved one to cancer.


Action step

Take 5-10 minutes right now and make a plan for how you might start to love running by hacking into your six human needs as listed above.

Whether you’re looking to enjoy the company of friends (connection/love), to grow towards your goals (growth), or just know there aren’t many people willing to run in the rain or snow (significance), Megan Wotherspoon has found running meets many of the above needs.

What is Your ‘Why’?

To solidify your commitment to a future love of running, you might want to make yourself a visible reminder such as a poster or journal entry that outlines why you want to run more.

To help get you started, below are some of the science-backed benefits from peer-reviewed research that you might enjoy thanks to running:

  • Running can be beneficial for lowering blood pressure.
  • Endurance Running is an excellent method for decreasing body mass, body fat, and resting heart rate.
  • Want to extend your lifespan? Runners have a reduced risk of premature death by 25–40% and live approximately 3 years longer than non-runners.
  • Interested in losing weight? It’s an excellent way to improve health and reduce body mass index.
  • Enhanced cardiovascular fitness resulting from activities such as running may reduce the risk of heart failure.
  • 15 years later, a follow-up study found that persistent runners had reduced their risk of death from any cause by 29% and from cardiovascular disease by 50%.
  • Not to worry about speed or distance: Researchers discovered that jogging 2-3 times per week for 1-2.5 hours at a moderate or slow pace is optimal for reducing the risk of premature death.

Aside from the research, Megan Wotherspoon enjoys running because she is constantly “meeting new people, getting alone time, and the opportunity to be around friends. Positive endorphins also contribute to the runner’s high! Additionally, running helps me burn off the day’s stresses.

Megan states that she enjoys being outdoors and observing how her body adapts to running. One day it could be extremely sluggish, and the next time it could be much faster.


Despite the fact that running is an acquired taste, there are numerous ways to crack the code and learn to enjoy doing it. If you haven’t already, be sure to read 11 Top Running Tips And Tricks – Don’t skip tip #2!

  • What motivates you to lace up your running shoes and hit the trails?

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