I really fucking hate running. There, I said it.
It’s just so hard, and to quote one of my Fabulous YOU ladies, I’m as slow as a turtle running through peanut butter. Every single step feels laboured and there’s very little about the experience to enjoy.
It wasn’t always this way, a couple of years ago I started running for the first time ever and actually started to enjoy it. I did the Great North Run twice and the Great North 10k. I got injured couple of times, but I was addicted to that running high. Seeing myself run longer and faster (and as it happens, my body get skinnier and skinner) was a rush I’m sure could rival any illegal drug. I was actually reasonably good at it with average pace of between 8-9 minute miles. Having once been so much better does make it harder when you are so far behind where you once were.
So if I hate running so much, why the heck am I doing it? Good question! There’s plenty of other forms of exercise you can do to stay fit and healthy after all.
I guess the answer is that I made a commitment to do the Great North Run one last time so I could raise money for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund after what we went through with Finley. While we awaited his operation it was one small thing we felt we could do to stay focused on a positive outcome. I actually visualised myself doing the run and crossing the line to run and hug my little healthy one year old, and now #TeamFinley is ready for action.
Thinking back now I must have been cra-zy to think I could train for a half marathon while taking care of a child that will only sleep in 4 hour stretches on a good night. I’ve come so close to just giving up, and it’s took James really giving me some tough love to keep me going. I’m just at the start of a basic half marathon training plan with my furthest distance 2.4 miles. The thought of running 10 miles is completely inconceivable to me right now, but by god I’ll do it. I have given myself some slack and I’m not going to do the Newcastle Stampede 10k in October because by the time the GNR rolls round in September I will be DONE.
The reason I’m posting this is because running can be so idolised in the blogging / social media world. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with running, loving it and sharing that love, I just think that sometimes it’s good to know that there’s someone else that detests running as much as you, so if you are that person, I understand your pain!
So here is a reminder, if you don’t enjoy running, do something else! There are loads of different forms of exercise to choose from, pick one (or more!) that you love. I fully intend to never run again (except for a fun run or something similar) after I’ve done these races I have coming up. NOTE TO SELF!
I’m hoping that the badass feeling you get after running will eventually kick in, but until then I’ve been doing some things in an attempt to make it more enjoyable:
- Walk – if I need to walk, I’ll stop and walk
- Podcasts – The High Tea Cast, Lucky Bitch, Balanced Bites are my current faves
- Doing it as a team – James is so much speedier than me (damn his long legs!) but knowing that not only he, but my Dad and bro and sis in law are all doing it too is very encouraging!
- Totally awesome playlists – David Guetta, Daft Punk and Rihanna all do it for me when I’m running
- New workout clothes – something to make me feel like a gazelle please
- The promise of a regular slice of cake each week once I’m doing over 3 miles – yes I reward myself with food, this situation demands it! ;-)
Unlike previous GNRs, this time I have no desire to run a sub 2 hour, or indeed any kind of time goal. Finishing the line in one piece will be good enough for me!
Are you a fan of running? Have you ever set yourself up to do something where you’ve really had to push through the pain? Is there anything in life where you’ve done better at in the past and have had to face it again?
Ah keep at it Laura, I admire your determination here! I am in a weird place with running at the moment. I started to wonder if I was REALLY that into running and races or if I was just doing it to keep with with my fellow bloggers! I decided the trick was to slow down (no need to run 7.30-8 min miles!!) and to only go for half an hour. Parkruns are great because they’re not a race and they’re outside in a park – which is the bit I love anyway! So that’s working for me at the moment. I’m just going running twice a week in the morning so it’s lovely and quiet and when it’s sunny, it’s just gorgeous. I’m mixing it up with yoga and have started some Pliates too, and walking. It’s a much calmer way of exercising! And I’m not signing up to any races, although I keep getting tempted :) Lx
Thanks Lou! We have registered for parkrun now, so hopefully that will help make it more fun!
Totally agree with running with a group i started couch to 5k on my own and got so far then hit a wall, running with a local running group has brought me on so far and as well as what the running brings me…health, fitness, stamina, personal achievement i have a new group of fabulous friends.
Good luck with the half marathon, i am considering one :)
Thanks Hazel, it sounds like you should definitely try a half! I’ve always felt a little intimidated with the idea of a running club but perhaps I should just try one :-)
Hi Laura – I’m so glad you posted this! I have such a love/hate relationship with running. I’ve only been doing it on and off (mostly off) for two years and I go through such peaks and troughs! I was a complete beginner and stuck out a couch-to-5K plan and felt so good then I got distracted with life/moving/new job and didn’t do any for ages, then last year I completed my first ever race, the Leeds Abbey Dash 10K, on the back of a knee injury (high-heel/drinks/cobbled street inflicted) and despite that really enjoyed it. But since letting my knee heal I have struggled so much to get back into it! I’m glad to see someone else feels like me, everyone else I know seems to love it so much! I plan to carry on (because its free) and I really find it the easiest exercise to fit into a busy life but now I’m trying not to beat myself up every time I have a tough one and I have started yoga and I’m really enjoying it as an alternative on a non run day! I love you’re blog – thanks – and keep posting!
Well done on your 10k Jessica! Glad that you enjoyed it despite all of those set backs. I think you have a great point about how easy it is to fit into a busy lifestyle, that’s probably the only thing that would keep me at it! Glad that you could relate to the post though!
Hahah, this is exactly what I was going through when readying myself for my 10k a couple of years ago. By 2 months into training I swore off running EVER AGAIN afterwards. If I hadn’t raised so much money for my charity it really wouldn’t have been worth it!
That said, I do run now but only for fun. No trackers, no distance, no timers, just fun. That I do like.
Keep focussed! x
Thanks Alex, glad I’m not the only one to go through something like this! I think running on your own terms is so different to training for a race. I’ll probably feel completely different about it this time next year!
I totally get this, I am almost finished couch to 5k, before I started I couldn’t run for a bus, now I can, but when I return from a run and my husband says ‘doesn’t it make you feel alive?’ I can’t agree with him, it makes me feel pain! This said, I think having a cause you can really get behind is a huge motivator and CHUF is one amazing cause, run mama run!
Well done, that’s great that you’ve improved your running! Yep, it’s a pretty good cause to get me out on the streets and at it again!
I signed up to do a half marathon when my daughter was about 4 months old – I was trying to do something that would make me feel ‘normal’ again and thought that would be a good idea but like Finley, Charlie was still sleeping poorly and I was so tired – it was just way too much pressure trying to do the race training! So I ended up selling my entry and taking the pressure off. I felt stink at the time but then the following year I ended up taking up someone else’s entry and doing the half marathon and had an amazing time – I got my running mojo back! Sometimes I think we just need to be kind to ourselves, but that said, don’t write off running forever – sometimes you just need to focus on different things in life! Good luck with the training – I’m sure that knowing you are running for such a good cause will give you a real sense of satisfaction and achievement x
It sounds like you made the right decision Bron, honestly if I felt I could I’d be doing the same thing and obviously you did it the next year really well! I’m wondering if my mojo might reappear, we shall see!
Well done you for being honest! Your an inspiration carrying on for a good cause! Good luck with the training and marathon I’m sure you will make Finley proud x
This is so refreshing to read! I also fucking hate running.
I’ve tried running outside, on a treadmill at the gym, with other people, on a treadmill in my own spare room! And still, just hate it. I much prefer going on long walks, using my indoor bike and strength training.
What works for some people won’t work for everyone, but I agree that sometimes in the healthy-living blog world running seems like the be all and end all. Never mind, we’ll let them have their run and we’ll have our own!
Haha thanks Sarah! Yep I think we can have our own exercise loves instead :-)
I hear ya! Running is not my hobby eihter, so I stick to other forms of exercise like the Elliptical trainer, bike rides and walking. Works just fine for me!
Sounds good to me Judy!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with not enjoying running. Hell, I hate running at times! I hated it on Sunday when I did my long run – I was miserable, I wanted to stop and felt rubbish afterwards. Believe me, I don’t jump out of bed in the morning when I’ve planned to go running at stupid o’clock and go “wow I just LOVE this!”. Running is hard work, it takes mental and physical effort. At times it’s boring or I’m really not up for it.
That said, I do love running in general. Certain runs I feel that rush of adrenaline and freedom and vigor, when I’ve had a good parkrun or a good race and just feel accomplished at the end….or just being with my running club and running with them makes things fun. I know some runs will suck and some will be good. I think as long as you keep your goal in mind and find those ways to make running worth it to you then that’s all that matters. You have a fantastic reason to do it, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be all flowers and rainbows – but the achievement at the end will be awesome! I hope it gets better for you!
I’ve always liked that you’ve said that you don’t always love running, I think that’s part of it all, knowing that there will be highs and lows. As you say the achievement I’ll feel at the end will be worth it, eyes on the prize!
Love this – running is a bit idolised. I love running but had to stop a while ago due to injury and although I do miss it I am glad as now I get to enjoy a greater variety of exercise and movement and am stronger than ever. Just think in Oct no more running;)
I know, roll on October, I’ll be celebrating big style when I get to the finish line!
I totally get where you’re coming from, I’ve been feeling really similar with running. I just did the Bristol 10k and that felt much better than I thought, especially considering the amount of swearing/pain and hating every second of a few 5k runs before it.
Having a dog has made me realise that running is by no means the be all and end all. My body LOVES walking, especially if I throw in the odd squat (down for a ball), heavy lift (dog/heavy stick) and sprint (to chase dog) – it hasn’t felt this good in a very long time.
You are going to rock this half marathon whatever your time! Just donated – hope you smash your target :)
Thanks so much Claire, that’s so kind of you to donate!! My body definitely loves walking, short bouts of intense exercise and strength training. I think taking care of a dog is loads of exercise as you say! Hopefully we will smash out target, I know I’ll definitely be getting across that finish line no matter what!
Oh no. As a running addict, this makes me sad!
But I absolutely understand where you are coming from. Running isn’t for everybody, and it is incredibly hard starting from scratch again when you know what you were once capable of. Best bet would be to see if you had any friends willing to train with you. Free parkruns on a Saturday morning are great as well. Keep it fun!
Sometimes, I’m really not in the mood to run on my own, but a nice gossipy catch up with a mate whilst heading out on a run followed by the cake I then feel like I’ve earned helps me find my love for running again!
We have gone and registered for parkrun so no excuses now! Definitely liking the followed by cake thing!
I love your honesty. I remember back when I started running and you were really into it – definitely an inspiration for me at the start of my running journey but I definitely don’t think that running or loving running is necessary to being healthy. I got to a really good place with running earlier this year with the marathon and since have been feeling really unmotivated about it, I enjoyed the training but now have no motivation or desire to run despite having more races lined up! I figure that as long as I’m doing some sort of exercise that’s fine and that running will always be something I’ll do but that my love for it will be a bit up and down?! I guess my main frustration at the moment is that I’m STILL not any faster than I was four years ago despite feeling that I should be. Running is hard work and I have so much respect for you fitting it in with your own business and a baby! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the actual day of the GNR as the atmosphere at events like that is always awesome! x
Thanks Lily! I think it is natural for the love of it to come and go, but you are totally amazing doing all the running you do! Yep I’m sure that the GNR day and atmosphere will get me through no matter what. I’ll probably start looking forward to it more in a couple of months…I hope! ;-)
Well you know what I am going to say!
But I had to stop running when I was waiting for my op, and then starting again after I was back to square one, wondering if I would even manage a 5k again. And in fact, the GNR was my comeback race, and I remember standing in the starter pen (for all that time!!) trying to hold back the tears because I really felt like I was starting something that I didn’t know if I was capable of finishing. I think you need to trust in the training- I remember even when I first started- a 5k seemed impossible, and each week the jump up (eg from 3 min runs to 5 min runs) seemed so hard, but each week I managed it. I think your body will surprise you with what it is capable of. And of course in those tough times, just think about the sponsorship and what that means to other families in similar situations.
Towards the end of marathon training I was feeling so drained and shattered- doing an 8 mile run after a full day at work (and with work to do in the evenings too) was a bit overwhelming and I did lose my enthusiasm for running, but of course that day was worth it. But for me, long distance runs like that are for once in a few years- no way was I signing up for 2016! Half marathons are my way forwards.
I think others have commented about joining a club- it sounds scary but maybe it is what you need. Or someone was telling me about run mummy run (a facebook page- I am no mummy so haven’t looked)- they do virtual races and things- might help with motivation a bit. The club I have joined is honestly the most supportive atmosphere, and so many people are new to running, but the experienced runners are just so encouraging.
Also, parkruns (lower case, one word ;) ) are just brilliant- seriously. There is no pressure, and seeing people volunteer week in, week out, and seeing little children run them, and very elderly people, and everyone of all shapes and sizes just shows you how good the running community really is. It’s not about time (well, it can be), it’s about getting out in the fresh air. Most events now have tail runners (I was one the other week) and so you could (if your local course was OK for pushchairs) push Finley around it as tail runner (because it is pretty much walking around) to see the route, and to see how it all works.
I also like the sound of the cake! A good plan indeed! :)
I hope that your struggles become less- hopefully you will get a bit more sleep, and as your body remembers it will get easier too. xx
Haha I was waiting for you to comment! Thanks so much for your kind words of advice, so so helpful. I think you’ve nailed it when you say trust in the training. I did 3 miles today and only had to stop for a 30 second walk once. That in itself is more than I thought I’d be capable of at this point so perhaps I just need to have a little more faith. As I just said on your post we are all registered for parkrun so I’m very confident we’ll be doing our first one very soon, I’m actually looking forward to it!
Great post Laura! It takes a lot of guts to write what you just wrote having been s marathon runner before & our complete glorification of running in the blogging world! They make it out to be so easy & I think for curvier women it’s not as “natural” as it may be for lean beans athletic figures. I tried my hand at training and completing a 5k and liked the accomplishments factor more than anything else but when given the choice I very rarely run since!! I have fallen in love with strength training and lifting heavy weights and it’s an amazing feeling to not.only look forward to working out but enjoying it during it ANd afterwards! I now get that u should do things u enjoy!! Best of luck for the great north run keep going u will do great!! Love Grace xxx
Thanks Grace :-) I think you are absolutely right about it not being a form of exercise that comes quite as naturally to curvier women as it does to leaner ladies. I completely agree you should enjoy exercise at every stage, I’m looking forward to getting back to that in the autumn :-)
Oh that was so refreshing to read! Running really is not for everyone – and as much as I’ve tried to convince myself in the past, it really isn’t for me. That said, I do get it. I understand it – the runners high – but I don’t feel it. Yes, I do once in a blue moon decide to do some sprints/walks (or, a ralk) to the gym when I feel particularly bouncy. It’s about a mile, and that’s literally enough for me.
What I admire is the fact that you’re doing this for the reason of charity – not for glory, personal bests or the sheer love of running – and that’s what makes it all the more commendable. I might have missed it but have you got/shared a donations page?
Thanks Cat! Obviously I used to get that wonderful runners high but nowadays it’s gone, probably stollen by my tiredness! Yes we have a Team Finley page! justgiving.com/teamfinleyagarwilson
Thanks again for your honesty!! I got really into running a couple of years ago and completed 2 half-marathons and 2 10Ks over the course of a year. I moved to Vietnam for a year and running was impossible out there due to the humidity, pollution etc. When I got back to the UK last year I was so happy to be able to run again. After about 2 months though I sustained a really bad hamstring injury which STILL hasn’t healed. I’ve been seeing an osteopath/ accupuncturist and she says the real problem was my back, which had suffered with all the running and that had a knock on effect on my leg. So I haven’t been able to run since November. At first this frustrated me so much, but it did lead me to joining an amazing yoga studio in Oxford and now I go to classes about 3 times a week and love it. If I do get back into running, I won’t be signing up for any races (or max 10k). The osteopath I see says only about 1 in 1000 people have good running form! She says a max of 2 runs of 30 mins/ week is ideal for most people (although obviously this depends!!!). For me I think the issue was going from not running much to running a lot in quite a short space of time, lesson learnt. I will be so happy when I can actually run again though, I love running in the outside. I might try these Park Runs they sound good.
Well done on your halfs and 10ks! Sorry to hear about that injury, that is something I’m worried about as I got injured the last time I trained for the GNR, both times! The parkruns do sound good, I think I’ll be keeping my training as low level as possible while still giving me enough confidence I can cross the finish line, even if I walk half the way! Oh and how lovely to have a yoga studio so close by :-)
Ooh Rachael, do you go to YogaVenue in Oxford by any chance? I go there too! It’s great :)
Yes I do, it’s great! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog btw especially since it’s Oxford based! :)
I love running, but I totally understand that it’s not for everyone, and I’ve always said if you don’t enjoy something then don’t do it. Massive respect for signing up for such a great cause, keep positive with it and think how amazing it will feel when you cross that finish line!
Huff!! I thought I was the only one who hated running .. But I really admire you signing up for a cause and striving to fulfill it.