How to Start Running Even If You Hate It

how to start running

As hybrid athletes, we embrace both strength and endurance training.

While endurance training can be made up of running, cycling, and swimming, running is arguably the most accessible and common form of cardio. It’s also a great way to get into shape and build stamina quickly.

Like black coffee, beer, and sushi, running is an acquired taste. It’s not something most people initially love—it takes time to develop an appreciation for it.

The benefits of running are transformative. Not only does it improve overall physical health, but studies have found a link to increased happiness. The endorphin rush during exercise is as powerful as any antidepressant.

Despite such benefits, only 15% of Americans participate in some form of running or jogging. For new runners, there tends to be a misconception that running has to be punishing if it’s going to be effective.

In reality, the opposite is true. It may seem boring, tiring, and painful, but once the fear of starting fades away, it’s enjoyable.

So how do you get to that place?

Fortunately, falling in love with running isn’t as hard as you think.

Plus, you only need a good pair of running shoes and a positive attitude to get started.

Here are tips on how to start running, even if you’re not a fan (yet). Follow these, and you’ll be running your first half-marathon in no time.

Start Small

All too often, new runners start by going as hard or as far as they can.
You wouldn’t step into the gym and try to rep 225 lbs on the bench press on day 1 – would you? Of course not!
The same goes for running. Start small, at a comfortable pace, and build up slowly.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Nor will your endurance levels.

Embrace Zone 2 Cardio

When starting to run, embrace Zone 2 cardio. In Zone 2, you should feel in control of your breathing—not huffing and puffing and feel as if you can have a conversation.

If you can monitor your heart rate with an Apple Watch or Garmin Heart Rate monitor, the goal is to keep your heart below your maximum heart rate.

The formula for your maximum heart rate is 180 – Your Age.

Example: If you are 30 years old, try to keep your heart rate below 150.

The reason why Zone 2 builds such a good foundation for running is that it helps build mitochondrial density. It trains your body to use oxygen and burn fat more effectively without the need for supplements like Gus and tablets during a run.

Lastly, as you begin running longer distances, it’s important to make sure your running form is correct. If your form isn’t correct, it can lead to injuries and decreased performance.


Interval training, or alternating walking and running for short bouts, is one of the most underutilized strategies to improve running performance.

When you start running, try the “run-walk-run-walk” approach, where you alternate periods of running and walk breaks. Over the first few weeks, you will build endurance and form the mental habit of running without feeling overwhelmed or intimidated.

As endurance levels increase, extend the running periods and reduce walking periods. This will help you reach longer distances and faster speeds as you become more comfortable with the activity.

Not enough beginners take the crawl-walk-run approach to running and instead jump into it full-force, leading to an unhappy experience.

Lastly, enjoy the slow runs – they bring peace of mind. Focus on your running form and steady breathing, and as long as you are comfortable, running can be a great way to relax and let go of stress.

Sign up for a race

When feeling uninspired, the first thing to do is sign up for a race.

Whether it’s a 5K, 10K, a spartan race, a half marathon, or a full marathon, training and preparing for an event gets you out there regularly.

Find a race in your area, and register right away. You can use a website like Running in the USA, which offers a comprehensive list of races across the country by state.

Then, choose a proper plan to scale your training sessions according to the race date.

Racing is a great way to stay motivated and gain confidence in your running. It’s also an excellent way to bond with friends or other runners, giving you something to look forward to while training.

Plus, nothing will beat the adrenaline rush and pride you feel crossing the finish line.

So, sign up for a race and go for it!

Find a running partner or join a run club

Humans are social animals, and there’s nothing like the running community. You will meet extraordinary people from all walks of life, and the benefits of a community go beyond the pure running aspect.

You’ll make new friends, share stories and experiences, and explore nature with others. Most runners are extremely supportive and friendly.

Like any other sport, running is more enjoyable when done with others. A running coach, partner, or group or joining a run club keeps you motivated and accountable for your runs.

They may also provide valuable advice on proper running form, share experiences with running shoes, and discuss their training plan.

Finding someone who shares the same goals makes it easier to stay motivated to run when feeling unmotivated, and make sure you choose someone who you are comfortable with and can rely on to stay consistent.

You can also join a local running club or group. Many cities have these available, allowing you to meet new people and explore different routes with them.

The Road Runners Club of America has tools to find local groups, events, and clubs to join, while apps like Strava can connect you to virtual communities and clubs.

At VTLZR, we strive to provide our members with an active and engaged hybrid athlete community, giving you the chance to connect with others who are challenging themselves and pushing boundaries.

Join our community today at to join us to attend local events and connect with hybrid athletes and runners in your area.

Plan your runs in advance

Making the time to run can be difficult when you have a busy schedule. Planning a weekly running schedule and sticking to a routine can help keep you on track and keep your running routine consistent.

Like any fitness goal, a training plan is a major factor in success. Set aside specific days for running and create a new running routine that outlines the type of run, duration, distance, intensity, etc. This will ensure you’re getting the most out of each run and staying consistent.

Schedule them into your day like any other appointment or task – this will reduce the chance of making excuses not to run.

Find the right gear for you

Having the right gear can make a big difference to your running experience. It can help you stay protected from the elements, improve performance, and minimize discomfort or pain while running.

You don’t have to break the bank for these items, but it’s important to invest in quality apparel and footwear that fits comfortably and supports your body.

Some of the most important gear includes:

  • Running Shoes
  • Socks
  • Shorts/Compression
  • Tops
  • Accessories (headwear, gloves, sunglasses, packs)

By visiting a local Fleet Feet shop, you can have the length, width, and arch height of your feet measured to find the ideal sizes for running shoes and socks that will provide you with the best cushioning, comfort, and support based on your goals.

Your running apparel should be comfortable, moisture-wicking, and breathable. The right running gear can make your experience more enjoyable and help you stay focused on your running goals.

Give yourself the fuel to succeed

Great running shoes can only help you if your body has the right nutrition to fuel your efforts.

Staying hydrated throughout your workout is essential; aim for two to three liters of water a day, and sip on sports drinks or electrolytes before, during, and after running.

Good nutrition is essential for anyone looking to start running. Eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet will help you stay energized and improve performance, making the overall experience more enjoyable.

Eating foods that contain easily digestible carbohydrates like bagels, oatmeal, bananas, and energy bars an hour to two hours before your run will provide a quick source of fuel that helps your body perform.

Listen to your body

In addition to food, it’s important to push yourself, but paying attention to your body and recognizing when it needs rest is critical.

Soreness, fatigue, and an elevated heart rate are all signs that you should take a break or reduce the intensity of your activity for a while. It doesn’t matter how quickly you can finish a run if your body is too worn out to make it to the finish line.

Get out there and hit the pavement

Running is one of the most rewarding activities you do, physically and mentally. It’s a fantastic way to get in shape, stay active, and feel healthier and happier.

Whether you’re running for a competition or health benefits, these tips will help you fall in love with the sport.

Invest in the right shoes and clothing, fuel your body properly, and take it slow. With time, you’ll be amazed by the progress you can make.

Once you get out there and start running, the love affair will begin, and soon, you’ll hit your first 5K, 10K, half marathon, and maybe even a marathon.

Happy running!

Have any questions?

Email or visit the website for more information on running and nutrition tips, upcoming races, training programs, and much more.

We want YOU to be part of the VTLZR community and embrace the power of hybrid athlete training.

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