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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCU chapter.

I’m running my first half marathon in a week from writing this article. I’ve been running consistently for around six years now, and I was a state-medalist distance runner in high school. I get restless if I go too long without going for a run. If I’m having a bad day, I choose to go for a run because I know it’ll make me feel better. On Sundays, I forgo sleeping in so that I can go for a two-hour-long run.

I proudly call myself a runner and love to boast how important it is to my life, but allow me to let you in on a little secret — I used to hate running. Absolutely hated it. But here’s the good news, if you have ambitions of entering your runner-girl era but it feels absolutely impossible because of how much you detest it, let me serve as an example that it’s completely achievable.

There are a lot of resources out on the internet that explore technical tips on running, so if you’re searching for that kind of advice, I’ll leave it to the experts. I’m not here to teach you how to run but how to love running. So, lace up your shoes, and let’s get into my very niche but helpful tips!

1. Find your pack

Some people prefer running on their own for one reason or another. That’s perfectly fine! However, when you’re just starting out, I highly recommend recruiting a similarly motivated friend or finding a local running club to join you on your jogs. When you turn running into a friend date or, at the very least, have others to hold you accountable, you’re much more likely to be consistent and to have a good time while you’re exercising. Once you build up some aerobic strength, you can gab the run away; time never flies faster than when you and your friends are debriefing the latest hot gossip.

2. Be consistent

Look, I know this isn’t a very fun tip. But let me be real with you for a second — the first couple weeks of running are going to suck. You’ll be sore, breathless, sweaty, and you’ll want to quit. This nasty little hump that runners have to get over is what gives running such a bad rap. But, if you stop before you get past it, you’ll miss that next week when, suddenly, you start to feel strong; this is when you don’t get winded as fast, and you experience a little phenomenon known as the runner’s high (yes, it’s real). So, do whatever you need to do to stay accountable! Reward yourself with a sweet treat, literally block in your runs on your daily calendar, or designate your runs as the only time you can catch up on new music or your favorite podcast.

(P.S. You don’t need to run every day. You need rest days, plus it can be overwhelming if you’re beating yourself up for missing a day. I love a good 3 days a week: two easy, short runs and one longer run. You can build up to more as you get stronger.)

3. Start Slow

Please, I am begging you. Do not begin your runs at a sprint. Don’t even begin your runs at a run. I would highly recommend starting slower than you think you need to during the first few minutes of your runs. It’ll give your muscles time to warm up, and it will allow you to settle into a more natural pace and regulate your breathing so that you don’t run out of steam in the middle. If it’s your very first week of running, try a mixture of walking and jogging throughout the run. Over time, you can cut out the walking or not! Getting up and moving, no matter how slow, is a win. In the aftermath of my crazy high school days, I am proud to call myself a slow runner!

4. Go outside

This might be a controversial take — I know people love to run on treadmills. I am not one of those people. One of my favorite parts about going for a run is getting fresh air and vitamin D, especially if I’ve spent most of my day indoors. Find local bike trails, hiking paths, or pretty neighborhoods, maybe with a nice view somewhere in there. Being outside really helps the happy chemicals flow, and you never know what you might encounter. I often run into deer, geese, foxes, and dogs, and I love the occasional sunset run, because duh. I even like running in the rain (as long as there’s no lightning). Running outside keeps things interesting! However, if the treadmill is the best you can do or you prefer running that way, absolutely no shame, girl. You rock that treadmill!

5. Track Your progress

One of the most enticing things about running is that when you begin to make progress, your hard work is so tangible and visible. The numbers simply don’t lie, and it’s exhilarating to set a new personal best. I recommend downloading a running app like Strava or Nike Run Club to track your runs. You can even post them if you want (I love taking photos during runs to document them and captioning them with silly titles). Even better, sign up for a local road race somewhere! Mile, 5k, 10k, half, or full marathon races are pretty easy to come by, and the race day atmosphere is pretty special. It’ll give you a goal to work toward along with (most of the time) a shiny medal and race bib that are mementos of your accomplishment. 

These are just a few of the things that healed my hateful relationship with running, and I couldn’t recommend them more. If running’s not for you, I totally understand. However, if you’re interested in giving it a shot, hang in there! There’s nothing quite as fulfilling as feeling strong in your own body and knowing that you owe your success only to yourself. It takes a bit of commitment, but eventually, running becomes so easy to love.

I am currently a Graphic Design major at Texas Christian University. I love reading, making art, being outdoors, and Taylor Swift!