6 Steps to Learn to Love Running (a love hate relationship)

Learn the 6 steps to go from hating running to being addicted.

Have you ever tried running and hated it because it "hurts too much" or it is just "too hard"

This is the most common reasons people give up, before they really even get started.

Getting outside is great for your well being, and having a tangible goal will help keep you motivated. (If you are new to running we recommend you get the free couch to 3km training plan)

Whether this is the first time you have ever attempted to run, or you have made multiple attempts in the past, but never quite reached your goal, then it helps to understand the psychology behind learning to run.

6 Steps to Learn to Love Running

Here are the 6 phases you will experience on the journey to becoming a fully-fledged runner.  Challenge yourself and learn to love running now.


Most people hate running when they first start. It is tiring, and it hurts. You will be outside your comfort zone, and your brain would probably prefer to be back inside it again! It is normal to feel this way. If you aren't fit, running seems very laborious. As your fitness improves, this sensation WILL subside.

During our Zero to 5km training plan you may not get past stage 1, but PLEASE don't give up. I 100% promise that stage 1 will pass if you persevere and keep running. Stage 1 typically lasts anywhere from 3 weeks to 12 weeks depending on your base level of fitness when you started. If you come from a background of playing some social sport, going for 20-30 minute walks, or maybe even the occasional gym session, you will find stage 1 passes quite quickly. If you are starting completely from scratch, and this is your first attempt at performing any sort of consistent exercise, then it will take a lot longer for phase 1 to pass. But, I'll say it again, I can 100% promise stage 1 will pass if you persevere.


This stage isn't too far removed from stage 1, except as your general fitness has improved, running doesn't feel quite as bad, and you don't hate it quite as much. Your lungs will still hurt, it still feels hard to run, you probably haven't improved as much as you wanted to, you're still outside your comfort zone, but only a little bit outside now. Keep going. Don't stop now. You're turning into a runner, you just don't know it yet!


Stage 2 typically passes quicker than stage 1. Now when you run it doesn't feel anywhere near as bad. You're still on the edge of your comfort zone, but it doesn't feel like each individual step is a challenge. You still don't like running, but you no longer hate it, and if you think back to a few weeks ago, you've made some pretty impressive progress. You can run a bit further, or a bit faster, without feeling like the life has been sucked out of you.


Now you actually quite enjoy an easy run. It has become a part of your new healthier lifestyle, and even though you still find it tiring, you can start to feel the benefits after a run. You'll have good and bad days during this stage. Some days, if you haven't had enough sleep, or you are generally just feeling exhausted by everything else that life has thrown at you, you'll think to yourself " I really can't be bothered running today". But, if you lace up your shoes, and head out the door, even if it is for an easy 10 min jog, you'll come back proud of yourself and feeling much better for it.

Congratulations, you are now hooked.


Now you've taken it to a new level. You've found some running buddies, and maybe even entered an event to build towards. You now look forward to your runs, and try hard to make sure you don't miss one. You can reflect back on the past few months and be proud of what you have achieved, but also cast your mind forwards, and think of all of the exciting places that running might take you.

You may just love running for the sake of running. You may not be motivated by taking part in events. Whatever you choose to do is fine if it keeps you fit and makes you happy. Some people love running alone where they can collect their thoughts for the day, or perhaps forget about everything for a while (a bit like going to the cinema). Other people love the social aspect, and like to join groups for added motivation, friendship and the coffee shop afterwards.


Now you hate not to run. Once addicted, most runners like to run at least 4 or 5 times a week, as it helps them to "stay sane". Running has now created a feel good factor in your life that you don't want to be without.

Where you go to from here is your choice. A road marathon, a hundred mile trail run, your local park run, or just some hypnotic peace and solitude putting one foot in front of the other.

Learn to Love Running Now.  There has never been a better time!

Join the FREE Couch to 3km Course Now.


The program includes simple run / walk intervals to get you started. Plus it comes with a printable list, so you can stick it on the fridge and start ticking off some boxes.

The mental and physical satisfaction this can provide can't be underestimated. We even have a online runners community to help keep you motivated and engaged. What are you waiting for!

Ready to run further?

We have strength and training plans available for all types of distances and terrains and all types of runners.