Summary: Alain shares how he went from hating running to being addicted and how to Learn Love Running. It covers reasons why people don’t like running and it contains tips from experienced marathon runners.

Hate Running? 4 Ways to Learn to Love It

Author: Alain Buffing
Reading time:
 5 minutes

‘I open the window’, it is sunny, 4th of January 2017 in Downtown Seville, Spain. I look at my good friend Nanning, who is already making his bed as part of his morning routine. I start doing my 25 push-up’s. Not because I want, but because I want to feel my body again. The night before we were drinking Gin & Tonics till 4 in the morning with some locals and now I am feeling the confrontating result of that.

We have breakfast and Nanning asks me if I want to join him for a run? My mind thinks definately “no”, however Nanning says that it might be good to sweat out the liters of gin we finished yesterday and he says it is also a great way to explore the city. Nanning is an experienced runner, he has run over 25+ marathon’s and is in training to run the full marathon of Barcelona in less than 3 hours. If he manages he will be joining an elite group of runners, that only consist of 1% in the world that are capable of doing so.

Why do people hate running?

What Nanning doesn’t know is that I hate running. For me the idea to run two hours, is the same as the idea of going to a Dutch All Inclusive Hotel in Bodrum and spent the whole morning preparing with my towel to save spot in the sun next to the swimming pool. In case you wonder, I really hate All Inclusive Hotels.

While I am still busy fighting my hangover, Nanning is already getting into his work out gear. He is preparing for his full marathon in March in Barcelona and is keeping a very tight schedule; he runs more kilometers a week than I bike to work. Besides that he keeps a strict diet and seems to eat more than Michael Phelps when in training for the  Olympics. I decide to also put on my sports gear that I packed in case we would hit the gym in any of the hotels.

“Fitness, is something I like. It is effective, I know what I need to do. I can do it in every city in the world  and it clears my head.”Why can’t running be like this?

I have spoken with many people over the years who ‘hate running’ and have come to the conclusion that the number one reason  that they don’t like running is because they can’t do it well.  They go for a run and are in discomfort the entire time they are running.  Why is that?  It is because they are working harder than their body can handle comfortably?

People who hate running

Apparently there are 5 reasons people hate running:

1. Fight or Flight Mode
The survival mechanism in your brain which tell’s you something is chasing you, thus causing stress. This mechanism has been part of our brains since the prehistoric times when running indicated, danger, or running for your life from T-Rex.

2. Being ‘On Stage’
We all feel a little bit vulnerable the first times we are out there running all by ourselves. We might feel very self-conscious or maybe silly. This is a very common feeling and lots of new runners feel this The truth is that everyone is busy minding their own ‘problems’ to notice the others.

3. Finding The Time
This is a tough one. We are all very busy, and it’s very hard to make time for yourself. Tricks to help you here are making a schedule, find a friend and do it with them, run with your kids or your dog.  If you are a busy mom you can even do it before the whole house wakes up.


How did Nanning make running interesting for me?

We go out for the run and I already feel like an imposter, Nanning is lowering his training pace from … to … in order to jog next to me while we have a conversation. This makes me feel slightly like a 80 year old, but I do appreciate the friendly effort. Nanning then comes up with some rules:


  1. Run as much in the sun as possible.
  2. Keep up with a pace where you can talk.
  3. Play a game where we switch back and forward when we hit a cross road to decide upon where we go, thus making the route super spontaneous.
  4. Not run further than you can, if you feel tired at any point we stop and we have a coffee on a terrace with some water and tapas

With these new rules in mind, the first daunting run evolves into a very pleasant jog around the highlights of Seville. We talk about new business ideas, we wink at some girls running by, we look at Moorish architecture and we end with a solid terrace session after a 30-minute run.

The physiology of running is quite simple – so let me to try explain it to you in layman’s terms what happens inside your body to allow you to do a cardio workout like running and why small increases changes your physiology.

Your lungs convert air or oxygen into energy.  Now, your body has learned to convert the air you breathe into the energy equal to the amount of work you do. Once you exceed your normal workload, your body has to learn how to convert oxygen into the new work load.  When you are huffing and puffing, you are exceeding your current level of fitness.  But your body is very intelligent.

When you increase your workload, your body will learn to convert oxygen to energy at your new level of work. Meaning you just have to add the workload (or km’s) step by step, nobody runs a marathon on their first run.

My Feeling Post Running

How do you feel, Nanning asks? I feel great I say! Like we started the day productive. I also feel like I cleared my head. Saw more of the city in the 30 mins than in the last 2 days. I am up for a run two days later again.

“Running, is something I like. It is effective, I know what I need to do. I can do it in every city in the world  and it clears my head.”

What follows after our run in Seville is a 40 minute Jog in Cadiz on the beach. Followed by a 35 minute run to Alhambra in Granada. And than a 50 minute run through the port and Roman settlement of Malaga. And that’s when it hits me. I like running.

So to summarize the 4 Take Away’s:

  1. Team Up: Run with an experienced friend.
  2. Wander: Go for a jog abroad
  3. Level Up: Gamify the experience
  4. Enjoy: Have fun while exercising

That concludes my first run and how I came to love it. I hope you found these tips useful and I would love to hear what you hate about running, or what you actually love about this ancient sport. Thanks for reading and happy running.