3 Reasons People Give Up Running Too Soon

Running is amazing.

Wait… not exactly when you are first starting out.  Then running sucks. 

Sometimes… running REALLY sucks.

But the end game is SOOO worth it!  So many people start with great intentions, but give up too early.  Running is the absolute easiest sport to participate in because it does not require anything more than a set of sneakers.  You can literally just put on your shoes, and head out the door.  No fancy memberships.  No driving somewhere to use a machine.  Very minimal monetary investment.

Plus, running has some of the best benefits to offer its participants!  Weight loss.  Increased energy.  Feeling of purpose.  Amazing legs.  A great community.  New relationships.  Time to get away and recharge. 

So why do so many people quit so early?  Why do many people never get to experience these amazing benefits?  Why do so many people “wish they were a runner”?  Here is what I have found to be the 3 most common themes: 

1)     Running to lose weight

“But wait!? Didn’t you just say that people can lose weight running?” 

Absolutely they can!  But it takes time.  Most people who start running to lose weight give it 2-3 weeks, and when they don’t see instant results, they bail.

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever heard about training for anything was “to lose weight training for a sport, any sport, train for the sake of being better at the sport”.  What they meant was, if you want to lose weight running, make a goal of being a better runner, or running a certain race.  If you want to lose weight swimming, have a swimming goal for your swimming and work toward accomplishing it.  

Running has a progression, and it goes something like this:

In weeks #1-4, we utilize the hastag #runnershighisBS.  This was coined by my good friend Mary, who was an avid cyclist, and heard all these amazing things about running.  She signed up for a triathlon and had to start running, and her first running workouts were accompanied by this hashtag.  Weeks 1-4 can totally suck.  Your body is not used to its new activity.  Things are sore and achy after runs.  You feel like you can never breath and are running with all the grace of a 3 legged elephant.   Unfortunately, this is where people quit.  But if you can stick it out, don’t worry… this too shall pass.   Then, you hit magical week 5….

Something about week 5 is truly magic.  Everything starts to click.  You finally are getting stronger. Your breathing is getting more fluid.  You have a path and a routine and you know and love it.  You are feeling the amazing benefits of how much energy you now have throughout the day, and are probably taking control of your eating and feeling empowered to really control your health!  This is where great things happen!  You are seeking out new information, trying new workouts, eating new foods, and starting to see slight changes in your body.  

Then, somewhere around week 16, your body really locks in.  You are really getting into shape, and one day, stepping out of the shower you look in the mirror and go “WHOA!  CHECK OUT THAT RIDGE IN MY THIGH MUSCLE!”.  And that is when you know… It… Is… ON!  You are hooked.  THIS is where the weight loss progress really kicks in.  Now, you can start tinkering with your diet and really seeing how it impacts you.  You are fit enough for some good sprint workouts (which is where the serious calorie burn happens), and you can really start to see some progress.

So if you want to run for weight loss, GOOD FOR YOU!  Give it time.  Get through the lame weeks 1-4, and you will reap the rewards.  Need some inspiration to get you through the tough weeks?  Come join our Facebook community HERE and let the rest of us keep you motivated!

2)     Injury/discomfort

Unfortunately, this is a big one.  And one that I fell victim to time and time again.  The biggest misconception that we all face when starting running is that if you want to be a runner, you need to go run.  While this is true, you ALSO have to put some strength training and stretching in there, as well as some cross training.  Running is seriously rough on an untrained body.  It takes time to build up bone density and muscle support.  And the best way to do that is with activities OTHER THAN running. 

Here is another biggie:  REST!  When you first start running, so many people get on a big kick and want fast results and they go out running every day! 

Whoah Whoah Whoah. 

The only way to build muscle and bone strength is to give them time to recover.  One of the most critical things about your new running program is to plan in rest days.  I recommend at least 2, spaced throughout the week when you first start.  

The other thing you need is to build your cardio, while giving your bones and muscles a break.  Running every workout day does not allow you enough time to heal.  So throw in another great high cardio, low impact sport.  My personal favorite is swimming.  Other popular options are cycling, pilates, yoga, elliptical, and Zumba.

Then don’t forget some strength training.  Running is a huge feat for your hips, knees and ankles.  Getting 2-3 workouts in per week that are exclusively focused on your hip and knee strength, and balance in your ankles will pay huge dividends for your week on the road.  Want to know how to integrate all of these into a week?  Get my “1 Week To Get You Running” plan HERE.

3)     No time

If I had a dollar every time I heard someone say “I wish I could be a runner, but I just don’t have time for that”!  There is something about watching the Boston marathon that makes everyone think they need to be on the road for hours each day in order to be a good runner.  Nothing could be further from the truth for a recreational runner!  In fact, that is a great way to injure yourself when you are just starting out. 

Realistically, you only need 3-4 days per week for 30-45 minutes per day (some will be running days, some will be strengths and cross training days), and one day on the weekend to head out for a longer distance for some endurance.  Plus, some of those 30-45 minute workouts can be done right inside your own house!  If you find you are short on time, or can’t leave because the kids are sleeping, use this time for some strength training inside. 

Need help planning it out?  Get my free "1 Week To Get Running" plan here, complete with a full week of workout plans, and details about how to modify them week to week to keep building up!

Every runner in the world will tell you that a 20 minute run is better than no run at all, and sometime, is even better than a long run!  Feeling short on time?  Head to the street outside, and do a few sprint sets, or a short 20 minute jog.  You will feel amazing afterward, and be glad you didn’t spend it on the couch.

For more awesome running tips, come join our Facebook community!     Join here.

Sabrina Santos