What To Do When Running “Doesn’t Work”

Saturday I had a really bad run. Like, really bad. It was nine miles of a pitiful combination of walking and running and each step hurt.

Earlier in the week I had done a very intense boot camp workout and I was still sore. Pathetic, I know. But, hey, at least I did it.

Friday night I was pumped and ready for the long run I had ahead. I ate well the night before. I went to bed early. I woke up early. Ate a good breakfast. Drank some coffee. I did everything right.

But once I got running, after mile #1, I thought I was going to die and was ready to head home. What kept me going? Well, for one, my pride surely did. I had told everyone I was staying in because I had a long run in the morning. And, two, why would I give up? Because my run wasn’t as I expected? That’s a lame excuse.

So I kept going. Even though it hurt. Even though all I could think about was getting home. Even though all I wanted was Mexican food and my couch.

I kept going and I tried to enjoy the view of the beautiful city of Charlotte.

As you know, and if you don’t, I’m a huge proponent of running to strengthen your mental health. It’s what pulled me out of a lot of dark places and times (see my About page). And I run because I found that running helped me piece together life, boost my confidence, and allowed me to find true happiness. If you don’t run, I insist… no urge… no beg you to try it.

But, what if running doesn’t work for you?

I’ve surely been in lulls with running. Stretches of time where running sounds terrible and miserable and just plain stupid. And years ago, I would’ve never thought that I’d love running so much.

I was talking to a coworker of mine about running. She’s about to start training for her first half marathon (yay!), and she shared a story of a woman who ran a marathon and then decided, at that moment, she was not running again. And she never ran again.

I said, “What!? She’s running wrong.”

If running seems daunting that’s because it is at first. I tell non-runners it’s an acquired taste, because it is. You have to find the joy in running.


Start small. Start with 1 mile (or less! Whatever is best for you).

And when you hit that milestone, congratulate yourself, because that’s a heck of an accomplishment.

Then, push for the next milestone (whatever that looks like for you). Maybe it’s running for 15 minutes straight. Or running a mile in a shorter time than the last.

And keep going. Keep pushing yourself.

You’ll find that after a while, you’ll start building your confidence.

But, there will be bumps along the way. Like, my run yesterday.

Don’t beat yourself up.

You’ll get it next time. And if you don’t, there’s always a next time.

Find the joy in running and just do it. I promise it works.


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I overcame an eating disorder, anxiety, and depression with the help of this wonderfully amazing thing called running. And that's why I'm here - to share my story and to help those who are going through what I've already gone through. On this blog you'll find running tips, mental health tips, and lots of joy. Join me as we piece life together one run at a time.

3 thoughts on “What To Do When Running “Doesn’t Work”

  1. I’m working on it! Did a 1 mile walk/run yesterday (I can’t reveal my time.) Next time 1.25 miles. I felt real
    good after I was done. Not bad for an ole lady!

    Liked by 1 person

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