I Hate Running

posted in: Confessions, Life 35 comments

It’s weird how epiphanies happen. This particular one (“I hate running”) came about while I was in the kitchen, getting a snack or grabbing a second lunch, well, something to do with food and stuffing my face. My train of thought went something like this: 

Mmm. Hungry. Food. Ugh, leftover baby belly. Ooh, gummy bears. Hmm. Exercise? Run? Blech. I HATE RUNNING. 

This really shouldn’t have come as a surprise (but it did). Back when I was a kid, I used to loathe Physical Ed (PE) classes. I especially hated the part when we had to run around the track, which I thought was pointless. 

As life and luck would have it, I joined Nike in 2006. Joining a sports company, one is sort of expected to do some kind of sport, or exercise. I picked yoga, and I liked it. I paraded my Nike yoga mat around a lot. I even went to a couple of yoga retreats with my sister. 

The job came with a perk – free gym membership at the fitness centre three floors down from my office. I had some fancy free/ discounted Nike gear, a gym right where I work which I didn’t have to pay for – and it still took me over a year to step foot in it. 

Soon, I began running on the treadmill. A lot. I had my iPod, my fancy new Nike+ tracking my pace and distance, cool shoes and nowhere else to go. I started running 5ks, then picking the pace up to 8k (that’s 5 miles) on a regular basis. It got easier to run without feeling like I was going to die. The stitch in my side went away. Once I got past the first 2km, I’d hit my pace and glide through the next few kilometres. 

I was bored stiff. 

Still, I pounded that treadmill. I never ran outside because weather in Kuala Lumpur is hot and humid, roads are not runner-friendly, and frankly, if there’s an air conditioned gym right where I work, I’m going to go the lazy route. 

I stopped running when I quit my job, then got pregnant. Five years and four children later, I still haven’t gone back to running. I did a couple of treadmill runs in between pregnancies, and made excuses not to go back. 

I thought I just didn’t like exercise and sweating. But I knew that to be untrue because I still love yoga. (Okay, I haven’t been back to a regular practice yet, but I have twins! Just so you know, I will milk that fact for as long as I can). 

So, the epiphany. Which if you’ve followed the story so far, will lead you to figure out that I’ve always hated running. I never ran more than 8k, I never ran outside (the few times I did, I hated it), I never signed up for races, and I’ve not been in a hurry to lace up my shoes. I have always hated running, but I’ve never admitted it to myself, or anyone. 

I hate running because I suck at it. I hate how I feel while I’m running, and I hate how I don’t feel how I think I should, when I finish a run. When I read about how runners feel when they’re running, I think, eh, I don’t feel that same way. When people talk about how much they love it and why, I absolutely cannot relate.

I hate it because I always want it to end, barely before I even start. I hate that painful feeling in my chest when I can’t suck in enough air to breathe. I hate that I want to stop running, two minutes in. I hate that I can’t really stop because when you run outside, you have to turn back anyway to get to where you came, and you still have to run. (Okay, I guess you could walk back.)

I know I hate running, because I feel completely different about yoga. I love yoga. I love the idea of yoga. I love the practice. I love all the asanas (poses). Except the chair pose. I hate the chair pose. I love the feeling of moving with strength and deliberation. I love that I’m pretty good at it. I love how I feel afterwards, even though I’m disgustingly wringing sweat out of my hair. Yoga made me cry a few times, because ohmygoodness, all the feels. (To be fair, running has made me cry too, but out of pain and frustration). 

I’m sorry, runners. I just can’t get into running. I tried. I even talked about running a marathon before I turn 40 (which is in 16 months time).

Well, that’s not going to happen. 

I’m not a runner. I never will be. And I’m okay with it. 

Runner friends, don’t hate me. Also, don’t try to convince me otherwise. I love you, running people (you know who you are).

Are you a runner? Why?

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the worldโ€™s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and DrGreene.com. She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Womenโ€™s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesnโ€™t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • April 27, 2015 Elaine A.

    I like yoga okay but that actually bores me and makes me feel like I am not getting any exercise. I like the relaxation part so I do go to “gentle” yoga at my gym occasionally, but usually only have I have had my run. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I get it, I do. Running can also be very monotonous. I have to have an “end goal” usually for my running, like a race or something. Otherwise it does not mean as much to me. And yes, I hated running around the track in PE too!
    Elaine A. recently wrote…Bloodline – A Don’t Miss Netflix SeriesMy Profile

    • April 27, 2015 Alison

      I understand how yoga can be boring. It really depends on the kind of yoga and the teacher. A good teacher will have a good flow of asanas which challenge you mentally and physically. I only do hatha yoga. The other forms – just not my schtick.

  • April 27, 2015 Kerstin

    I’ve only done Yoga once, but I like it more than running already. The only time I will run is if they have chocolate bacon cupcakes at my favourite bakery ๐Ÿ˜‰ xox

    • April 27, 2015 Alison

      Running towards cupcakes IS a good reason to run!

  • Yoga Yes!!!!
    Running blech!
    It is boring, so boring.
    But as luck would have it my husband loves to run. He can run for both of us…
    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes recently wrote…10 Things of pretty for Spring/Summer with Mama Kat!My Profile

    • April 27, 2015 Alison

      He most certainly can!

  • April 27, 2015 tracy

    Well you know I wrote about hating yoga…so there’s that. Namaste and allthatshit. I actually like running for very introverted reasons – it’s an activity I can do alone – I hate gyms and treadmills and only run outside(alone as running groups freak me out) – but if I lived in KL – yeah, running outside would be a challenge. And it’s my time to meditate/think/whatever as I run. I really use that 30 minutes or two hours to just be with me and make plans, have dreams, meditate, sing, etc. It’s my “me” time and I get a workout at the same time. But if I hated it – I would not do it. I would say you are in the majority with how you feel about running – not the minority. So own it. Hate it. You are one of my biggest cheerleaders when I’m out running – and that counts for everything. xoxo
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    • April 27, 2015 Alison

      We are so alike in so many ways but this!
      Yet, I love that you run and I know and understand all the reasons that you do. Which is how I know I don’t love it because I don’t feel that way about it.
      When we get together some day, while you run, I’ll do yoga. ๐Ÿ™‚ xoxo

  • April 27, 2015 Allie

    I still love you ๐Ÿ™‚ And I really love your honesty. I always say that there’s no meh feelings about running, you either love it or hate it. Either way, there’s almost no way to change it. You have so many other things in life, why spend any time at all doing something you hate?
    And absolutely milk the twin thing for as long as possible. I’m going on 6 years!
    Allie recently wrote…My First Marathon…As a 40 Year-oldMy Profile

    • April 28, 2015 Alison

      Aw, thanks Allie! I knew you’d understand. There really is no meh about it. I thought I was meh about it but well . . . you know.
      (And of course your post link here is about RUNNING A MARATHON AT 40!! LOL)

  • April 28, 2015 janice

    I used to hate running, and I’m sure if I were allowed to run, I would still hate it. But there’s something about not having the choice that makes you nostalgic for it. I have a spine injury that makes running difficult. So now, I dance instead. And I love it! But sometimes still want to be able to run because I love that wind in my hair feeling. Maybe I should go stand in front of a fan or something.
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    • April 28, 2015 Alison

      I’m sorry that it’s not been your choice not to run ๐Ÿ™
      But dancing! I can get with dancing! (though yes, I suck at that too)

  • April 28, 2015 Christine

    Even though I do love running, I do hate it in many of the same ways – wanting to stop before even starting or 2 minutes into my run, sucking wind, feeling like I suck at it. Actually reading this made me think, why do I keep going back to running??? But there is something there for me, something that makes me feel connected to myself in a similar (but obviously different) way than yoga. And I love yoga. Not being able to do either right now has made me realize how I need both in my life.
    Christine recently wrote…Top 5 Running MomentsMy Profile

    • April 28, 2015 Alison

      I think that if you can get past the stuff you hate about it and still do it, then really, you don’t hate it. You need it enough to love it despite everything. I’m sorry you’re not able to practice yoga now. Patience, yogi!

  • April 28, 2015 Jennifer

    I’m with you. I don’t like to run either. I like to dance. I think any type of dancing exercise (like Zumba) is fun.
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    • April 28, 2015 Alison

      I can get with dancing!

  • April 28, 2015 alexandra

    #CampHateRunning #TeamHateRunning BUT I love a good, hard walk.

    • April 28, 2015 Alison

      I love walking. Hiking. Moving one foot in front of another. Like a normal person.

  • April 28, 2015 The Bride

    I read your post just after I came back from a run! As someone who trained for long-distance running as a kid, I could relate. All the years I trained as an athelete, I hated running. Or rather, I loved running when I was playing in the playground and I could keep going for a while, but I hated training and competitive races. I never got runner’s high all the 10 years or so I ran, only runner’s dread. And I didn’t run for ages after college, except sporadically as a chore to lose weight. Then one day, after my son was born, I started walking (again to lose weight) and on impulse started running. And suddenly, I was totally into it. I had visions of me at the Boston marathon. It was on a high when I finished. Finally, I got it, the pleasure of running after all these years. Now some days I love it, others I’m meh. But I totally get you when you say you hate running. I like yoga too ๐Ÿ™‚

    • April 28, 2015 Alison

      Maybe I’ll like it in a few years time? I don’t know. I just know that right now, I don’t have the effs to give to do something just for the sake of it, lol. Life is too short. Do what makes you happy!

  • April 28, 2015 Amy

    My knee gave out a few months ago and deep down a part of me said, “Finally I can stop pretending that I will ever go for a run.” Phew.
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  • April 29, 2015 Kimberly

    The only time I’m running is if there is only one cookie left in the cupboard — I mean there never would be only just one cookie left like what kind of normal human being would leave one cookie in a bag? That’s not called willpower. That’s called World War 3. You take the last one for the team. That’s the way I look at things.

    But yeah, my back couldn’t handle the impact anyway so carry on you pavement cow boys and girls. Blaze your paths to serenity or some shit like that.
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  • April 29, 2015 Tamara

    I hate that painful feeling you get in your chin and jaw. Ever get that one? I’m more of a power walker and a hiker. I do like to sprint in spurts when I’m chasing the kids or just joyful, but.. not.. for more than a minute or so.
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  • April 29, 2015 Courtney


    I was just talking to someone about the exercise endorphins, or my lack thereof. I don’t get the exercise high fives after a hard workout. I wish I did! I do go to the gym, but I have to take some guilty pleasures in with me to indulge in while I’m there – either cheesy pop music or a YA audiobook.
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  • April 29, 2015 Dakota

    I hate running right up until I’ve trained to about 14 miles, and THEN I start to love it, but it sure is a pain to get there. I keep going back to it because I do lose weight and it’s almost free… but it’s no fun until I’m at least semi-in shape.

    Ballroom dancing now, though. Oooooooh… and you can burn plenty of calories if you’re really doing a waltz correctly, let me tell you! The downside is you need a partner!

    I’m glad I found your blog (via Raising Humans). Looking forward to reading more! ๐Ÿ™‚
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  • April 29, 2015 Julia

    I run, I’m awful at it but I do it. Mostly cause I like being outside before everyone else is up, it clears my head but also cause it’s free and I don’t need a gym membership to do it.
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  • April 29, 2015 Natalie

    Girl you and me are soul sisters…I can’t stand running, and I know so many people who love it…but I just can’t. Oh well I guess ha ha!
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  • April 29, 2015 John (Daddy Runs a Lot)

    I’d NEVER try to convince anyone to love running . . . heck, I kind of hate that I love it. For real — it sucks time, and, well, a bad run leaves me all kinds of grumpy.

    Embrace what makes you tick, what makes you happy . . . the more active the more better (as my kids would say), but there is NO REASON to feel that you should love running if you don’t.
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  • April 30, 2015 Nina

    Once again we’re the same! I hate running, too, but I love yoga (and barre). I like to walk. (Wouldn’t say I love it, but I do it.) Running feels very unnatural to me.
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  • April 30, 2015 Jennie Goutet

    I am the exact opposite. Love running, hate yoga. And I’ve tried!! I went to a class for a year, but I always want it to be over before it starts. Running is so free and independent. I go where I want, when I want, and I end it whenever I want. ๐Ÿ™‚
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  • May 1, 2015 Lani

    Like you, I hate running and love yoga. I think it comes down to feeling like I’m doing something good for my body when I do yoga. But running is harsh/hard on the bones/joints and I don’t feel free or fantastic or anything but tired and jarred.
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  • May 1, 2015 Rorybore

    I am with you! I feel much better after Yoga or Pilates, then I do after running. I USED to run – a lot when I was younger. I could run forever. then knee injuries, and now: just no. thanks, but my opinion is No. LOL
    I still like the idea of being out in Nature, but I can get that with a walk and my camera in hand.
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  • May 2, 2015 Clare

    Ha ha ha, I love this post! I also hate running, I thought I liked it for a while, even ran a couple of half marathons. The epiphany also hit me that I really don’t like it, it makes my hips hurt (thanks childbirth) and to be honest I feel more the fool and less the athlete as I stagger the streets gasping for breath.
    Yoga is ace, I don’t mind chair pose, it is the sitting cross legged I can’t manage (back to my creaky hips). Keep up the yoga and enjoy!
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  • May 4, 2015 Marge

    I did run for a while until my old volleyball injury started acting up. Since then I’ve moved to more brisk walking and hiking which are less stressful on the knees.
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  • May 5, 2015 Roshni

    I completely identify!! I don’t mind any mat exercise but I hate running/jogging because I completely lack stamina! Which makes me guilty and then mad!!
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