7 Ways I Learned to Love Running When I Forced Myself to Do a 5K


(Image credit: @anna__laplaca)

I hate running. There, I said it. For as long as I can remember, I've passionately hated running with the fire of a thousand suns. It all stems from my P.E. days when our middle school gym teacher would make us run the mile in gym class during what always felt like the most sweltering day of the entire year. The frustration and exhaustion I felt after pushing to get through that neverending mile really stayed with me, and despite my best efforts at athleticism, running and I simply never meshed.

Cut to last spring when, on a whim, I signed myself up for a 5K run on the beach in Santa Monica as part of a larger event with Wanderlust. Like most things I hated doing at first but ended up loving (see next, meditation), I dove in headfirst instead of carefully dipping my toes in. Over the course of roughly three months, my attitude toward running completely transformed, and in the end, it helped me overcome way more than my silly resentment toward it. Running became my tool to beat stress, fight anxiety and depression, clear my head, and make me more energized. That was just the start of it. The benefits of running are seemingly endless as new studies are published left and right.

I'm no expert yet, but if you find yourself having the same attitude toward running that I did, you might find my 5K running tips help you kick-start your newfound routine. Ahead, I'm sharing the seven ways I finally learned to love running through my experience training for a 3.1-mile race.

1. A killer playlist is a must.

2. The right workout outfit can get you out the door.


(Image credit: @anna__laplaca)

"Look good, feel good" definitely applies here. As one of Who What Wear's fashion editors, I'm naturally hyper-aware of how stylish my workout outfits are since I'm constantly researching and reporting on new trends. So I'm much more likely to want to go on a run in the first place if I'm reaching for a leggings-bra set in a fun color or slipping on a pair of trendy new sneakers than something plain or just boring. Fun fact: The color orange is known to have an especially energizing effect on your mood. All the more reason to reach for that bright color, if you ask me.

3. Run when you're tired. Run when you're frustrated. Run when you're bored.

4. Run twice a week (at the very least).


(Image credit: Stocksy)

Being consistent with anything is the key to success, be it a new hobby or mindfulness practice. There are tons of running plans out there if you're training for a specific race like a 5K that outline how often and how far you should be running. But to be honest, I didn't use them. I started out by running just a mile or two twice a week and just pushing myself to run (let's be honest, jog/walk) for as long and far as I could. I kept at it until eventually, I was running (and not walking at all) consistently for more and more miles.

There's a fine line between running too little and too much, though. Run too inconsistently and you'll find it challenging to ever get into running shape, but on the other hand, doing too much too soon can lead to injury or burnout, according to Stacy Sims, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist and sports nutritionist. Instead, experts suggest beginning with a run-walk approach: Run for 30 seconds, walk four and a half minutes, and repeat five times (30 minutes total). Do this three times a week, adding 30 seconds of running during each outing until you work up to about 30 minutes of running. 

5. Train with a friend.


(Image credit: @anna__laplaca)

Buddy up. It sounds so simple, but training alongside a friend will help keep each of you motivated and held accountable. Studies show that people who work out with someone else exercise more often than those who go it alone. Even if you don't physically run together all the time, sharing your progress with someone who's working toward the same goal ensures you'll both be successful. That same study that found a workout buddy leads to more workouts also found that when those people are emotionally supportive as well, the amount and frequency of the workouts skyrocketed. Think about it, if you're feeling lazy and your couch is calling your name more than your sneakers are, it will be much harder to give in knowing you have the support of a friend to talk you out of quitting.

6. Track your progress.

7. There will be a brief moment in which you start enjoying the run. Don't quit until you get there.


(Image credit: Stocksy)

I still don't think I've truly experienced a "runner's high" yet, but there came a point several weeks into my 5K training where, for a brief moment, my legs didn't hurt, my lungs didn't ache, and I felt a genuine smile creep its way onto my face. Endorphins, man, they're no joke. The euphoric feeling was gone nearly as soon as I became aware of it, but I've been chasing that same feeling each time I lace up my sneakers and hit the road.

I hated running for far too long, and in the end, all it took was a little bit of determination, a lot of sweat, and a few tips and tricks to help me push past the discomfort. Now that I've broken through that mental barrier, running has become an important tool in physical, mental, and overall well-being.

Next, your guide to working out when it's way too hot out.


This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions.

Senior Editor

Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.