9 good(ish) reasons to give up running

As you know, last September I started running.

At first it was really tough. I was following a ‘couch to 5k’ app on my phone and it began with running for one minute, walking for a minute and a half, and repeating this eight times. After running for a whole minute I felt like I really might actually die, right there on the street.

I persevered though, to the point where I could run for 25 minutes without stopping. I say run, it was more of a bouncy walk, me just ricocheting off the pavement between steps, and in this 25 minutes we only managed to cover just under 3k. Not exactly a land speed record. I had stopped turning quite as beetroot red as in the early days though. You would think that by this point, after four months of practising, that I would have reached a point at which I got some tiny bit of pleasure out of it.

I did not.

No matter how much better I got, I still essentially felt like I did that first time  – breathless, exhausted, and like I would rather just lie down on the pavement and have a little cry. In fact, the last time I went running, about three weeks ago now, that very nearly did happen. OK, so I didn’t actually lie on the floor, but I did cry, and I did stop half way through and instead walk home and lie on the sofa in the dark feeling ashamed.*

It was at this point that I decided to give up running.

It was a big decision. I don’t want to be that person – the one who tries something, decides they can’t be bothered, and just gives up – but the more I thought about it and the more friends I spoke to, I realised that I wasn’t that person. I had tried, really hard, and ultimately just decided that running isn’t my thing. I play netball every week and am keen to try out other sports, just not ones that involve running a lot. That’s OK isn’t it?

In a bid to further validate my decision I have come up with nine excellent reasons to give up running. If you are a runner but read this list with a tear in your eye, knowing it to be true, then I hereby give you permission to shove your trainers to the bottom of the wardrobe and try something different. We simply aren’t all runners, and that’s alright.

Give up running, running is bad for you1. Running is boring. I don’t mean just a bit dull, I mean mind-crushingly tedious. Running with a partner alleviated this a little, but running on my own was practically impossible. Every time I would run for what felt like half an hour, swear blind the app must be broken, and check it to discover I had been going for six minutes. Time literally slows when you are running. I tried music, audio books, everything like that. I didn’t work. It is just too boring.

2. I hate running. I hate every bit of it – the knowing that I have to do it, the actually doing it, the thinking about it – all of it. There is a brief minute or two after you have just finished where you feel a little bit good about yourself, and then you remember that you have to do it again in 48 hours and it’s just the start of another hideous countdown.

3. Running is bad for your self-esteem. It was for me anyway. The whole time I was running I was shouting in my head ‘I hate this! I want to stop! Why can’t you breath properly? Why are you so hopeless? Stop shouting at yourself and just run you loser!’ Not kind words.

4. Running is expensive. OK, so not really, but a good pair of trainers could set you back about £100, and for that you could buy four bottles of Bombay Sapphire. Gin and tonic or jog round the park? Let me think about that…

5. It’s cold. And soggy. Perhaps winter wasn’t the best time to start.

6. I hate running. Did I mention this?

7. Running makes you spotty. I don’t know if this is actually a running fact, but I swear my forehead has got spottier since I started running.

8. Running is bad for your joints. Again, probably a myth made up by people like me to ease their guilt, but it sounds plausible doesn’t it? All that bouncing, it can’t be good for you.

9. I hate running. I may have mentioned this one already, but it’s a point worth reiterating.

*Cue flashbacks to the paper round I had when I was 14, where I got half way round, developed a migraine, and had to stop at my Gran and Grandad’s house and get them to phone the newsagent. I never did get to day two with that job.


  1. 11 February, 2014 / 2:36 pm

    I have probably given up running five times in my life already. Reading this makes me think I should probably save myself the bother from trying it again. Thank you!

    • admin
      12 February, 2014 / 9:31 am

      You’re welcome :-)

      • Kristine
        11 March, 2015 / 3:43 pm

        if I am looking up reasons online to not running anymore I probably know my answer:)

        • Jo Middleton
          11 March, 2015 / 6:30 pm

          Haha! Very true :-)

  2. 11 February, 2014 / 2:40 pm

    WOOP! Power to you my friend! It takes strength to say ‘this is not for me’ :)

    • admin
      12 February, 2014 / 9:32 am

      There is part of me that hates myself for it, but I am trying to turn it into a positive decision! I’m going to do two hours of netball training tonight instead :-)

  3. 11 February, 2014 / 2:47 pm

    I hear you! I took up running a few years back, did the Bristol 10k run a couple of times, then sort of carried on limping around the park for a while thinking I should keep it up, now I’d reached the dizzying heights of being able to run a whole 10k. But then the pressure started – when was I going to take things to the next level and do a half marathon, or an actual MARATHON?? There’s just no way I could have progressed to that level. I maintain my legs are just too darn short. While I did, on occasion, enjoy the odd jog around the downs, for the most part I approached the experience with a sense of dread. I also knackered my knees. Plus I’m a great believe that running is soooo not good for the, eherm, maturer face…

    • admin
      12 February, 2014 / 9:32 am

      I nearly added something about the bouncing and its effect on a lady’s chest… ;-)

  4. 11 February, 2014 / 2:48 pm

    I completely agree with you, I hate running and have no intention of trying again. Most of my husband’s family are runners and are always nagging me to join in – sod them I say.

    • admin
      12 February, 2014 / 9:33 am

      Hooray! Sod them indeed. Some people love it, that’s marvellous, others just don’t. Why is it that runners feel the need to try and convert everybody??

  5. 11 February, 2014 / 2:50 pm

    GF … I hear ya! Did it, managed the 5K for Race for Life (which is why I took up the stupid thing in the first place) … not run since. It’s overrated :) x

    • admin
      12 February, 2014 / 9:34 am

      Good for you for doing the 5K though! Once the box is ticked though…

  6. ClareS
    11 February, 2014 / 2:55 pm

    I also loath running… I have been seriously wondering whether to start, given that various friends are posting pics of their toned marathon-style bods and triumphant grins. But you have confirmed what I always suspected – running is NOT for me! Thanks for the reinforcement! x

    • admin
      12 February, 2014 / 9:36 am

      Enthusiastic runners do seem keen to get other people doing it too. It’s great that they enjoy it, but I do think it’s true that some people just aren’t naturally runners and will never get the same satisfaction and enjoyment from it that others seem to.

  7. Jess Barnes
    11 February, 2014 / 3:21 pm

    I thought about running last week as spring must be around that very damp, soggy corner and I feel the need to burn off the tonne of winter stodge I’ve been packing away. Just the thought of it made my knees seize up and start squeaking so I put the trainers away and reached for a hohnob.

    • admin
      12 February, 2014 / 9:37 am

      An excellent plan!

  8. 11 February, 2014 / 3:52 pm

    This thread has really made me laugh!! I have tried and failed so many times to conquer running…..I imagine I look like a Gazelle but really I’m probably channeling an uncoordinated Elephant!! Thank god for the new craze for 7 minutes exercise routines I say ( and for the next size up clothes!!!)

    • admin
      12 February, 2014 / 9:37 am

      God yes, I’m sure I looked DREADFUL! I bit like when I swim and my daughter kindly says I look like a whale having a fit.

  9. 11 February, 2014 / 4:06 pm

    I hate running too! Forever having friends wanting me to run with them. I’m happier dancing and swimming x

    • admin
      12 February, 2014 / 9:38 am

      Stick to what you enjoy Louise, that’s a secret, otherwise what’s the point??

  10. 11 February, 2014 / 4:13 pm

    I think, even if I was fit enough to run, I still wouldn’t do it – looks like a huge chore to me! However, I LOVE Zumba and I LOVE swimming, so I stick to exercises that I love, which keeps me motivated to do it.

    Good for you for giving it a try and admitting ‘defeat’ not really a defeat, but you know what I mean!

    • admin
      12 February, 2014 / 9:39 am

      Absolutely Michelle. I love playing netball, and have been doing that for two years now. Much better to find something you enjoy otherwise it IS just a chore.

  11. Ed
    11 February, 2014 / 4:40 pm

    This is the dumbest thing I have ever read.

  12. 11 February, 2014 / 5:21 pm

    It’s funny reading this after the post I wrote this morning. I love running, it makes me feel fantastic but we can’t all be the same or it would be a very boring world. At least you tried and you know now, I guess that’s a positive outcome. x

    • admin
      12 February, 2014 / 9:40 am

      It’s strange isn’t it how some things tick the boxes for some people but not for others? I would love to love running – the people I know who enjoy it talk about it in such positives ways, about how it relaxes them and clears the mind, but it just never did that for me, no matter what I did.

    • admin
      12 February, 2014 / 9:41 am

      Ooh thanks, I may watch that! I suspected 8 was very probably wrong, but one can dream :-)

  13. 11 February, 2014 / 8:28 pm

    Ooh I do not like it either – very boring, and quite frankly I look ridiculous while doing it. However I am just starting to try it again mainly because I want to get fit to prove to my husband I could beat him in a race (a drunken bet) and it seems too wet and slippy to ride my bike (which I love). You should try cycling it makes me feel like a happy go lucky kid again. :-)

    Good luck with whatever you do try next.

    • admin
      12 February, 2014 / 9:42 am

      Ah, now ‘proving husband wrong’ is an excellent reason to do it!! My partner is always trying to get me to cycle with him but I never really did it much as a child and so don’t have those happy associations. Belle and I have hired bikes a few times on holidays and it definitely is something I want to do more of.

  14. 12 February, 2014 / 1:09 pm

    I totally agree with you on this – loads of my friends told me to give it time & you will love it – I tried & I still hate it, give me a bike & I will ride for miles but like you say, running is sooooo boring! saying that I have signed up for a 5k run in the summer – but you get covered in paint so it’s not really going to be running, just a good old laugh!

  15. Nicky Richards
    12 February, 2014 / 1:11 pm

    An empowered decision to give up, well done you!!! xx

  16. Mrs McG
    12 February, 2014 / 1:15 pm

    i gave it up recently too, i actually did get some enjoyment from it but it was just sooo hard to fit into family life what with dark nights, work, kids etc.. i ended up running after the family ate then having my own dinner much later but it made me miss out.

    i recently discovered workouts on youtube, currently doing the 30day shred which i love, i can do it whenever it suits me in the privacy of my own home! and it works more areas that just the leggies :)


  17. 12 February, 2014 / 1:39 pm

    I’m not one of nature’s runners either but I persist for reasons of mental health and gluttony. However, the breakthrough for me was when I started listening to talking books while running. Suddenly not boring.

  18. Claire
    12 February, 2014 / 2:11 pm

    Totally identified with this article! I did the couch to 5k thing a couple of summers ago and worked up to running the whole 5k. I even did a 5k run for charity! But just like you, it never got ANY easier or more enjoyable, I dreaded it beforehand, hated it throughout and wanted to DIE afterwards. Eventually (after a lot of Quitter’s Guilt) I realised I’m just not meant to be a runner and that’s that!

  19. Pete
    12 February, 2014 / 3:54 pm

    It can be difficult running on your own. I personally love running but was stuck to a certain speed and distance. This is where getting a trainin plan together helps. Vary routes to make it interesting.

    I would also mention http://runstrongereveryday.com/

    Abby gives great advice on running and I find her really inspirational especially as she has been through a lot suffering from Ulcerative Colitis. Having had the same op as her, it’s great to see what you can achieve.

    If we colon-less people can run. You can too!

  20. zanuda
    12 February, 2014 / 5:42 pm

    That’s why I do not run. I could easily imagine it would be exactly the same. But I do go dancing – loved dancing all my live and play tennis, badly, got no talent, but I competitive enough to try to catch every ball.

  21. Jonet Middleton
    12 February, 2014 / 8:38 pm

    I think it is very difficult to find any form of exercise which isn’t boring, nothing beats afternoon TV a cup of tea and a Crunchie – I have lost over 2and a half stone with this exercise regime!!

  22. Jo
    13 February, 2014 / 10:33 am

    There was me thinking if Joey can run then so can I…I’ve been thinking about this for about 3 months and not actually done anything about it…I might just stick to yoga. I never was one for getting sweaty and I most definitely suffer from tomato face. Well done for trying though, you never would have known how much you hated it otherwise, now you never have to do it again, hoorah.

  23. 14 February, 2014 / 1:24 am

    I think you make excellent reasons to give up – I think the hating running is probably the highest factor on my list of never having started – that and the fact I could see some comedy moment involving me being hit in the face..

  24. 17 February, 2014 / 4:15 pm

    I love running, but this made me laugh. I feel the same way about it sometimes so it is good to know know I’m not alone. Thanks for the fun read.

  25. Phil
    21 February, 2014 / 2:54 am

    Adults tend to hate the sports they take up from scratch because they believe that they can just think about them then just do them and everything will fall into place i.e. Just do it, however the reality is different and to get anything like approaching happiness out of running you should be coached in co-ordination, flexibility,strength, speed and most importantly endurance. What you were attempting was too much endurance, too soon, continuously until it bored you to death and felt awful. If you do decide to take it up again, take those 5 words to a good coach in your area and say ‘don’t just run me round the block til I’m bored’ vary my training and work on my technique. If this continues to bore then please continue to hate running.

  26. 17 March, 2014 / 7:27 pm

    You did well sticking it out for so long! I did the couch to 5k once and gave up after the once. I almost died. I couldn’t run for 30 seconds never mind 60! And it took me about three days to recover. Running isn’t for everybody ;)

  27. christine goody
    6 June, 2018 / 11:03 am

    In my opinion, running is a form of torture. Since I ran with my father when I was 12 I have hated it. Cannot breathe properly and end up red as a beetroot. I am now 50 odd and have resisted any form of jogging and much prefer walking (in the form of golf). I always tell people you do not need to go to a gym either if you run a household. All that cleaning, bending gardening is good exercise.

    • Jo Middleton
      6 June, 2018 / 2:41 pm

      Totally with you on all of this Christine!

  28. Jackie
    7 June, 2018 / 9:06 pm

    No 3!!! I spent quite a bit of time trying to work up to a 10K a few years ago. I thought it was just me that had this constant voice in my head going ‘you’re shit at this’. I could not decide if it was me or my secondary school gym teacher. I did do the 10K in the end but was outrun by my mate’s 70-year-old mother! afterwards people were going ‘so is the half marathon next then’? Er, no!

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