9 Reasons Why People Quit Running And How Not To

by | 7 Nov 2020 | Running motivation, New runners

Benefits of running, mental as well as physical, are well known and are the main reason why many take up running. From that starting point onwards we all take different journeys.

Many will be happy to jog several times per week or maybe explore their limits by following various running programs. Some will get very enthusiastic, run often and develop their running further. Some will start participating in races, long distance running or coaching.

However, there will be those who will decide that running is probably not what they expected and will quit. When it comes to quitting running some will give it a good thought but some will simply walk out of there and never look back.

So, what are the reasons why previously enthusiastic novices decide to quit running? And are there ways to persuade them to stay?

1. Running is hard

If you’ve spent most of your life not being very active, taking up running will come as a shock to the system. Even a minute of moderate jogging can make you lose your breath and the leg and back muscles will hurt the following day.

If you are very self-conscious it can make things even worse when running in public, whether in the gym or out in the park.

You’ve heard all those guys talking about how they run long distances without a problem, some mention ‘runners high’, there will be those boasting about marathon races, and there you are, feeling nothing but pain while covered in sweat.

Not very lovable, is it?

Solution:

Every beginning, whatever you do, is at least awkward if not hard. If you start lifting weights your whole body will hurt, and that’s how it should be. It takes time to ‘teach’ your body new tricks and adapt to the new regime.

The longer you do it, the better you’ll become. The better you become, the easier it gets. The easier it gets, the more you grow to like it.

It’s literally that simple. Patience through time will get you there.

runners are less visible to drivers when it rains

2. Not losing ANY weight even though you run

Many start running in order to lose that stubborn lump of belly fat. I was one of them. We gain weight over a period of time when we are eating more and exercising less, if exercising at all. We all know that cardio exercises can help us get in a better shape and, ultimately, lose weight.

Except, nobody says it is not going to be easy.

I know people who expected immediate results and when they realised that there weren’t any, their motivation was shot down. People run a few miles and as a result lose 200-300 calories. When they get home they feel hungry after the workout and treat themselves with, say, a 400 calorie slice of pizza.

Simple math tells me that you’ve just gained 100 calories, rather than lost 300.

Solution:

The fact is, when it comes to weight loss running is probably the best workout. But it’s also worth noting that the frequency and intensity of running will play a large part in it. High intensity sprints will burn way more than a slow jog.

Running also benefits from ‘afterburns’ where you are still burning calories while sitting down between the runs. How about that, eh?

The point is, you need to intensify your running, make it a regular 3 times per week, 30 minutes per run affair and introduce some higher intensity sprint work in order to create the calorie imbalance where you burn more than you eat. In other words, you need to pay attention to your diet!

It’s also very beneficial if you take up some strength training which will make you a stronger runner and as a result less prone to injuries AND you’ll burn more calories.

When you mix those factors, you will be able to see the results as you WILL start to lose weight.

3. Difficult to ‘find’ time for running

That’s when ‘life interferes’. Running is a pastime and there are other, more important things in life to deal with. As a result we put the running schedule on hold sometimes.

Days can be really short and lives can be awfully busy. Why would we then create more load by running around in cold and dark? I won’t even have time to watch a film in the evening!? Surely, I MUST watch a film in the evening, my life would be incomplete if I didn’t.

Solution:

When I knew I’d have a busy day ahead, I ran before dawn. Even in the winter. Is that normal? Well, it worked for me. All I had to do was squeeze 30 minutes of running into my busy day, no excuses. I then learned to run during lunch break at work or right after work.

If you are marathon training it is very likely that it will dominate your life, it will consume a lot of your time. However, a regular 30 minute run, only three times per week is not that difficult to accommodate. Think of benefits and you’ll find time.

4. My running partner quit running

Friends can be powerful influencers. People do lots of things with friends. Go out and watch movies, support their sports team, run together, even join a local choir and sing their hearts out together.

And then a friend leaves the activity and for some reason all those good vibes start to evaporate.  Movies become black and white, bum notes start creeping into your singing and running……..is no fun any longer. Parks have become cold and uninviting, running monotonous as you are missing your friend’s chirpy voice that is now nothing but a distant memory.

Solution:

Run without friends.

5. I’ll never be a runner, I’d better quit

In the beginning it’s all about wide-eyed enthusiasm. We sail across those first obstacles and then, inevitably, we start comparing ourselves to others. Pretty much the worst thing that we can do.

We are not blind to the fact that many are faster than us (I never fully got that obsession with speed). We also notice that many other runners are better built than us. They move with more ease. We then figure out that we struggle to cover a 1 mile distance and this other guy covers an ultra marathon and lives to tell the tale. And then we see those runners on TV who break world records, and then, and then……….

Solution:

You run. Hence you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow, lean or not, you’re still defined as a runner if you run. When you see those 8 guys on telly competing in the 100m final, 7 of them will lose that race. Will they then quit? Remember, you are unique and you are doing this for yourself. Relax and be yourself.

use old shoes to run in the rain and get wet

6. Injuries

Amateur runners get injured more than amateur swimmers, who are very unlikely to break a knee when slowly negotiating a pool by exercising a breaststroke. Running injuries can be quite serious and if unlucky, they can be repetitive.

Being injured is frustrating at best. If your foot is badly hurt and you cannot walk, you will be more than just frustrated. I hurt my knee, then the achilles and then rounded it all up with an ankle injury. Was I thinking of quitting? No, but I did question my ability to run. I thought that maybe it wasn’t suitable for me.

Solution:

While some running injuries like runner’s knee can sideline you for weeks on end, if not longer, many other injuries can be fixed relatively easily. The key is to understand why you are getting hurt. There is a reason for that. A reason that may be controlled and as such it can be avoided.

Most running injuries can be traced directly to our running shoes. All three of mine were so I changed the shoes, got a better pair.

Sometimes we overtrain or force a wrong running technique. Visit a good physio and figure out what exactly is causing you that misery, develop a plan and stick with it. I did all that and managed to avoid a running related injury for over 4 years.

7. It’s just boring

If something is not enjoyable there’s every possibility that it will begin to develop into a problem. Running in the park, no matter how beautiful the trees and flowers are and how hard the birds are trying to sing, can simply become – boring. Whether it’s the lack of enthusiasm, interest or motivation, once running boredom sets in it can be hard to snap out of it. This is not something that we choose or wish to happen, it can simply arrive unannounced and hit hard.

Solution:

Try and decide if actual running is boring, or it’s the events and scenery that surround it.

If you genuinely believe that running as an activity does nothing for you then it’s probably time to call it a day. You’ll never throw me in the pool with other people and make me enjoy it so I can relate to that issue. I’d say, try a different cardio activity. For as long as you’re active your body will benefit.

If you are keen to run then we can address the boredom separately. Mix it up a bit. Change your running schedule, routes, t-shirt even. Spice it up! Start a different program, change your targets, think of signing up for races or join a running club.

Keep it fresh, entertain and amuse your brain, don’t let it think of boredom. Brain can be tricked and once that’s done, you’re winning.

it is dangerous to run in stormy weather with thunder and lighting

8. It’s expensive

That happens very early. You’ve picked up running because it’s easy to go out and simply run. No joining fees, no schedule, just you running towards the setting sun. And then you figure out that in order to run comfortably you’ll need proper shoes.

Proper costs money.

Cotton t-shirts cause excess sweating so you’ll need one or two or more of those tech tops that wick away the sweat off your skin. They don’t come free of charge either.

In order to follow a program where heart rate monitoring is a must, you’ll need a running watch. Now we are talking money.

And then there’s weather. You begin to dislike cold, dark and windy days. What’s the alternative? Running in the gym. And what does that mean? A subscription fee. And what’s that about? Money. ‘I’m not paying for all that, I don’t even know if I’ll run in 3 months’ time’, I hear you say.

Solution:

It’s perfectly normal to start something and then after a while you realise that the new thing isn’t really for you and you then end up with a massive concert piano in your small room. Or a priceless violin.

When it comes to running, yes, you’ll have to buy decent shoes but in the beginning all that matters is that they fit well. Don’t go experimental and buy the most expensive thing on that shiny shelf, no need for that. Tops and shorts can be very affordable and of good quality. Famous brands will cost you but you’ll find similar quality for a lot less money.

You don’t need a watch when you start running, that comes later. Once you really need a watch, you will be a proper runner anyway.

And as for the weather? A bit of wet and cold won’t harm you, if anything it will make you feel really good about yourself!

9. I’m here for the bling only

You are approaching the landmark birthday. It’s very special. You’ll celebrate it only once. Bungee jump off that tall cliff to mark it? Learn to play the violin to a concert level in three easy weeks? Or maybe take up running and train to run 5K? Or, come on let’s go wild, run the marathon with minimum training and no experience!

While many people start running for specific health benefits, there are people who will train to achieve a certain target for no other reason but tick the box. Bungee? Check. Drove Ferrari as a birthday gift? Check. Dyed my hair jet black and ran up and down the high street dressed like a goth? Check. Completed a running program then quit running straight after? Check.

Solution:

Solution: There is nothing wrong with completing a running program and sharing the news with your friends. That’s one of the points of what runners do. We train, we achieve, we share, we hope to inspire.

But here’s something that I’m missing.

In order to complete the simplest beginners program, say Couch to 5K, you will need to train three times per week for nine weeks, if all goes well. Many take longer. Marathon training if done properly will take months, even if you are experienced. Both programs are designed to enable your body to grow stronger and take you through various tasks in order to achieve something that previously you could only dream of.

Only for you to drop it all once completed?

By doing that, your body will lose all the hard gained fitness, the muscles will return to their former inactive selves and all you will have is the knowledge that you got somewhere, got the bling and then literally quit.

We are all different and do similar things for various reasons but to quit running after having achieved one target is similar to quitting reading after having learned all the letters. It’s a lifelong positive journey designed to yield benefits and not just a short fix.

Think about it for a moment.

Sometimes a hobby becomes a life occupation and we become really good at it. Sometimes we struggle but still try to stay with it, especially if we understand the benefits. But there are times when the hobby might prove to be more than we can tolerate and so we decide to move on.

At times the reasons are simple and obvious. I took one fall when attempting to learn skiing to understand that skiing was not for me.

Running is different, we are born and designed to run. Health benefits are numerous. It really can be great fun and can be done alone, in groups and in many places.

If you decide to call it a day, think about it, see if you can work around the problem. And even if you finally decide to quit and do leave, the door for your return will remain open! That’s always good to know.

Cover photo by Tobi from Pexels

Have you ever considered quitting running? How did you manage to stay? I’d love to hear about your experiences and thoughts 👇

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I hope that sharing my story, and what I have learned along this journey, will inspire you to get started and to keep going. To keep striving and being the best you can be. In running and in life.

Be.Your.Best.

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