5 Reasons Why You Find Running So Hard

Our expectations are our biggest enemy

Kitiara Pascoe
5 min readFeb 11


Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash

I can’t count how many times friends and acquaintances have told me that they want to run but can’t. It’s too hard, they’re out of breath too quickly, they just can’t form the habit, can’t get out the door. I always want to shake them and yell ‘IT’S NOT YOU!’

‘It’s your expectations.’

Let me explain.

I started running in September 2018 because I had a lot of stuff going on in my head and running seemed like a way of calming it down. Even though I was a reasonably active person who walked absolutely everywhere, when I started running, I could only manage 500 metres before having to stop because I was so out of breath.

I’d walk for 20 seconds or so and then run again, another 500 m before it felt like my lungs were going to burst. It felt pretty embarrassing. Why couldn’t I run? Maybe running just wasn’t for me.

A few months later I was running along a narrow footpath and there were two women in front of me running much slower. I didn’t want to go past them because I knew that I would need to stop and walk soon enough and then they’d probabaly just overtake me again. So I just jogged behind them and simmered with resentment.

That was the first day I ran 5k without stopping.

1. ‘Running’ isn’t a synonym for ‘fast’

That day was a complete eye-opener. I’d been running ridiculously fast before, hence having to stop and gasp for breath every 500 metres. Perhaps it was snobbishness, or obstinateness, or just plain naivety before, but until I got ‘stuck’ behind those two women, I genuinely didn’t know that most of the time, running can be done at a reasonably leisurely pace.

Even now I can run a half marathon distance on a Sunday without too much thought, I still have to remind myself that running simply means ‘going faster than walking’. That’s it.

2. How you feel in your house is not how you’ll feel on the run

Man, this one is probably the biggest reason why so many people don’t develop a running habit and then blame themselves for not being runners. It’s…



Kitiara Pascoe

Outdoor Adventure Writer | Author of In Bed with the Atlantic (Fernhurst, 2018) | New books coming 2022 | kitiarapascoe.com | Youtube: https://bit.ly/3uQPWh3