7 Habits of Happy Runners


Learn the simple behaviors of happy runners.

7 Habits of Happy Runners
Runners consist of all ages and ability levels who either embrace or endure running for an individual purpose. Some runners, however, may not truly embrace or enjoy running. The following seven habits are simple behaviors that the happiest runners practice every day. You can incorporate them into your training and mentality to help you enjoy your next run even more.

Set Goals

Goals are defined as “the object of a person’s ambition or effort.” Similar to professional and personal goals, every happy runner will have clearly defined running goals. Start each year or running season by setting specific goals. These goals can be primarily focused on running and races, or include overall health and fitness.

Think about where you want to be as runner in the next 12 months? Do you want to improve as a runner or improve your overall fitness level? Do you want to set a new PR in an upcoming race or event? Some sample goals can include: running five times every week over the next 12 months, losing 10 pounds in six months or setting a PR in an upcoming race. Dream big goals and work hard to achieve them.

Embrace the Journey

Reaching your goals takes time, enjoy each and every workout during the journey leading up to a race. Happy runners enjoy the ongoing process of training and competing. Do not allow yourself to get too excited or emotionally drained at any point.

Happy runners embrace the journey by breaking down overall goals into smaller, weekly goals. For example, focus on improving gradually during every workout. Visualize success throughout the journey and use your training partners and time on the trail to appreciate the freedom to run.

Embracing the journey also includes embracing the weather conditions. Happy runners do not complain about the weather being too windy, too cold, too hot or too humid. Instead, they embrace the elements by preparing their mind and equipment. Embrace your freedom to run and enjoy every day spent on the trail.

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Stay Consistent

Happy runners stay focused and consistent through down days and lack of motivation. Every runner, even elite professional runners, have days when they struggle finding the motivation to run. Missed workouts will happen as life and busy schedules can easily take over. But you simply cannot let missed workouts become a habit. Pick up where you left off and be consistent with your training program.

If your schedule does not fit the requirements for the training program, find a new one that works for you and promotes consistency. Happy runners do not have to stress or worry about when they are going to run because they have a routine and program that matches their lifestyle. Stay consistent by using motivational techniques and finding a training program that fits your schedule and lifestyle.

Training Program Variation

Performing the same workouts day in and day out for weeks and months will cause any runner to lose motivation and plateau. Happy runners, however, have a training program that promotes variation. Variation can include different workout types, distances, cross training and much more.

Adding variation to the training program keeps running fresh and fun. You should never run the exact same pace for all of your runs. Instead, happy runners design each workout to have a specific focus and goal in helping them achieve their overall goals. Then, the pace should match the focus of that specific workout. For example, long runs should not be the same pace as short, recovery runs or tempo runs. Other ways to vary the training program include: interval workouts, tempo runs, speed training, fartlek, hills, trails and much more. Having a varied training program keeps the workouts exciting while also promoting overall improvements.


Sometimes runners overlook the importance of rest and recovery when a mindset of mileage and runner every day takes over. Happy runners, however, understand that rest and recovery is essential for both the mind and body. Take this time to enjoy family and friends by relaxing or participating in a hobby.
You can schedule built-in rest and recovery days into the training program, but also listen to your body. For example, if your body is stiff and sore, you might consider taking a rest day when there was a normally scheduled workout for that day. Recovery is when the improvements really happen so do not overlook the importance of weekly and consistent R&R.

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Quality Over Quantity

Happy runners recognize the importance of quality workouts over the quantity and amount of mileage. So often in the world of running, runners simply focus on weekly mileage instead of the quality and pace of the workout. Volume and miles should never be the primary focus of a training program. Instead, happy runners focus on having quality workouts every time they lace up the shoes. Over time, these quality workouts will compound much faster to result in reaching goals.

A quality 3-mile run executed at a goal pace range is much more effective than a sloppy 5-mile run ran too slow or even too fast. Follow the 3-mile run with 10-15 minutes of stretching and the quality workout just got better. Quality workouts always take priority of getting extra mileage.

Celebrate the Victories

Happy runners set goals, and they also celebrate the victories when they get there, and they even celebrate the small victories along the way – no matter how small. Invite family, friends and running partners to the celebration. Celebrating the victories can look very differently depending on the individual. For example, some happy runners will celebrate by enjoying a beer while others will relax on the couch.

Happy runners do not stop with the celebration though. After celebrating, they set new goals and start moving towards achieving them immediately. Take time to recognize your achievements and share that experience with your family, friends and running partners.


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