“I hate running.”

“I don’t have the body type for running.”

“Running is stupid.”

When I talk about running with others, these are the responses I typically get.

As the endurance guy at Crossfit Seymour, what’s surprising to most people is that I used to feel the same way.

Growing up, I never ran more than a mile continuously.

In sports, I was slower than most of my teammates and was terrible with conditioning.

I hated running.

Fast forward to today: Running is the foundation of my fitness.

My relationship with running began in 2009, and believe me, it wasn’t love at first sight.

I made a lot of mistakes and had many setbacks along the way, but now I can’t imagine my life without it.

I want to share the six biggest lessons I learned over the years to help you meet running on more enjoyable terms:

1) Start slow! By slow, I mean walking. Can you walk a mile comfortably? Great! Now add some 30-second segments of slow jogging on your walk. Over time, you will begin to jog longer periods and walk less. It took me a month of this pattern before I could comfortably jog a continuous mile, and my pace was around 12 to 13 minutes per mile.

2) Don’t compare yourself to others. This can lead to the most frustration with running and is the reason I hated conditioning in team sports. When I tried to keep up with my teammates, I usually failed and physically felt horrible afterwards. When I started running by myself at my own pace, there was no pressure to go faster than what felt comfortable.

3) Set small goals. My first goal was to run the Oktoberfest 5K in 2009. After completing it, I signed up to run a marathon three months away. Turns out, that wasn’t such a bright idea. Striving for big goals too soon can lead to major setbacks that may cause you to give up all together. Be patient and celebrate your milestones along the way.

4) Find a mentor. This could be a running coach, a good friend or even a running group. Finding a more experienced runner who you trust will hold you accountable and provide encouragement along your journey. There are plenty of people in our community who want to help you succeed.

5) Know your why. There will be times when you question why you are doing this, and things won’t always go according to plan. If you believe in your reason for making a change, you can weather the storms and come out even stronger.

6) Hit the trails. Going for a long run on the road is boring and hurts after so much pounding.

Jackson County is blessed with beautiful trails at the forestry in Brownstown, Starve Hollow, and even around the soccer fields at Freeman Field. You’ll save your knees and enjoy nature, a win-win in my book.

Nathan Otte is a Level 1 USA Triathlon coach at CrossFit Seymour. This is the second of a series of columns by coaches from CrossFit Seymour on fitness tips. The columns will appear monthly in The Tribune.