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When Does Running Get Easier?

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Updated May 16, 2014

Woman running for exercise
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Question: When Does Running Get Easier?

"I started a "learn to run" program three weeks ago and I thought running would be easier by now. I'm still struggling through the run portions of the run/walk workouts. When does running get easier?"

Answer: This is a very common question among new runners and there isn't one answer that fits everyone, since beginner runners sometimes struggle for different reasons. It takes time to build cardiovascular fitness and for your body to make physical adaptations. Many new runners find that the turning point is when they can run continuously for 30 minutes. At that point, they start to feel more comfortable and confident.

So, it takes a little bit of patience to build up your fitness and get to a point where running feels easier. In the meantime, there are some things that you can do that will help make running more comfortable and enjoyable.

 

  • Don't worry about your pace. Beginner runners should run all their runs at an easy, conversational pace, which means that you can talk comfortably (in full sentences) with someone as you're running.
  • Make sure you're breathing easily. Another way to make sure that you're not running too fast is to make sure you're not out of breath. If you're huffing and puffing at any point during the run, slow down and make sure you can take deep breathes.
  • Increase your mileage and running time slowly. As you're increasing your distance or the time of your running segments, make small jumps so your body can adjust to the increase in stress. Avoiding doing too much too soon will also help you prevent running injuries.
  • Win the mental battle. Some beginner runners are actually physically fit enough to run a certain distance, but they don't have the confidence or mental strength to push themselves farther. In many cases, it's simply "mind over matter." Try to distract yourself by playing mind games, choosing new running routes, or running with other people.

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