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How To Make Running Easier

Try our 10 expert running coach tips

Some of us may be thinking, a guide on how to make running easier? Is that even possible?

As we train, we constantly improve, opening the door to push harder and harder during each workout. However, running shouldn’t be impossible every time you step onto the road or trail. 

Some sessions in your training program, such as tempo runs and sprinting, may ask you to push yourself; however, a good portion of training, even for experienced runners, should be easy runs done at a comfortable, conversation pace. 

When new runners start, each step may feel like an impossible feat as they try to get air into their lungs and breathe stride after stride.

Even more experienced runners can go through bouts where they just can’t catch a break and enjoy their favorite hobby without feeling like they are gasping for air or struggling with legs that feel as though they are tied to the ground.

In this guide I will give you my top ten expert coach tips on how to make running easier so you can get back to loving your training and feeling a sense of accomplishment after your workouts, not defeat. 

How To Make Running Easier 1

How To Make Running Easier: The 10 Best Running Tips

#1: Warm Up Before Each Run

You’ve heard this time and time again, but it works, really! 

Running on cold muscles is no way to start a workout. You’ll feel heavy, stiff, and as though you’re already defeated before you’ve even started. Warming up properly will make running feel easier from the get-go.

Before each workout, warm up with five to ten minutes of easy jogging and another five minutes of dynamic stretching.

This should be done at a very easy effort level as you just want to get the blood flowing and heart pumping without feeling out of breath. 

Warming up will make a difference. Not only will your muscles be ready to go, but your heart rate will also have risen and begin to regulate for whatever workout lies ahead. 

If you have a speed workout on the docket, this will make it easier for you to run faster from the start and not spend the first portion pushing necessarily.

Warming up will also prepare your mind for what’s to come.

People warming up which is a way of how to make running easier.

#2: Take Walk Breaks If You Need To

This tip on making running easier is more geared toward beginner runners, as beginners often try to do too much too quickly and skip over crucial base training. 

A beginner runner should start building an aerobic base and not worry about adding speedwork from the get-go. Therefore, most training should be done at an easy, conversation pace.

While running, if you feel like you are becoming out of breath, your heart rate is rising too quickly, and you are losing control, walk. 

Walk until you can recuperate, bring your heart rate down, and get your breathing under control again.

Then, when you are back to feeling comfortable, begin to jog again. Remember, don’t take off too fast as you want to maintain your heart rate and your breathing under control. 

Little by little, you will see that you’ll be able to run for longer and longer bouts as you improve. But be patient. This takes time.  

You can follow our couch to 5K training plan for a gradual walk/run progression.

Two people walking down the road.

#3: Run In Comfortable Temperatures

Another great tip on how to make running easier is to look for comfortable temperatures and weather to run in.

The weather will vary greatly depending on the time of year and region in which you live, so run during the time of day when the conditions are most comfortable. 

If you are in the hot summer months, try running early in the morning before the sun comes up to take advantage of the cooler weather.

If you have to run in the heat, cool down your body by bringing along a bottle of cold water and dousing the back of your neck and head every so often. 

Keeping your body temperature down will also help control your heart rate,1Eijsvogels, T., Bongers, C., Veltmeijer, M., Moen, M., & Hopman, M. (2014). Cooling during Exercise in Temperate Conditions: Impact on Performance and Thermoregulation. International Journal of Sports Medicine35(10), 840–846. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0034-1368723 breathing, and overall feeling of exhaustion.

An average range for optimal running conditions for world record holders and elite athletes is within the 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit range.

During some seasons, this becomes an impossible ideal to find outdoors. With extremely oppressive heat and humidity or freezing cold temps with snow and ice, running indoors on a treadmill may help you feel more comfortable. 

A person running in the sun.

#4: Choose Your Course Carefully 

Another way of how to make running easier is to choose your route carefully. 

Choose a flat route where you won’t need to make many or any climbs at all.

Running uphill can instantly make you feel out of breath, so running on a flatter course can help ease your effort. 

If you are trail running, choose terrain that isn’t very demanding. Running on technical trails with a lot of loose rocks, mud or sand, can make running feel much harder. To feel more comfortable and expel less energy, choose gravel roads.

#5: Get The Right Gear 

During a run, there are certain things you will need depending on the distance, terrain, and total time of your workout. 

If you have a long-distance run on the schedule, be sure you have a hydration belt, pack, or bottle to hold the amount of water and electrolytes you will need for the duration of your run.

Dehydration can make running difficult and even become dangerous if not controlled. 

If you are a trail runner working uphills, think about investing in a pair of running poles.

Poles help ease the load of bringing yourself up those steep inclines. Just be sure to learn the correct technique so you aren’t working counterproductively and that they are making your climb more efficient. 

And, of course, comfortable running shoes are a must!

A close up of a hydration pack.

#6: Respect Your Rest Days 

Runners often struggle with this. We feel invincible and need to exercise every day without breaks, but this is not the case. 

Rest days and recovery days are just as important as training and can make running feel easier. Running on rested, recovered legs will make your workout experience much more enjoyable than running on exhausted, fatigued legs. 

That soreness can really slow you down and affect your posture, running form, economy, and overall performance.

Respect the rest days that your running coach has worked into your running routine, and you will feel much better when it comes time to train.

Also, if you feel like you need a break from the pounding and impact of running, you can always switch out one of your easy run days for a cross-training day. Biking, elliptical, rowing and pool running are some great options.

#7: Stay Consistent

This tip for how to make running easier is a pretty basic one that I tell all of my athletes. Stay consistent with your training! 

If you are irregular with your training, skip days or weeks, and try to jump back in, you will most certainly feel that running is impossible. 

With dedication and regularity in your training, you will continue to improve and feel stronger every week and month. 

To help maintain consistency, try forms of motivation such as scheduling a race, running with others, making an inspirational playlist, or keeping a running log or journal.

Get inspired by watching the New York or Boston Marathon and aspire to participate in these races one day.

People in a gym doing squats.

#8: Strength Train

To feel optimal strength as a runner and help reduce your risk of injury, hitting the gym twice a week is imperative.

Training sessions can be short and to the point and must be focused on running-specific exercises. Examples of these exercises include squats, lunges, deadlifts, calf raises, step-ups, planks, and pull-ups. 

Focus on your lower body, but include some upper body work as well.

A strong, fit body prepared specifically for running will make running easier. Your joints will be protected, you won’t tire as quickly, and your muscles will thank you for the work you’ve put into them to be able to run faster and longer runs

#9: Eat Well & Hydrate

Trying to work out with a caloric deficit will feel like an uphill battle in and of itself. If you are not running for weight loss, you need to ensure you eat enough to maintain your body weight.

Be sure to fuel appropriately in all aspects of your life and training.

For day-to-day, eat a nutritious, balanced diet taking in sufficient calories for your weight and workload. For workouts and training sessions, eat a pre-run snack at least one hour before and fuel afterward with a recovery drink, snack, or protein shake. 

If you run long runs, you must fuel during your training with carbohydrate sources such as energy gels, bars, gummies, sports drinks, or even solid food. This will help you avoid hitting the wall or bonking during a training session. 

Lastly, hydrate thoroughly throughout the day. Carrying a water bottle around with you at all times is a great way to ensure you are constantly consuming fluids. 

A person opening a water bottle.

#10: Run With Others

Another fantastic way how to make running easier is to run with others!

Either join a local running club or find buddies to join you on your workouts and long runs. Chatting while running is a great way to ensure you stick to a conversation pace while working your cardiovascular base. It also makes the time fly by. 

If you have to do a speed workout, having others push along makes the training session even better. You know everyone around you is also giving it their all, and it truly helps to have others push you along, and you can push others along as well. 

All of these distractions are great ways how to make running easier. 

So, if running has made you feel down in the dumps lately, like you’re giving it your all but getting nowhere, try my ten tips on how to make running easier to see if they help you ease the load. 

As I mentioned, strength training is key whether your training to run your first mile run, or first half marathon.

Read our complete guide to strength training for runners to get started today; no personal trainer is necessary!

References

  • 1
    Eijsvogels, T., Bongers, C., Veltmeijer, M., Moen, M., & Hopman, M. (2014). Cooling during Exercise in Temperate Conditions: Impact on Performance and Thermoregulation. International Journal of Sports Medicine35(10), 840–846. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0034-1368723
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Katelyn is an experienced ultra-marathoner and outdoor enthusiast with a passion for the trails. In the running community, she is known for her ear-to-ear smile, even under the toughest racing conditions. She is a UESCA-certified running coach and loves sharing her knowledge and experience to help people reach their goals and become the best runners they can be. Her biggest passion is to motivate others to hit the trails or road alongside her, have a blast, and run for fun!

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