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 of your training plan sessions may ask you to push it; however, a good portion of training, even for experienced runners, should be at a comfortable, conversation pace.
When beginners start, each step may feel like an impossible feat, just trying to get air into your 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.
This guide will look at 10 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.
Here we go!
How To Make Running Easier: 10 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.
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. Warming up will also prepare your mind for what’s to come.
#2: Take Walk Breaks If You Need To
This tip for how to make running easier is more geared toward beginner runners, as often beginners 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 intervals and 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.
#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. Depending on the time of year and region in which you live, the weather will vary greatly, so run during the time of day where the weather conditions are most comfortable.
If you are in the hot summer months, try and run early in the morning before the sun comes up to take advantage of the cooler weather and beat the sun. If you have to run in the heat, cool your body down by bringing along a bottle of cold water and douse the back of your neck and head every so often.
Keeping your body temperature down will also help control your heart rate, 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, choosing to run indoors on a treadmill may help you feel more comfortable.
#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 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.
#6: Respect Your Rest Days
Runners often have a hard time with this. We feel invincible and need to exercise every day with no breaks. This, however, is not the case.
Rest days and recovery is just as important as your training and can make your running feel easier. Running on rested, recovered legs will make your workout experience much more enjoyable than running on exhausted, fatigued legs.
Respect the rest days that are worked into your training plan, and you will feel much better when it comes time to train.
#7: Stay Consistent
This tip for how to make running easier is a pretty basic one. 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 consistent, try forms of motivation such as scheduling a race, running with others, or keeping a running log or journal.
#8: Strength Train
To feel optimal strength as a runner, it is imperative to hit the gym twice a week.
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.
A strong, fit body that is 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 longer and faster.
#9: Eat Well & Hydrate
Trying to work out with a caloric deficit will feel like an uphill battle in and of itself.
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 will need to fuel during your training with either energy gels, bars, gummies, carbo-filled 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.
#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 aerobic base. It also makes the time fly by.
If you have to do a speed workout, having others pushing along with you 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 10 tips on how to make running easier to see if they help you ease the load.
For more specific information on strength training workouts that you can add to your weekly routine, check out our strength training for runners guide, here.