Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Easy Running Defined

Karen posted some food for thought on her blog about easy running. She's currently teaching a Learn to Run clinic and someone asked her "When does it become easy?" Considering that I am still struggling with having more bad runs than good runs right now it has definitely made me ponder. Here are some questions she posed:
  • What does easy running mean to you? My definition of easy running is the feeling that you could keep running forever. You are happy to be outside, you marvel at the scenery and you don't even notice what your legs are doing and your breathing is effortless. All of a sudden you stop, look down at your watch and marvel at how fast you've been running or how far you've gone because you barely even noticed.
  • Has it ever been so? Yes - the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco felt relatively easy to me. The weather was perfect, the scenery was amazing and I couldn't believe how fast I was running and that I didn't feel the need to stop and walk. I've had training runs that felt that way too, but it has never quite come together as well as it did that day in San Francisco.
  • What is an easy run for you? There isn't necessarily a definition of distance or time. Sometimes a 2 miler feels worse than a 10 miler. The greatest realization for me what when I knew I could run out and finish 6 miles any day of the week, where as back when I started 6 miles seemed like an insurmountable goal.
  • When did it happen for you, how, and why? I'm not sure I can answer this. After running for awhile you start to realize that every time you go out it feels just a bit better than the last time. Then the next run may be a stonker, so just because you finally experience an easy run doesn't mean that every run is going to feel that way.
  • Is easy running a good thing? Yes, definitely so! Once you experience that runner's high I think it pulls you in to keep you coming back for more. It would be pretty demotivating if it felt like running continuously sucked for weeks/months/years on end. What would be the motivation to keep going, to keep doing it? I think you have to have faith that when you first start out it will take you awhile before you like it, but one day it will happen.
  • If not, do you ever hope to experience an easy run? Boy, do I ever hope I go back to feeling like runs are easy (or easier) on a consistent basis. I miss that feeling and I want it back...

What are your thoughts? Feel free to comment here, or hop on over to Karen's site to let her know.


Amanda said...

Wow San Fran was my worst run ever...ever...but you're right everything was there for a good run.

Trail Running said...

This was a great post, much better than I would have been able to articulate. We usually have 'easy' runs after a hard workout or race. But there was always someone in our group that decided to pick it up. So maybe I don't know what easy is..

Downhillnut said...

Heh, "stonker" I like that word.

Thanks, Leana, for your thoughtful answers! The answers will be different for everyone, and it's cool to compare reactions this way.

Danielle said...

That is exactly how I'd define an easy run...well...when you're not talking the "easy run" that is called for on a training plan...being able to run forever...and seeing that your pace is much faster than you thought...I ALMOST had that yesterday. I miss my 2006 training up to my June marathon...every single run felt easy.

Speed Racer said...

You've had a "runner's high"? I've still never felt anything like what other people describe. What does it feel like?

I don't know if the running itself ever gets easier, but I think the "I hate this, I hate this!" voice in your head shuts up eventually.

My dad asked me the other day, "Do you actually ENJOY working out?" I told him, "Not always, but that's why I love it." Now I'm trying to figure THAT one out.