I often get asked how to make running easier. If you’ve just started out on your running journey, you may be wondering if it will ever get any easier.
When you start out, it will likely feel like a struggle because you’re yet to build your aerobic endurance, stamina, strength and speed.
As with anything, running takes practice and, more importantly, patience. It will take time to get better at it whilst you prepare yourself both physically and mentally.
You may feel like giving up after the first run, but my advice to you would be to stick with it!
Excuse the pun, but running is very much a marathon and not a sprint. It can take months to build your base fitness levels if you are not used to doing any form of exercise.
There are however some simple ways to make this easier and a lot more fun! After all, running is supposed to be enjoyable, right?
Here are some simple tips on how to make running easier.
Start with Couch to 5k
Many runners mistakenly think they need to be able to run non-stop for 30 minutes or more when they first start running which is simply not true.
This is why running programmes like Couch to 5k are so popular because they offer a simple and effective way to get into running.
Couch to 5k gently eases you into a running habit. Over the years I have worked with hundreds of runners through the Couch to 5k programme and I can honestly say it works!
The plan ranges between 8 to 12 weeks and involves periods of running separated by walking intervals.
In the first few weeks, you will likely do more walking than running to build your base fitness.
Then from about week 4 onwards you will slowly ramp up the amount of running that you do, finally ending with a 35 minutes run in the last week of the plan.
Many beginner runners go on to complete their first 5k having finished the Couch to 5k programme. So if you’re looking for a gentle way to get into running, this may be for you!
Run away from home
One of the best things about running is that you can do it almost anywhere.
Whether you run in the city, in the country, on a beach or on a treadmill, there is bound to be a place yet to be uncovered where you can run.
Pick a spot that you’d love to visit and select a running route. Not only will you discover new and interesting places, you’ll be able to fit in a run while you’re at it.
If you’re planning a holiday, why not take your running gear with you. There are lots of travel companies nowadays that offer running tours in capital cities and near famous landmarks across the world.
These tours are a great way to absorb the sights and sounds of your destination, whilst you get your weekly mileage in.
Create a reward list
If you struggle to motivate yourself to go for a run, then a reward system can be a game changer.
Find those things that motivate you to complete your run. Whether it be a hot shower, a warm bath, a bar of dark chocolate or your favourite series on Netflix, treat yourself when you finish your run.
The important thing is that you don’t reward yourself after every run. This will quickly become stale.
Pick a goal and when you reach it, reward yourself every once in a while.
This is the new running craze sweeping across the running community.
Plogging (a mixture of ‘jogging’ and ‘plucking’) is an eco-friendly trend that originates in Scandinavia.
It involves collecting litter and rubbish along your running route.
So if you’re looking for a way to do your bit for the planet, then why not organise a plogging group near you.
All you need is a pair of gloves, a bin bag and set out on your run.
If you’re looking to join a plogging group near you, check out the Plogging UK Twitter page.
Run with a dog
Running with a dog is one of the best things. Dogs are so happy go-lucky – they really bring a smile to your face.
Dogs love going for a run. Their energy and enthusiasm is infectious!
This is bound to rub off on you if you’re struggling to find the motivation to get out there.
If you don’t own a dog, fear not.
Borrow My Doggy connects dog owners with dog borrowers. So if you’re looking to fill the dog-shaped void in your life, sign up today!
Run without a watch
Although I love running with a watch because you can keep track of distance, speed and pace, sometimes it feels great to run without it.
Running without a watch can take away some of the pressure to perform on every run.
The freedom and enjoyment that comes with running is best experienced when you take a more leisurely approach to your run.
You don’t have to run a set number of miles at a certain pace in order to consider it a proper run.
Simply head out the door and run whichever way you want. And remember to leave your watch at home.
Try mindful running
Mindfulness has become a hot topic over the last few years.
With our lives becoming ever more busy and increasingly crowded by technology, a lot of people are looking for ways to live in the present.
This is where mindful running comes in.
Essentially, it’s about being more mentally connected with your body and movement and not being distracted when you run.
Instead of focusing on your watch, your phone or what your next song is, simply head out on your run and connect with the landscape around you.
Feel the wind in your hair, the ground under your feet and listen to the nature around you.
It can be extremely soothing just to go out on your run without the distractions of modern life.