Originally the title of this post was, Running Does Not Get Easier. Having finished the post and going through a number of revisions I don’t know if that is true – it might actually be easier as you will read (but I won’t admit it and I’ll deny if asked).
Since the first days I started running I have gotten faster, can go further, don’t get winded, and my muscles no longer hurt, but damn it seem like running isn’t getting any easier. If you told me when I took up running about the gains in speed, endurance, and strength I would have just assumed that that also meant that running would become effortless – a breeze or a “walk in the park”. NOPE, it is still hard. I am no longer worn out as much after I finish a run and recovery is almost immediate, but I am still sticking to my belief that running is not getting any easier.
I think when you start out running (as a beginner) it is always hard so you just push through; you knew what you signed up for and you tough it out. When you are an experienced runner and you happen to have any difficulties over a particular level, you are surprised and perceive it as being harder.
I know when I go out and have a great run I think to myself “of course it is” because I expect it should be. When I have a bad day I think “this should not be happening” considering all of my running experience. I guess what I am saying is that when all you have ever experienced is “hard” (when you are a beginner) then that is the norm. However when you only have bad/hard times occasionally (as an experienced runner), it seems worst when those times happen.
“It never gets easier, you just go faster.” Greg LeMond
So why do I, and lots of folks on the Internet, believe that running does not get easier?
Maybe it is because as I get better, I run faster and am putting in the same effort as did before. I think the another reason that it seems like running is not getting easier is because my goals continues to change as I progress in the sport. I now find my original pace impossible to run (painfully slow), and the original distance I once did I can now do without even thinking about or preparing for – in other words I have progressed and I continue to push myself the same as I did when I started.
Running really is a mental game once you are in shape. Does running get any easier? I think it does when you look at the big picture and look at the progress you have made. The problem, and the reason many ask this question, is because the difficulty of running is more of a perception rather than a fact. It is so easy to convince ourselves that we are tired, or today’s run seems hard. Running takes a commitment and sometimes we want to be doing something else, so we again convince ourselves that today is just an “off day”.
So does running get any easier? It would if we were not always trying to push ourselves to go faster or longer. In other words, running would be easier if we didn’t keep changing the rules that we expect or bodies to play by.
I guess if it is just between you and me, I’ll nod in agreement that running has gotten easier.