Picking up a new sport is rarely easy. Every sport has a unique learning curve, and just as important, a unique difficulty curve.
Running is not a skill that necessarily needs to be taught. Of course, it is important to learn how your body responds to different types of shoes and workouts, but running is something that the human body is designed to do. Most of us ran as children, sprinting here and there on the playground and at home. The act of running comes naturally to most, unlike sports that require more complicated skill sets, like skiing, surfing or aiming a ball at a hoop.
As we grow older, the easy, fluid running motion that we possess as children becomes more foreign if it isn't practiced. The longer we are out of the habit of running, the more difficult it can be to pick it back up again. It's easy for beginners to watch more experienced runners effortlessly glide by on a running trail and wonder if running will ever feel that way for them. Rest assured, beginners: running gets easier.
Running at an easy pace only starts to feel "easy" once your body has grown accustomed to the motion of running and the toll that pounding the pavement takes on the legs. The length of time it takes to get used to running varies from runner to runner, but can be expected to be somewhere within the range of 1 to 4 months of training.
Hard vs. Easy: Running at Different Paces
It's important to understand the difference between easy running and hard running. Running hard never feels "easier." Over time, we are simply able to run faster and faster at the same level of discomfort. A race, when done correctly, shouldn't ever feel easy, but your ability to handle racing at a faster pace should improve. This is one of the most beautiful aspects of running: the challenge.
Racing fast and working out hard require a certain amount of discomfort that a runner grows accustomed to but, generally speaking, the easy days that separate these harder efforts should feel effortless. Once your body grows accustomed to daily or weekly training, it is vitally important to keep your easy days easy enough. There are a few easy ways to make sure that your easy days are easy enough.
More: 3 Rules for Easy Runs