Sunday, August 3, 2014

Running never gets easy

Today's run (street): 5.4

It was just about six years ago when I decided to get serious about my diet and fitness. I wasn't planning to start running. That happened after a few weeks of morning treadmill walks leading to longer walks around the neighborhood. At one point during a walk, I decided to run to the end of the street. I remember how difficult it was to just do that. I figured that running would get easier, and then finally become easy.

Six years later, despite building fitness and developing an aerobic base, I still think that running is hard. Unless I'm doing long slow distance, I usually experience some level of discomfort during a run. Over time, I've learned to manage - even embrace - a certain degree of suffering. If I had known that this would be the case six years ago, would I have continued to try?

With yesterday's hot, hard and humid five miles on the treadmill, I was prepared to struggle today. The first mile reinforced that. As I ran, I felt frustrated with the level of effort that I was expending so early in the run. It was humid and cloudy, but fortunately not that hot. I headed to "neighborhood #2" for a change of scenery and to eat up some distance along one of my favorite straightaways.

After a while, my effort started to feel easier. I took the opportunity to increase my pace and ended up running negative splits. I thought it was interesting that, during the run, I'd reconciled myself to a laborious effort only to experience a rare easy training run. I'm also happy to report that I nudged closer to my targeted 18 miles week. That 4:00 AM run on Wednesday did the trick.


  1. 18 miles! That's great! The negative splits are a wonderful achievement too! I started a blog post over the weekend, but have yet to finish it. Running is put on hold for a few weeks while this groin tear heals. :(

  2. I actually said, "Oh no!" when I saw your FB post. When I first started running, I made the mistake of doing hard intervals without a warm-up and had a similar injury. It finally healed after a month - very frustrating!

    1. Your title is very deceiving. I'm glad you did have an easy run and feel somewhat positive about it all. If your running had not gotten easier at some point in the past six years, I would say maybe it's not for you. This is not the case, as evidenced by the end of your post. Some days are hard, some are not. That's the nature of the beast. Kudos for carrying on. THAT is the hardest part.

    2. Thanks. It is truly the nature of the beast. When we get through a tough run we feel pride and accomplishment. Sometimes I'm surprised that I can get myself outside knowing I'm facing a rough workout, but I have no intention of stopping!

  3. I haven't been running as long as you, but I agree. I don't think that it gets easier, really, we just get more able to tolerate it. Or something. Running will never be EASY for me, but it has become a part of me, so I'm just willing to put in the effort. Well, most days. =)

  4. One of my favorite running quotes is by Haruki Murakami, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” If you're going to run, you're going to endure some discomfort. To your point, we as runners feel the pain but we learn to tolerate it.

    When we meet our commitment and finish a tough run, the end result always feels worth it. However, I'll admit to using the mantra "I hate this, I hate this" more than once : )


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