How To Make Running Easier, According to a Coach

THere’s a piece of wisdom from Coach Bennett at the Nike Run Club that I always think of when I’m unlacing. To put it another way, the only way to run five miles is to run five miles. It seems easy, but ultimately he points out that there are no shortcuts when it comes to running: it’s just you, your mind and your feet. That said, there are a few ways to get running feeling easier, even if the distance is non-negotiable.

When it comes to making running lighter, according to Jess Paris, an instructor at SLT Tread, it all starts with your mindset. “Running is what you make of it and there are so many ways to identify as a runner,” she says. “Some people enjoy long-distance running, others [enjoy] interval runs, others [enjoy] HIIT. There is no single definition of a runner. It really depends on the goal you are aiming for, using the right training plan and sticking to a routine.”

Sticking to a rigid definition of what a “runner” might be has you dreading the miles ahead when running really can be anything you want, Fam. “The real key is to take one step at a time and set small, achievable goals. So if your ultimate goal is to run a 5K, start with a mile, stick to that distance for about a week, and gradually increase your mileage,” says Paris. Don’t let that happen the bad memories of running the mile in 8th grade sports define your definition of running longer.

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Below, Paris shares five running tricks to help you play up your workout in a way that makes it a little (or a lot) more fun. Get ready: We’re going for a run.

How to make running easier with 5 simple tips

1. Create a running playlist that you really look forward to

See, if you don’t have music, a podcast, or an audiobook to look forward to on the go, it’s going to feel like a drudgery. “Find music that motivates you, makes you happy, and empowers you,” says Paris.

Research shows that pumping the jams while you’re sweating improves exercise performance, either by delaying that feeling of fatigue or by increasing your work capacity. It can also help you keep your pace as long as you’re not hearing something that isn’t So quickly that you exhaust yourself in the first five minutes.

2. Run in comfortable, breathable clothing and reliable shoes

Cotton t-shirts and shorts might feel comfortable the first time you put them on, but after half a mile you will be strong regretted the choice. “There is nothing worse than running in uncomfortable clothes. Look for well-fitting and breathable clothing. Find fun, cute workout clothes that you enjoy wearing when you work out—it definitely helps,” says Paris. Materials like nylon, spandex, and polyester/spandex blends will be your running BFFs.

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Of course, the footwear also plays an important role. “I cannot stress enough the importance of the right running shoes. You want to feel light and comfortable on your feet throughout your run,” says Paris, who recommends going to a running store and having experts fit you for your perfect pair. “They’ll watch you run, analyze your stride, determine if you’re pronating or supinating, and suggest specific brands of running shoes that are a little better tailored to your feet,” she says. “The wrong shoes can quickly send you into an injury spiral.”

3. Set mini-goals that pave the way to your bigger goals

“Don’t try to run five miles on day one if you haven’t run a day in your life. If you’re brand new to running, aim for a mile at a walk/jog pace,” says Paris. If you want to run a marathon one day, that’s great—but remember, everyone who’s ever run a marathon started by running a single mile.

By setting these mini-goals, you can celebrate your achievements every day—not just at the finish line.

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4. Run different distances, speeds and laps

If you get stuck in a rut, it’s probably because you’ve frequented the same three-mile loop for many times far too long. “Change things,” says Paris. “Don’t do the same workout or run the same distance every day. It will keep you more engaged and interested in the workout instead of seeing the same things on your route or doing the same intervals or HIIT exercises on the treadmill.”

You can also mix things up by running with your best friend or by joining a running club.

Mix things up with this treadmill workout:

5. Cross pull, cross pull, cross pull

“Other than sticking to your running schedule, nothing makes you a better runner than cross-training,” says Paris. “Becoming a stronger runner is so important, and it can actually be better for your training to alternate a running day with a cross-training day to build the right muscles that will ultimately make running easier.”

Paris says she likes SLT’s Pilates classes when it comes to cross-training, but you could try lifting some weights, swimming laps in the pool, rolling out your yoga mat, or following your curiosity about a different form of exercise.

Take a break from running and get in shape with this 30-minute Pilates workout at home:

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