It’s hypothesized that human ancestors first started to run nearly 2 million years ago – so why is it the case that running doesn’t feel any easier after all this time? (Plot twist: endurance running for the sole purpose of exercise wasn’t a thing until fairly recently).
Whether it’s the 1st kilometer or the last, running can feel like the most difficult thing you do in your day. You’d think that getting into running would be a less cumbersome exercise.
This is especially true for many beginner runners. For a lot of new runners, getting into running is an economical way to stay fit. After all, to get started you don’t need much – just a pair of running shoes and clothes that you’re comfortable sweating in. But the running part is where the pain and discomfort can begin – which begs the question, does running get easier for beginners?
Yes and No at the same time.
Answering this question is a tough one. I’ve been running for several years now and the answer is simultaneously yes and no.
Yes – running gets easier. Like most things, the more you practice – the better you become. The same is true for running. Beginning to run can feel difficult because it’s not something your body is used to. The more you make running part of your weekly schedule, the more familiar your body will become with the motion. And slowly, over time, your 5k usual route will get easier to run. The motion you were once uncomfortable with, will become more comfortable. You might get less winded, feel less sore, and require less breaks – all of which indicate that running is in fact, getting less difficult.
But at the same time, running doesn’t get easier. But you do get better. Depending on your personal running goals, you might want to get faster, run farther, or both. What first started off as a fun way to keep fit, might end up turning into a life-long passion where you’re chasing after your next personal best. And as you already know, your next PB is the result of putting in the work and practicing until you’re better – which also means that at some point, running may feel hard again.
Why you should still give running a chance
Anything worth having doesn’t come easy. It’s inspiring seeing people run their first 5k, 10k, half and full marathons – but what you often don’t see is them putting in the time and practice to be ready for race day.
So on your next run, when things feel hard and you feel like stopping – just keep in mind that not every run needs to be perfect. Take it easy on yourself – take breaks, stop when you need to, and remember that it’s consistency that will make the difference in the end. Eventually, you’ll improve and running will get easier. Just trust the process.