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Why Your Running Is Not Getting Easier And What To Do About It.

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    Running has become a part of my life. I love the feeling of being able to run freely without worrying about life or day to day stresses.

    Running also, for me, has been a great way to stay fit and healthy.

    For years, as a seasoned runner, I have enjoyed my running, I have had difficult patches where my mojo went awol, but I have been pretty consistent.

    And tended to think most other people felt the same.

    However, I started noticing that people I was coaching and talking to found their running wasn’t getting easier. It seemed to be getting harder.

    So how come?

    Often as humans, we expect a new skill to be easier to master than it is.

    Then take something like running that we are told we can all do…

    It should not be surprising that so many new or novice runners are frustrated with their progress.

    So in this article, I am going to look at several areas 

    • How to become a better continuous runner and what that means.
    • Running habits that help you become a more consistent runner.
    • Strategies that help you get over the hump of your running being a continuing slog and how you can transition to running that has more flow and less resistance attached to it and, in the end, make you a strong runner.
    • Plus, does age make a difference in improving as a runner?

    How Long Will It Take To Become A Better Runner?

    So one of the questions that beginner runners ask is how long does it take for running to become easier?

    We all think pretty understandably that running is quite natural. And it is. And there is a certain amount of nuances loaded into this question because it’s a lot to do with the runner’s expectations.

    However, the levels of endurance we have will be a lot dependent on our natural ability, age and past activity and present daily exercise.

    Struggling With Continuous Running? Here’s Why…

    So let’s assume that you’re entirely new to running. Your foundation for running is aerobic capacity. This means this is what will enable you to run continuously. So, for example, if you can’t run for say 15  minutes continuously at the moment. Then when you try and run longer than that, it becomes challenging, and you see running as something difficult.

    What you need to do is build up your aerobic base. This is done by doing slower, more steady runs and being patient with yourself because you need your body to understand what you’re achieving.

    So you’re much better suited to get out in runs that you can cope with. So if you can’t run, for example, for longer than 15 minutes, initially go out for 10 minutes, or go out for a walk-run strategy. This can be a great bridge between running consistently and walking.

    So there are ways that you can make a transition from being a complete novice runner that finds running difficult and a runner that can run consistently for 20 minutes plus.

    So What Time Frame  Will It Takes For My Body Take To Adapt To Running?

    The other question that gets asked is how long will this adaption take for my body to recognise that I want to be a runner in a world where we’re used to instant results and instant gratification.

    Sometimes, realising that our body doesn’t play the same game. But like I said earlier, it depends on where you’re starting from, as a runner, how much experience you have, how to fit you presently are.

    Those factors will determine how long it takes your body to adapt.

    I can share with you if you try and take your body beyond what it’s capable of in a rush to get results more quickly. Your body will respond with niggles and injuries. So you are much better suited to being patient, and the rewards of running will reveal themselves in good time.

    So how often should you run as consistently as you can at the time that you start running?

    I know that isn’t much of an answer. But if you can run two days a week and find three days too hard, then it’s better to do two consistent days. Then have a third day and mean that you have to take a week off afterwards because you’re so tired.

    Make Sure You Allow Time To Recover After A Workout.

    Many new runners aren’t were that recovery is an essential basis for successful running as the running itself is

    I find having a consistent training plan. Vital for beginner runners. The reason for this is those beginner runners tend to begin with higher levels of enthusiasm. And this tends to mean that they overdo it, try and run further than their present ability, which often means that they swing the other way entirely. And become very, very inconsistent runners.

    So there becomes this vicious circle of starting with great enthusiasm and then getting disheartened and stopping because it’s too hard.

    The unfortunate reality is that the truth is somewhere in the middle. Steady wins the race, or at least steady wins the race concerning becoming a more consistent runner that can run further, and their running becomes easier because this is really how you condition your body to respond robustly to the demands you are putting on it by running.

    This may not be very sexy to some people, but this is the reality. As mentioned earlier, I think a crucial area is recovery. I see so many runners not taking enough recovery time.

    So, How Much Recovery Time Do You Need?

    Yet again, it will be determined very much by your fitness levels, your age, and the goals you have as a runner. But it’s not unusual for runners to have out of a seven day week, three or four recovery days, as I say, depending on their goals.

    And these recovery days are even more critical when you’re beginning your journey as a runner because your body is not used to running so it takes longer for your body to get over the exertion of running.

    So always keep in mind that recovery is an as important part of your running journey as running is itself.

    The Inner Game Of Running Breeds A Better Running Habit.

    I’ve already mentioned consistency, and I think attached to consistency is forming good habits around running itself and tracking your habits.

    So to make sure that you are consistent, one of the main habits is to have a plan that you can follow that you know where you are in that plan.

    This gives you an overview of how you’re doing and where you are on the journey. Also, that enables you to track the advancements you’re making or lack of advance, and it gives you a chance to look back and see the improvements you’ve made.

    I think the habit is also about the mindset that you carry. I call this the inner game of running.

    I think for beginner runners that start on their journey. That inner game of overcoming the resistance that your brain will likely throw up at you is an integral part of running. It’s too often overlooked. Because if you always believe what your mind is telling you, there’s a good chance that you aren’t going to be as consistent as you need to build up that aerobic strength and endurance that will mean that your running becomes more manageable.

    So, for example, there will be times when you won’t feel motivated. And for many beginner runners. This, for them, seems to be a sign that they shouldn’t go running. I’m going to use a slightly dirty word here.

    You need to create an arena of discipline.

    What do I mean?

    Well, you almost have to what I call to run in zombie mode. Zombie mode is what I tell a lot of my runners to do if they’re lacking motivation.

    Your brain loves telling you to do easy things. So yes, eating that big cake. Having that extra glass of wine is never complicated. We’re always motivated, to do that.

    But weirdly, when it comes to getting up early to go out on that run, your brain never seems that keen to do that. And this is where my zombie mode comes in.

    I tell runners to get up and ignore what’s ever going through their minds just to put their running kit on and whatever protests their brain is giving to acknowledge the thoughts them but ignore them and not act on them, simultaneously.

    And get those trainers on and go out for the run.

    Now, this might sound alarmingly simple. Put on a blog like this. However, it’s powerful because it bypasses the thing that stops most runners from getting out, which isn’t running itself, but the inner chatter that they’ve got going in their mind, which for many runners they aren’t even aware of is going on. They get into it. And if you go into zombie mode, two things happen.

    You acknowledge the inner chatter and become more aware of how it can hold you back.

    Now, what if you get out for more runs. Two things happen.

    • You improve as a runner.
    • You build up an entire library of success so that you’ve got more resolve to overcome that chattering monkey within your mind when it turns up prior to your next run because you’ve got a library of successes to fall back on.

    Plus, you get out for more runs.

    Training Your Breathing. A Great Exercise To Try For Easier Running

    The way you breathe when you run can significantly impact how easy it is to run or how hard now. There are many, many articles written about breathing.

    One great tip is to run as comfortably as possible while breathing through your nose. Now, for some people, this may not be possible, so you may need to start with your mouth closed and walk and see if you can breathe through just your nose comfortably.

    I suggest this because it means that you will never run faster than you can breathe. If you start breathing through your mouth, you’re panting more like a dog, and you will have the likelihood that you will run faster than your aerobic system can handle, ending in you having to stop.

    If you breathe through your nose with your mouth closed, then you will tend to find that you’re running is self-regulating. What I mean by that is, if you try to run faster than you can breathe through your nose, you will slow down.

    Now, the only caveat with this is if you’ve never done this, as I’ve said earlier, I would suggest initially trying this out just by walking and seeing how you feel because many people have got used to breathing through their mouth even when they walk and if you start by running breathing through your nose. You could feel very weird, but it’s an excellent tip for you to regulate the pace of your running.

    Now, once you get used to that, please understand that you’re more likely to breathe through your mouth once you can get up to higher running speeds. There are very few people who can sprint and breathe through their noses exclusively; however, runners are just starting out will discover it’s a great technique to regulate their breathing and pace.

    I wanted to write a special note to older runners looking at their running getting harder because the reasons for older runners running getting harder are sometimes different from a beginner.

    Tips For Older Runners That Are Finding Their Running Harder.

    Now, of course, you could be an older, newer runner, and a lot of what I’ve written in this article would apply to you. But if you are an older runner that has been a pretty experienced runner for some time, and you have had pretty good results. But as you’re getting older, you are now finding that running is getting harder.

    Some subtle nuances are different for you than beginner runners.

    I am 58, And I’ve noticed massive changes in myself in the last ten years as a runner. That is not to say I’ve got worse as a runner, but I’ve had to recognise changes and adapt my running.

    • I’ve had to look at my diet.
    • I’ve had to look at my sleep.
    • I’ve had to adjust my training schedule. So there were more times for recovery.

    A lot of these areas I cover within this blog, but I think it’s one of the first areas as an older runner if you’re starting to find a decline in your running. The first thing that most older runners will say is it’s due to their age. Now, age is a reality. Ultimately age will create the scenario where we are slower.

    However, that isn’t the main reason that they’re getting slower for many runners. It may be that they are still utilising the same training techniques that they used in their 30s and 40s. That may now not be relevant for them in their 50s, 60s and beyond.

    They may not be changing their diet or their sleep patterns. They may not be looking at adjustments that they need to make in their running to adapt to the process of ageing.

    As someone once said, continuing to do the same thing and expecting to get different results is a sign of insanity. But we all fall into habits. And as we get older, we tend to do that more often.

    So if you are an older runner that is starting to find that their running is getting harder, some of what I’ve said above will apply to you.

    However, if it doesn’t, it’s more than likely that you need to look at adapting your training, diet, and sleep to be better able to continue improving or maintaining your speed of running and your enjoyment of running as you get older.