Reading The Happy Runner and working with David Roche has taught me one major thing in recent months: Easy running takes work. Seriously. It’s HARD to run easy! Have you ever really, honestly run easy? Probably not. It took a while for me to slow my pace enough that it was legitimately easy to run—and lucky for me, I was injured enough that I didn’t have a lot of choice! It’s funny how much better you get when you primarily run easy—a comfortable, chatty pace—and then do your short, hard bursts. I used to be that ‘I’ll go out for an hour-ish at medium” runner and I’ve been plateaued for years: This is the first time I’m seeing real (ahem) strides in running progress. (Remember when we had Stephen Seiler on the Consummate Athlete Podcast to talk about the 80:20 style of training? Yeah, that.) So, let’s talk about the ways running easy is good for you, why you should do it, and how the F you can actually get to a point where easy running exists.
Ultimately, running easy teaches us to feel ease in our bodies and in our running. Races are meant to be hard, but the day-to-day running shouldn’t feel like a grind every time you head out the door. If you save the hard efforts for those key interval runs and for race day, you’ll be a stronger, faster runner as a result. “If you view training as a fight, eventually your body will fight back through injuries, stagnation or burnout,” Roche says. He’s exactly right — and I know because I was there, and coming out the other side, running easier than ever has given me a newfound appreciation for running and rekindled my love of the sport.