Does Running Ever Get Any Easier?

When I first started running, it felt hard.  Today, running feels hard.  Does running ever get easier?  Do veteran runners always feel good running? Do elites feel like they are cake walking every mile?  Why do so many runners make running look easy?

No, no and no

does running ever get easier


I love running and for the most part, I’ve had a lot of great runs.  However, like anyone I’ve also had some terrible runs.

There have been plenty of times I’ve woken up: thought, “nope, I’m not running today” and gone back to sleep.  Maybe I woke up later and ran or maybe I’ve just struggled to get to work on time.

From time to time, I get an email like “does running ever get any easier”. The answer is no. We go in waves. Any runner from professional to new go in waves.

Some days, you make running look easier. Some days, the last thing you want to do is run. If you run, you’ve probably had a time when running felt stale.  It’s boring; there isn’t anything to look forward to, and you’ve lost all of your motivation.  You’ve had several runs you’ve struggled get through, and it just seems like…ugh why to bother.  Whether you are training for your first 5k or running your 300 marathon, we’ve all had a running rut.

We’ve all been there whether it’s training for your first race or 500th.

So what are some ideas to make running get easier or “switch it up”? 

The answer to does running ever get any easier is no but change can make it more fun.  Often change is the key to breaking out of a rut. 

Find a running partner:

Run with anyone you see, just don’t approach someone if you’re wearing all black and it’s midnight.  That could get awkward.  But seriously, change up who you are running with. Running does get easier when you run with friends because it mixes it up. It makes the run feel completely different! Running with a training partner, listening to music, or podcasts, or finding a running group or run club can help make a run feel easier. These days run clubs are popping up all over the world. I know of at least 15 in the greater Philadelphia area.

dismal swamp 5k 1

Change the time of day you run:

Run at a different time.  It’s exhilarating!  Once again, don’t run in the middle of the night in all black (although it’s enough to pick up the pace and get your heart rate up).

jogging attire

Run different mileage:

Ideas include:

  • Decrease your mileage
  • Run two short runs versus one long run. For some reason, 12 miles feels easier when it’s 2X6 miles versus 12 long miles.
  • Commit to a different training plan or hire a running coach. Getting into shape is definitely an answer to does running ever easier.
  • Add strength training or cross training (which can also make you stronger and is good for preventing injuries). Learn How Swimming Can Make You a Better Runner.

Treat Yourself to New Running Gear:

This might be the most costly but sometimes treating yourself to new running shoes makes all the difference. Have you ever noticed how running feels easier in new shoes? No, just me? If you don’t want or need new shoes something as simple as new socks or a foam roller could help you bust out of the rut.

Change where you run:

A change of scenery can be a good thing.  I know for me, racing in a different location each week keeps me from getting too bored. Plus sometimes if you run in a different area, running feels easier and goes by faster. Try running on the trails, different neighborhoods, or even the treadmill.  Sometimes catching up on trashy TV and running on the treadmill is what I want to do. When you run on trails for a day, suddenly road running feels so much easier.

Maybe even try and find an AlterG! Those are neat.
Maybe even try and find an AlterG! Those are neat.

When all else fails and running is just not going well, take a break.  There is plenty more to life than running.  Even if you’re an elite runner, you still probably enjoy a few things outside of moving your feet. If you feel your mind consumed by negative thoughts related to running, it might be time for a break. Coming back from a break, running does feel easier (most of the time). 

A break never hurts and can help you come back stronger.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Question for you: How do you break out of a rut?


  1. Great tips! when i’m in a rut (and hopefully not training for a race) i do cut back on the mileage, try to find newer places to run or I cross train and give my body and brain a break from running. Generally i come back feeling much more energized and happy to be back running.

  2. Some of my recent Boston Marathon long runs have been like that. I ask myself why am I doing this? Do I really care about The Marathon anymore? Why am I beating up my body to do this?
    Our Sunday long run is different each week, so that helps. I also run with different people depending on who shows up. We have a group from another local club run with us every week, so there is always someone I haven’t run with before.
    Sometimes I just need some time off. Some time to actually miss running.
    Run well, Andy

  3. Good topic. When I’m in a rutt or feel stale,ill take a break and set my mind to something else, a break does work,or I’ll change places to run.

    Finding a running partner is tuff, so I don’t mind running by myself though it good to run with someone,make the run fun and goes by quick.
    Happy running hollie..

  4. Great advice! When I’m in a rut I back off running for awhile and focus on other workouts. I always eventually feel like running again and it’s so much better when I come back. Or, completely opposite, I’ll sign up for a race (a 5k or 10k; anything further isn’t motivating to me when I’m struggling to run) so I have something to look forward.

    1. I feel like it’s never a bad idea to back off for a little while either. Anyone can benefit from trying new workouts.

  5. I feel like running is really mental, just getting through the block of going long distances, so in that way I think that running gets easier. But physically- no! If it’s easy that means you need to pick up the pace 🙂

  6. I used an Alter-G a few years ago, they are SO FUN! I like to run with people to get out of a rut. Like you said, new people. I would say I was in a pretty big rut at the beginning of this training cycle and it got better after a single run with my new running partner, Megan. We were always friends and talked about running but never actually did it together. We were both in a rut and it pulled us both right out!

    1. It sounds like you adjusted accordingly and broke right through Allison. I can’t wait to see how Boston goes for you.

  7. Great post. Running used to be so hard for me and I still have a hard run every once in a while. I think the most important thing is to stick with it and it will get easier.

  8. Good stuff here.. I like to change up where I run, a different view always helps get out of a rut, I also change up the terrain, going for a trail run is always a great option for me, it is a lot more challenging, having to maneuvering around rocks and roots helps keeps me quick on my feet.

    1. I agree that trail is so much harder but it’s a nice change of scenery and uses different muscles. Great point!

  9. I had been in a rut for a year or so and finally decided to not take it so seriously. I cut WAY back and started only running once a week, and doing different workouts/classes instead and lifting weights. I was able to enjoy that time. I did this for about a month or two and then returned to running. Now I run about 3-4x a week and enjoy it much more. I also feel better for doing it. Running isn’t life! (At least not for 99% of us!) So you can’t let it control your life and your feelings/outlook on each day.

  10. I actually like running on the ‘mill and catching up on TV viewing. I plan to do that today!

    Another good idea is to be a mentor to a beginner runner and run with them occasionally and chat. It counts as an easy/recovery day, and you can help the person develop a love of the sport.

  11. Excellent post with great tips! When I’m feel on like running has become a chore or dull I hit the trails with no mind to pace. I just go to see the trail’s beauty and enjoy the adventure.

  12. I love all of these tips. For me having running buddies in the most important thing to keep me excited and motivated.

  13. Running definitely doesn’t get easier. I think it gets harder! This morning, I was thinking about the paced I will need to eventually hit in workouts to reach my long-term goals, and it’s intimidating!

    In addition to the great tips you mentioned above, I think it’s also important to make sure you are always working toward short-term, as well as long-term goals, so everything is incremental and easier to digest. After all, if you feel overwhelmed, you are less likely going to want to get out there, even if it’s with a buddy or at a new time of day!

  14. I totally agree with changing up scenery–I usually run the same route during my long runs, but lately I’ve been switching it up to make it easier on me mentally. I also just ran with a friend for the first time this week and loved it! It definitely made things seem easier and take my mind off the fact that it was early and dark and every other human being was probably still in bed!

    1. ha, I do agree that running with friends in the dark is one of the few ways I’ll actually get out that early. It’s hard!

  15. I agree with all of this so much! I’ve only been running consistently for a little under 2 years, but I remember after my 1st half marathon thinking that future halfs would be so much easier because I knew what to expect. No. I was wrong haha. Each race is still hard. The whole mental aspect of running is so interesting to me and I feel like I could talk about it forever!

  16. The dreaded rut! Sometimes, I find myself less motivated and lagging with the desire to get out and run. I love your tips! A change in route, running with friends and setting new goals helps. Some days I find the motivation if I just remove the stress of timing pace or distant. Just run to enjoy the miles.

  17. At 6 months post baby keep wondering when running will feel ways again – I don’t remember it being this hard! But then I have to remind myself that I’m thinking of those occasional GREAT runs and that in order to get those amazing, runner’s high runs you’ve gotta slog through some not as great ones.

  18. This is spot on & a good reminder – I think sometimes people think it’s easier for elites or super fast runners like yourself. It’s hard for everyone. Great post!

  19. I’m working on increasing my run volume now, so I’m adding an extra run each week–and my coach has made it every clear this is an easy/social outing. I should be running with friends, and I’m not allowed to look at my watch!

  20. For some reason I prefer running alone. I’ve attempted running with my boyfriend a few times, it just never ended the way I wanted. Those are great tips though for those moments you start getting bored.

  21. I’ll be honest, I can’t remember the last time I ran. I guess I’m just waiting for winter to completely be over before I get back out there. *sigh*

  22. It’s so funny because most every run the first mile feels hard!! And then it is awesome but running is not easy. I am so excited for spring and summer runs!!

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