Monday, April 6, 2015

Why I'm Jealous of your "easy" 5 miles

Easy miles
 
Every day, on any given social media, (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter), my news feed is polluted with folks who are posting "sweaty selfies" and claiming they ran an "easy" 5 miles, an "easy" 7 miles, or an "easy" 8 miles. It's not that I don't believe that they ran those miles, I guess I'm kind of jealous of the word used in front of those miles, "easy".

 I admit that I have had some really good runs, runs where I've made really good time, and runs where I've even felt pretty good during the entire thing. Regardless of how good my time is or how good I felt at the end, I "worked" for those miles. I put some effort in it. 

My sister Lacey is one of those runners who has lots of "easy" 8 mile runs.  I'm not jealous of her speed, (everyone has their own talent), but I am amazed how effortless she makes it look.

So what does it mean to have an "easy run"? What are runners referring to when they say that? Does the runner mean that they didn't have to put much "effort" in to the run? Did it just come "naturally" to them?" Does the runner mean that the course they ran was flat, no hills? After all, does anyone ever say I did an "easy" hilly run? Maybe. Does an "easy" run mean running at a slower pace than normal? Perhaps. So in essence has "Easy" become the new "Slow"? 

There is no doubt that with proper training, runs will eventually become easier but even when I was training every day and I was PR-ing at races, I always felt that what I accomplished was definitely earned from the effort I put in it. Even when I felt great afterwards, I rarely used the phrase, "That was easy", because after all, if it was "easy", everyone would do it, right?

On the other hand, I am a wordsmith at heart, so maybe I am getting too caught up with the adjective "easy".  -M

What makes you decide to call a run "Easy"?

42 comments:

  1. Its always hard to not compare ourselves to others, especially in today's busy social media world. Try to not be too hard on yourself. As long as you're getting out there, that's all that should matter.

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    1. I'm not really comparing myself, I just wonder how other runners make it look so 'Easy". I guess the term is really relative. What one person may call an "Easy" run might be what I call a slow run, and vice versa.

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  2. I think of an "easy" run as one where you are not pushing your pace. I don't care a bit about how fast or far other runners are going because it makes no difference to my running. That does not mean I cannot be supportive of other runners, but the impact their run has on them is the important factor here. I rarely have "easy" runs because that is not how I train. (with a coached plan) I hope you are able to start enjoying runs soon!

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  3. I was just thinking this about 30 seconds before I stumbled across your post. I saw a bunch of 'easy' 8 miles and even an 'easy' 20 miles pop up in my News Feed. This after having a sucky 4 miler that I had to force myself into doing. I think the only time I can call a run 'easy' is when I just go out for 2-3 miles with no set target or anything.

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  4. For me, "easy" means very slow pace way more than it means effortless. Yesterday's "easy" was very slow(I didn't even wear my Garmin to quantify pace) but it was joyful too so even better.

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  5. I used the term easy-paced run in my post today. For me, it means S-L-O-W. And I absolutely should have said slow, because that run was not easy! Thanks for reminding me to always use the correct word, and not take the "easy" way out.

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  6. I tend to use this word a lot with out thinking! Easy paced for me means an effort, but I wasn't panting. LOL Every so often I will go out and a run will feel easy, my legs will just be on and loose, but rarely does that happen. I understand when you say you worked for your miles. I would say the majority of my miles feel like work!

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  7. I totally know what you mean. I've kind of been slacking with my training, but even when I was most consistent and was getting PR's, running was NEVER easy. That's one of the reasons why I feel so proud of myself every time I do it, because I'm used to being an overachiever and having things come easy (at school, work, etc.), so every time I fight my natural disinclination to run, I feel like I've really accomplished something, no matter how slow or short it was!

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  8. I think of these runs when I'm "in the zone." The run is one of those runs where I can keep on going, I'm not tired, the weather is near to perfect and I've found a good running stride.

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  9. For me, easy means effortless. I don't have a ton of these kinds of runs, some days trying to keep my pace in the high 8's takes everything I have and other days I can bang out 6-7 miles in the low 8's and feel like it wasn't challenging at all and I could keep going and going. I think speed, distance, effort is all relative to the person and the moment. I think that just getting out there is a HUGE accomplishment and just doing the best you can on any given day is something to be very proud of!

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  10. To me an "easy" run is one that is less than 5 miles and at an easy pace. Although I do get a little tired of seeing people call running "easy". I'ts not, it's hard. Almost every run I do is hard. Then again, I am still carrying around an extra 50lbs I'm trying to lose. So it's not easy for me.

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    1. I agree, "easy" runs are less than 5 miles for me too!

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  11. My easy running is just walking--so go you!! :)

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    1. Lately my running has been walking ( really fast)..lol

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  12. I don't think I've ever used "Easy" & "Run" in the same sentence....

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    1. Right? Cause if it was "easy" everyone would do it!

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  13. I'm on the same wavelength as many of the above commenters, and when I say an easy run I mean a relaxed pace. The kind of pace I could easily have a conversation at, and I also don't worry about holding that pace. I can speed up a little, I can slow down a little, and it all averages out in the end!

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  14. I can have an "easy 3" when I'm running with friends, taking it at a slower pace, and doing a lot of laughing and chatting. I can also have a "hard 3" where every step is rough. In my world, there's never such a thing as an "easy 5 (or more)" miles - so at least you know you have company in this! :)

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    1. I will agree to that. I have had some "easy" 3 miles but I know anything over that I am "working" for!

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  15. Sometimes I call a run easy when things just go great, sometimes our bodies just get in the zone and it feels good to run. Doesn't matter if its 1mile or 20 miles I think every runner has days now and then that just feel easier than others.
    Then there are other times I may say I went out for an easy few miles because it was one of my lower mileage days etc..
    I think the only real reason runners do have easy days are because they already put the hard work in for it to happen.
    Its just a word probably used by every runner differently, so like everything in life its not probably worth comparison over because every runner has different distances, goals, speeds and of course vocabulary :) but one thing we all have in common is we are out there doing it so each mile run is awesome regardless of easy or hard terminology :) atleast in my opinion:)

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  16. I am not sure if easy now means slow as in not speedwork? Running has never come really easily to me either so I don't usually categorize my runs that way. Coming back from an injury now, I can't wait until I can even run 5 miles again.

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  17. For me, an easy run is one where I am not concerned about pace. I had an "easy" 10 mile run yesterday with 4 hill repeats thrown in. When I wanted to walk, I did. When I wanted to run slower, I did.when I wanted to push my speed, I did. it was so nice just to get through the miles and not worry about my pace or how long it took me.

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  18. Interesting that you mention this because I made a decision a while ago to eliminate the word "easy" from my training plans and running vernacular. I replaced that word on my training log with "regular". As in "regular run", not "easy run". While running has become more fun and I have made a lot of progress, I don't think it has become easier. If you are looking to improve, then with progress come a new goal and a new challenge and therefore, more struggle. But I mean that in a fun way.

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  19. I've never used the words easy and run in the same sentence ;-)

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  20. For me, an easy run is any distance where I feel like my legs are light as air under me. Runs where my legs feel like lead pipes are H-A-R-D.

    It's a nice reminder that two people can have totally different strengths when it comes to running, even sisters. Some people have the speed, some people have the distance, some people are more injury-prone...but we're all runners.

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  21. Interesting post! I use easy to define something very specific: 60-70% of my maximum heart rate. I train by heart rate so that I don't run my easy runs too hard. For some people it's really hard to judge by effort. That's how I am. When I first started training by heart rate, I realized I was running the runs I was supposed to be doing at an "easy effort" way too hard! You may be better at judging effort, so if your runs don't feel easy, I am sure it's not an easy effort. How an easy effort feels to me is that I can run at that effort all day long, my breathing is barely elevated, and I can hold long conversations and laugh with my running partner. And yes, we do easy runs up hills! Long, steep ones! Though on hills, sometimes I do need to walk to keep my heart rate down. I got into heart rate training after reading all the many benefits of running at an easy effort, and I didn't want to miss out on them.

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  22. Like most people above, I use easy for runs when I'm not pushing the pace at all but honestly even short runs are still hard work. I've just accepted that I'm not someone for whom running will ever be truly easy. I tend to use that terminology because that's what my training plans call things and because I try to avoid calling them slow. My slow seems glacial sometimes (because it's not like my fast is remotely fast) but I know that for some runners, it would be faster than they could imagine. I definitely feel a lot more emotional weight behind "slow" runs than "easy" ones, but I think we all bring our own filter to these things. I agree that anything 5 miles or more isn't easy by definition. :)

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  23. Both of my teenage sons have been running for about a year+ and my youngest has the same questions/issues for me. I tell him that my pace is not his (I've been running over 30 years!) and what feels easy for me might not be easy for him but it doesn't matter - running is running!!!
    Some days I can run 10 miles and it feels easy and natural. Other days 3 miles is brutal in every way!

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  24. Last year pre-injury I used to have "easy" 5 milers. The difference is I was running 5-7 days a week and hadn't been sidelined yet. Once I was sidelined, fear set in that I'd get injured again if I pushed my pace. Since I've cut back on mileage, pace and running in general, I haven't had any "easy" runs. I think my mindset is still too cautious.

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  25. I think you are getting caught up in the words. I also think people probably have their own definition of what is "easy". If I describe a run as easy, I mean I am not pushing myself or worrying about pace. I am running at a steady state pace that is more like "la la la" than effort. But that is just me!

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  26. When I use the word easy, I really mean easy. Some runs are like that. I just put on my shoes and go. My legs just fly. Contrast that to the 5 I did this past Saturday. I worked for every step on that run. It felt like I had cement running shoes on my feet. And so I have that run to compare to...yes, some runs feel easy.

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  27. Great point. I have definitely referred to a run as "easy," but I think it was more like, "I took it easy." For me, running is never easy. I grew up as a dancer, and I always envied the girls who had such easy grace and natural talent. I worked really hard and was a decent dancer, but it never came easily for me. Same with running.

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  28. If I call a run an easy run it really has to do with running it at a very slow recovery pace. I wouldn't say it feels easy for sure, but I think the key is to make your hard workouts hard and your easy workouts easy. Honestly at the beginning of easy recovery runs I'm generally pretty tired but once the blood starts moving things come around.

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  29. I guess I'd define an easy run as one withess effort. As someone who doesn't love running, most runs don't feel easy to me, lol. I run because I like having race goals, but if given the choice, I'm going to binge on Netflix. ;)

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  30. I think for me, an easy run is when I can lose myself in the run. I don't always have these runs, as often I am focusing on breathing, pace, etc. But sometimes, I feel like I've been flying after (or during) my run, and this is what I call an 'easy' run.

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  31. Easy Runs = Zone 2 runs. I am able to sing through the runs. And I have my HR well under control. Think of it as more active recovery just getting the legs moving.

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  32. This makes me think of the saying the Navy SEALS use: "The only easy day was yesterday."

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  33. Easy, for me, is subjective and relative. The hardest part of any run is getting dressed and out the door, some days more so than others. For me, I do tend to think of an easy run as being one that 1) isn't speedwork. 2) isn't a tempo run. 3) is less than 6 miles. Over 6 or so and it moves into "long run" category in my mind. But it is relative. None of it is "easy" I guess, but it is generally easier than the other options and the level of effort, time, potential stress and energy are lower and thus easier. It does mean I care less about pace and more about just enjoying the run itself. Or another way to look at it is, it sucks less than the others. LOL!

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  34. For me it is an easy run if I can take it at a nice slow pace and just enjoy.

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  35. I am with you! What is easy about it? Getting the sports bra on isn't really easy :) I guess for me running a 5K is easier than it was and when it is cool it is easier. I don't think I use that adjective- maybe great- it was a great run !

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  36. OMG, I feel the same way! Granted, after tackling a long run of, say, 16 or 18 or 20 miles, a simple 5-miler can seem "easy." But, for me, running has NEVER been easy. Like you said, some runs are better than others, but whether it's 3 miles or 13 miles, I always wonder why I always feel like it's STILL hard even after all this time! I guess that's part of why draws me to running in the first place? It's always a challenge!

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Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today.