In the running community, there’s a common saying: “Run your easy days easy, and your hard days hard.”

At Strideful, we agree with the general idea of not pushing too hard on most days – but we also believe that “easy” can send the wrong message. If you expect every run to be effortless, you might get frustrated when expectations don’t match reality.

Running can be challenging in different ways – but that’s part of the process. Here’s why you won’t find the term “easy run” in our plans for mental wellness.

 

Starting is hard

The initial stages of any new exercise routine are rarely easy. Whether it’s finding the time in your hectic schedule or pushing through those first few workouts when your body is still adapting, “easy” is not the word that comes to mind for most people.

However, these challenges are part of the process. And with persistence, exercising begins to feel more natural and manageable.

 

Motivation follows action

Even for experienced runners, one of the biggest challenges is simply getting started. This is especially true on days when motivation is low. Taking the first steps is not easy. Yet, time and again, we learn that taking action – however small – can lift our mood and energy levels.

 

Listening to – and trusting – your body

Our approach encourages running or walking at a “comfortable effort” rather than striving for it to feel easy (or torturous, for that matter).

The beginning of a workout might not feel great. But as you warm up, find your rhythm, and adjust to the activity, you reach a state that’s more about being in tune with your body than achieving effortlessness.

 

Getting comfortable with discomfort

Running, like many worthwhile endeavors in life, involves pushing through discomfort and finding resilience on the other side. It’s not about every step feeling light and breezy – it’s about the satisfaction of completing a run you weren’t sure you had in you or noticing your progress over weeks and months.

At Strideful, we’ve designed our plans to encourage an effort that feels right for you – challenging yet achievable. Whether you’re new to running or looking to change your approach, what matters most is that you’re moving forward, one step at a time. And, if it doesn’t feel “easy” right away, it just means you’re human – and you’re on the right path.

The Warmup is a series previewing our approach to sustainable exercise for mental wellness. Sign up for our waiting list for updates on when Strideful is available.