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12 Ways to Tell You’re Getting Better at Running That Aren’t All About Your Time

Getting faster doesn’t have to be your goal.

4/7/2021 8:46:00 PM

Getting faster doesn’t have to be your *only* goal.

Getting faster doesn’t have to be your goal.

7. You can breathe more easily—and even chat while you stride.Have you ever felt like you couldn’t even run a block, let alone a mile? When you’re first starting out, any distance can leave you huffing and puffing as your lungs struggle to pull in enough oxygen, Knowles says.

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Training-induced changes in your muscles and cardiovascular system eventually raise your ventilatory threshold—the point during a workout where your breathing becomes labored. As a result, you can go farther and faster without becoming winded.Eventually, you might be able to carry on a conversation with your

, or on the phone if you’re running alone, Knowles points out. “Being able to tell stories and engage with people on the run is fun—and it’s a good sign of fitness,” Roche says.8. You finish a run feeling strong.Over time, you’ll likely find that not only can you run longer, you’ll feel better as you do it. Whereas you once thought you might pass out a quarter-mile before the end of a two-mile run, you might have enough left in the tank to speed up a bit at the end. This increased energy will come naturally as your body adapts to the sport, and to the distance and duration you’re covering.

Plus, you can deliberately practice positiveself-talkto further boost your stamina. When you feel yourself fading, try repeating an affirmation—you can also adopt one for your week or your whole training plan, Gracey suggests. Some of her favorites: “You can do this,” “Strong, smooth, smile,” and ”Trust the process.”

9. You’re less zonked immediately after a run, and less sore the next day.The first time you take on a new distance, you might feel like you need a nap, or at least a healthy dose of Netflix time on the couch afterward. “You might find yourself super sore

, or when you wake up the next day and you’re getting out of bed, you’re feeling pretty creaky,” Goodman says.As your muscles and connective tissue grow stronger, they sustain less damage when you run and also repair more quickly from the stress and strain of running. So you’ll be able to handle the same amount of running—or even more—with fewer aches and pains.

Eventually, you might be able to knock out a long run in the morning, then get on to the rest of your day energized instead of exhausted, Roche says. (Also note: Fatigue can also serve as a good gauge of whether you’re striking the right balance in your running—if you’re always zonked after a run, you might be overdoing it or not allowing enough time for recovery between outings.)

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10. It’s emotionally easier to do it again the next time.The improvements in fitness andrecoveryyou’ll experience when running regularly also influence your motivation. Sure, even experienced, elite runners sometimes have a hard time getting out the door—or have moments of doubt or frustration along the way.

But on the whole it’s a lot easier to lace up once you’ve gotten into a groove and made running a habit. “That confidence starts to build, the ability to know you’re going to get through whatever day is out there,” Roche says.Ultimately, you’ll also develop what’s known as self-efficacy—a belief in yourself and your ability to succeed that transcends running. Lembach puts it this way: “I’m capable, I’m valuable, and I can accomplish things.” One great but surprising potential sign you’re improving as a runner is when that feeling starts to carry over into other areas of your life, from your work to your relationships, she says.

11. You make other changes on behalf of running. Read more: SELF »

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