During today’s run I remembered the wise words of Caballo Blanco (as quoted in Christopher McDougall’s ‘Born To Run’). Easy, Light, Smooth and Fast. How does this relate to running? Well, first comes EASY – you need to focus on making running easy. If it is not easy, you are most likely doing something wrong. Think about your pace – it’s very likely that you are trying to run too fast. Shorten your stride. Land on your forefoot. Stand tall. Get all these bits right and running will be easy. To be honest, this is where you should be most of the time – running at this pace. No need to take it any further. Most benefits of running are when it is EASY.
From Easy to Light
Next is LIGHT. This is where the pace is right, the heartbeat is stable, the steps are short and the posture is upright. Since we are not professional athletes (which 99.9% of us are not), you do not need to go any further. EASY and LIGHT are where the magic is, where the enjoyment is, where the act of running brings most longterm benefit. Majority of my runs are either EASY or LIGHT. I do not feel the urge to take things any farther. This is where I am comfortable. This is where I feel safe and gain most of the objectives that I have set out for myself in relation to running. Longevity is achieved here.
Transition to Smooth
SMOOTH is hitting that sweet spot. SMOOTH is when you simply glide, where each step feels like it has been placed with such precision that it is perfect. It is magical when the run is smooth. It comes with time and is a reward for all those times that you took things nice and easy and light. Get the basics right and SMOOTH will come your way soon.
Easy, Light, Smooth, Fast
All this leads to FAST. Fast is fast. Fast is EASY, LIGHT and SMOOTH all put together into one. Running FAST is special but it is not the goal. It is a reward which needs to appear only once in a while. For 999 out of one thousand runners, it is sufficient to be fast on random occasions. FAST is not needed every time or every race. FAST is not a longterm strategy. Nail the basics every time. FAST will be your reward. EASY and LIGHT will bring you most enjoyment and SMOOTH will provide the magic. Thank you Caballo Blanco for these simple steps to ultimate running!