Easy, Light, Smooth and Fast

I love a good mantra while I run. Sometimes it’s “no walking”, other times I go with “keep it moving”. One of my favourite running mantras comes from one of my favourite books about running, Christopher McDougall’s book, “Born to Run”:

“Lesson Two,” Caballo called. “Think Easy, Light, Smooth, and Fast. You start with easy, because if that’s all you get, that’s not so bad. Then work on light. Make it effortless, like you don’t give a shit how high the hill is or how far you’ve got to go. When you’ve practiced that so long that you forget you’re practicing, you work on making it smooooooth. You won’t have to worry about the last one—you get those three, and you’ll be fast.”

Easy, light, smooth and fast.
Easy, light, smooth and fast.
Easy, light, smooth and fast.

Practice what you preach

But a mantra is useless if you don’t listen to it. That’s why it’s a good idea to actually say it out loud.

Micah True
Caballo Blanco (aka Micah True)

Repeat that mantra to yourself when you are training, and work on turning it into reality. Visualize yourself running along a beautiful trail. You’re running easy, like you don’t have a care in the world. It’s the greatest day ever made and this is the best run of your life.

Relax. Just run.

Then work on light. Run like you are gliding along, floating above the ground. Run like you are on the moon.

In all honesty, I pretty much never get to the point where I’m worrying about smooth. I’m guessing that when you get easy and light taken care of, that smooth won’t be all that tough.

It’s been my experience that sometimes easy will come easy. Those are the magical days that you write in your log (you keep one, right?) that it was a great run and everything just clicked. When that magic happens and you get one of those runs, seize the opportunity to work on light and maybe even smooth. Like Caballo says, fast will show up on its own.