We’ve all been told to take our easy days easy, but how many of us really do or actually stop to think about what that means?! Remember, I am not a fitness professional, running goddess or the like. I’m just a girl that finally started listening to what professionals have been saying forever.
After hearing both Tina Muir and Ryan Hall talk about it in the span of a couple days, I finally starting doing it. Both mentioned that their easy runs can sometimes be two minutes or more slower than their race pace.
Early this Spring, I finally decided to really focus on my easy run pace. At first it seemed counter productive. How would running slower help me train better and ultimately run faster? Well, let me just say that by taking my easy runs easy I have had the best marathon training cycle yet and PR in the half marathon and marathon. I credit a lot of my success to lots of easy running.
What I Learned
- Since you don’t run hard on your easy days you can really push yourself on your workout days. Running a tempo run when your body isn’t fatigued makes all the difference. You can truly see what you are capable of and push a little harder on those speed work days.
- Scheduling an easy run after your long run helps your legs feel better and stretches your muscles out without stressing your body since these are done at recovery pace.
- It might feel weird at first because you will probably have to teach yourself to run slower, but it’s easier to gauge your pace and effort when you can explore all your gears.
- It’s a great mental break from the long run or the speed work. You don’t have to focus on pace (unless you think you are running too fast), so you can run just for fun and run easy.
- Running easier means I am able to allow my body to sort of “active” recover, while still getting a run in.
- Easy way to increase your overall weekly mileage, which makes it easier as the long runs and speed work start getting longer and harder in any training plan. Your body is already used to a certain level of stress, so increasing it safely is that much easier.
Check out this great article about the benefits of running slow 🙂
It’s amazing how much better you can recover and enjoy running when you aren’t always focusing on pace. My easy runs can sometimes be minutes slower than my target race pace. I use heart rate training to help me gauge my level of effort, but conversational pace would also be a decent gauge.
No matter where you are in your running journey I encourage you to take a minute to evaluate your “easy” runs.
Ask These Questions.
Are you running too hard or too fast all the time?
Is your “easy” run pace close to your target race pace?
Do you feel tired after every run?
Are you struggling during your speed work sessions to hit target paces when they are realistic based on your fitness/previous training cycles?
Do you get sick during each training cycle?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions I urge you to slow down on your easy runs for the next two-three weeks and evaluate how you feel.
How do you make sure you are taking your easy days easy?