A lot of runners consider easy pace running to be the hardest type. I think that's likely because it feels unnatural for runners who do most of their training at moderate intensity! Many - including me at times! - end up falling into the trap of thinking the faster they run their easy days, the better. I agree that it sometimes feels tedious to run slower. But, to reign things in now means greater reward on race day. Look at it this way:
slower pace = ability to handle greater training volume = run faster on race day
A steady diet of easy miles is how the elites train. I recently read an article about easy running that included survey results about the training habits of elite runners. The men did almost three quarters of their training at slower than marathon pace, while the ladies did more than two thirds of their training at slower paces.
One of my favorite elite runners/bloggers, Camille Herron, says it best. Camille is a 2:37 marathoner and starts her easy days at 8:50-9:10 pace, eventually moving down to average 8:30-8:50 pace with no miles faster than 8:00 pace. Reading about Camille's running and pacing has definitely made me think differently about my own running. If Camille averages 8:30-8:50 pace during her easy runs, I can run a bit slower and still meet my goals. After all, it doesn't matter how fast you run during training if you can't run fast on race day!
Hold back during training and let it rip on race day!
To make sure I'm truly running easy, here are a few strategies that work for me:
- Leave my watch at home. I plan my route in advance to make sure I'm getting the right number of miles and then run by feel.
- Wear heavier training shoes. This one is purely psychological. I associate my heavier Brooks Defyance shoes will easy running.
- Hum or sing to myself. Okay, I know this is weird. But it's pretty hard to hum or sing when running hard. Just keep an eye out for other people. It's best to do this one when alone on the path.
- Run on the grass. I'm usually more careful about footing when running on the grass, which means slower running. Voila - instant easy run!
Run on the grass when possible!
- What are your thoughts on easy running - Love it or hate it? Do you do enough of it?
- What are your strategies to keep your pace slow on easy running days?
- If you're not into easy running, what do you dislike about it?
Slow or fast, I hope everyone has a fantastic week of running :)