Tips to Run Easy!


Monday: 5m easy 9:25/pace

Tuesday: 3m easy 9:10/pace, 40 min strength (chest/legs)

For the last (let’s round up) two years, i’ve been injured on and off again and haven’t started a training season feeling 100%. I’ve tried to play “catch up” and rush right into marathon or half marathon training plans which have surprisingly worked in my favor, but mentally, it is tough going straight from injury to full on training mode. Anyone else feel this way?
Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 1.25.55 PMI was entirely ready after the PR high from Indianapolis to jump into marathon training. But as soon as i starting training again, my body was quick to tell me to slow down.

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I finally combed over training logs from years ago up to last fall’s 1/2 training and i’m still running way too fast on easy days. I don’t think i ever ran over a 9:00/pace during my “easy” runs. Easy running should extremely easy.  I haven’t been able to run a 5 day week consistently because my legs were constantly fatigued from the last run. I also stopped heavily strength training my legs because I needed them to be fresh for the next run. My legs never felt fresh. Even though I should have caught that red flag, i just assumed constant leg fatigue was normal.

Now let me clarify: I wasn’t overtraining, I was still enjoying running, and the rest of my body felt great. I was just running a lot on tired legs and my paces were too similar despite the workout at hand. My easy runs were between 8:00-8:30s, my hard runs ranged from 7:15-8:00. Those paces are way too close. I have a hard time slowing down and i don’t know if it’s my ego or legs, but either way i need to stop it. So there. I said it out loud.

My name is Cori and I have running issues.

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and coffee issues.

Why am I saying these things to you all? Because I want to run longer, faster and be consistent on a 5 day/week training plan and make it to a 40 mile week without my body breaking down. The blog has always been a way for me to be honest with myself, other runners, friends and family about my life & training progress. Plus when I see my goals on paper (or computer) it’s a good reminder of the changes i’m making & why i’m making them.

Part of the beauty about running is this stuff—>the details! The small changes you make for big race results. I truly feel I have so much more to give on the race course. I’m excited to say that this build up has been very fun, comfortable and easy!

Here are a few tips for running a truly easy effort.

-Breathe through your nose. No joke, try to breathe in and out through your nose.

-Use a heart rate monitor or take your pulse.

-Can you sing? Can you carry a conversation with ease? Good, you’re doing it right.

-Listen to slow tunes or a podcast. (You know how I know you run easy? Cause you listen to Coldplay.)

-Run on the treadmill so you can control your pace.

-Go watchless or hide your pace splits. I keep my Garmin on, but I only allow myself to see the clock (actual time, not running time).

-When you finish running easy, you should feel like you could run another hour at that pace.

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My view lately. Just waiting for the snow to melt.

Last Week

Monday: 3hrs shoveling

Tuesday: 30 min stairs/leg (home workout), 2 hrs shoveling

Wednesday: 5.2m easy 8:42/pace

Thursday: 6m 2 x 2 tempo (1m warm up, 2 @ 7:30, 2 @ 7:24, 1 cool down)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 9.1m easy, long progression (starting at 9:15, ending at 8:15)

Sunday: Rest

Total: 20.3

How much slower do you run on your easy days?

Do you ever re-read old training journals to help your current goals?

Author: She's Going the Distance


15 thoughts on “Tips to Run Easy!

  1. Great blog! Enjoyed reading it a lot. I keep my easy runs and intense runs about 1 minute apart, and I don’t often read my past running logs, but that’s a good idea!

  2. I think that you nailed the key thing “my legs were constantly fatigued from the last run” – to me that is one of the biggest tell-tales. In my case it is normally about taking a day off … but the bottom line is that there is a difference between normal tiredness and real fatigue!

    I also agree with so many of the ‘how can you tell’ things – you should feel like you could run forever at that pace, not a challenge to your heart or lungs or legs.

    Finally – the only ‘coffee issues’ that exist are when your cup is empty … or worse yet when you run out of coffee! 🙂

    • Exactly. I should have known better, and even typing “my legs were constantly fatigued” is just me finally admitting and realizing what I was doing wasn’t and isn’t working. It’s always hard to break that habit, but the more and more I read about slowing down to speed up at a race, it makes sense! lol. (and i love coffee so much, that’s the only issue in this house! haa)

  3. Great post, so true. I used to try and run faster on easy days because I somehow felt that it would be an indication of being in a great shape, showing everyone that even my easy runs are fast. How wrong was I. Now I really don’t care, well I do, my ego still does but I do the same thing that I hide my paces so I can’t see how slow I’m going. It’s silly to care about the “slow” pace but hard to get out of the habit.

  4. I am pretty sure I was doing the same thing until I starting working with a coach who wanted me running slower than 9:30 pace on my easy days. It was hard to slow down that much during the early weeks of training when my mileage was low and my legs were fresh, but once I got more into my training I realized ow much it helped to really keep those days easy! Some days I even ran 10 minute miles but then I was able to hit my workouts the rest of the week. I use a heart rate to monitor, but I also find that paying attention to my breathing helps. And of course running on the treadmill forces me to slow down as well:)

    • right! yesterday was my first real tempo and it was already faster and more comfortable than the few i’ve done in the weeks leading up. I entirely believe that was because my first couple runs of the week were 9+ mile pace. (and i ran 3 days in a row which almost never could happen before.) i’m thinking of upgrading to the new garmin that monitors heartrate just to help with finding my true paces

  5. I was running with my friend who is a 2:47 marathoner and she told me she runs her easy days at a 9 min pace. I thought I was slowing down for my easy runs, and then I heard that SHE does a 9 min pace on her easy runs. I was like, crap. For me, I feel like running slow can be uncomfortable but I do it anyway. Yep, I feel like I could keep going at that pace but it’s still hard in its own right! You will see so much benefit from keeping those easy days easy!

    • This is what I need to hear. I want to get faster! and it’s such a hard concept to run slower to get there. I had an amazing tempo today and i know it was because of the 2 slow days leading up to it! i’m excited to race again 🙂

  6. I think I have the opposite problem of running too easy a lot more than normal. I normally do all of my easy runs and warmups either untimed or well above 8:30 and 9 minute pace. I could run easy forever and never get tired of it LOL. These are great tips though and I think people could benefit from them.

  7. This! I think every runner does this. For me I was running almost all my runs at the same pace, and it was totally an ego thing. I did not like seeing 9s and 10s on my watch. Now, I’m converted and try to run my easy runs as slow as I can to keep my legs fresh for hard days and hopefully less prone to injury. I’ve been seeing a lot of people mention the 80/20 method where only 20% of your mileage should be at hard and everything else easy running. I’m finding that my HR monitor is making it easy to figure this out as I get an objective measure of how I’m doing for each run.

  8. I completely relate to this post. Going into marathon training part-injured and taking easy runs too fast, I feel like this is my last 2 years of training! I just started using a HR monitor in an effort to take it down a bit in intensity for the easy runs. Hopefully this helps me chill out a bit. 🙂 good list of tips!

  9. Pingback: Inside the 10 Mile Mind – Vol. 3 |

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