It seems every year, I post about running easy. I’ve been blogging for 8 years, so it’s about 8 posts saying about the same thing.
Never the less, it’s still an important and relevant topic.
Racing your easy runs won’t get you a PR.
It won’t make you an Instagram hero either.
It will, however, get you burned out, or injured.
Don’t think I haven’t been subjected to this and learned the lesson of injury the hard way. Long term readers know my first tibial stress fracture (7 years ago now) was caused by overtraining. In short, I ran my easy runs too fast. My last burn out wasn’t necessarily caused by running too fast, but more life stress, trying to run high mileage, and just doing too much.
Every week I post a running log and mileage recap. Every month I do something similar. Every week on Instagram, I get a few messages about “how fast do you run your easy runs,” and I will always respond the same way: honestly I don’t know or care. Typically I use my Garmin Vivosport. It’s not fancy, and that’s why I like it. It will tell me mile splits if I want but for the most part, I just do timer mode.
I have a few ways I do an easy run
- I run a route I know to be X amount of miles and don’t time it. I could finish 5 miles in 45 minutes or an hour…I will only have a good idea by the kitchen clock.
- I just run for an hour and if it’s 6 miles or 10…that’s how it goes. JK, it would never be anything close to 10.
Both work for me and keep me healthy both mentally and physically.
For training, I usually have a rough outline of the runs and workouts I want to do for the week, but I never have an exact plan. For instance, last week I planned to take a rest day on Thursday, but my body was hurting on Tuesday…so I rested then too. Some days I have more time in the morning, and some days I have less. I ask myself: will I miss this mile next week. No…I won’t remember.
Does Not Caring about Pace Really Help Me?
I have actually found that it does and it does a lot. First of all, I’m not obsessed with pace. I don’t care. I could run 10 miles at 10-minute pace or 10 miles at 8-minute pace. It’s still 10 base miles. I’ll run with anyone that wants to run, whether you run a 10 minute or 8-minute mile. That’s why I rarely post paces online, Instagram, or anywhere. Because I don’t know and honestly, for training runs…I don’t really care.
As I mentioned earlier, it hasn’t always been that way for me. I used to be obsessed with pace and numbers. Seven years ago as a new runner, I would run in the same 10-second pace range for every run of the week. That pace was between 7-7:10. Do you know what I gave myself? The glorious gift of a tibial stress fracture on my 21st birthday.
Not to mention, during that period of trying to PR every run, I never got faster for races and was miserable the entire time. I was so antsy in training if my overall pace was 7:11+ and thought I had lost my all endurance. It sounds silly now, but that is what the newer runner in me thought.
I Thought: Train fast to go fast. Race myself and try and get faster every day.
Here are Some Interesting Stats from that Time in My Training:
During that time of my running career, my 5k PR was 20:10. I ran about 50 miles a week between 7-7:15 pace.
Now it’s 18:13 (and I had to look LOL). During that time in training, I was running 60 miles a week with about 50 above 8:30 or even 10-minute pace.
Then my half marathon PR was 1:36.56…now it’s 1:22.03
Now, I’m able to do workouts more efficiently and better. Running an 88 second 400 doesn’t feel as challenging. My body couldn’t handle that when I was sprinting every training run. I was also exhausted all of the time. Even though I was running fewer miles, I was more tired.
But the most crucial piece is I enjoy going out to run without worrying about it.
For me, running is a hobby, and it’s something I want to do lifelong without stress. Not caring about pace has turned into continuing to improve on running.
My point is to relax during your easy runs. Make your easy runs easy, and work hard during your workouts and races. Honestly, without being injured or burnout, I don’t think I would have gotten to this phase in my life. No one wants to be hurt but from injury, I quickly learned my body doesn’t respond well to fast runs every day.
I think I should have renamed my blog CasualLOLZ or something.
Questions for you:
What are your thoughts?
Do you schedule workouts every day or fly by the seat of your pants?