In a recent post, ‘My Training Week’, you may have seen that on a typical week, I include a long run and a steady run. For me, these should be run at an easy pace for the following reasons:
Running too fast on ‘easy run’ days will eventually catch up with you. It will almost certainly lead to fatigue, which impacts on performance.
The ‘easy run’ is ideal for the day following a hard workout such as intervals. It allows you to continue training while recovery from the day before – and you still reap a multitude of benefits from this type of training.
Improved running economy, mitochondrial growth and slow-twitch muscle fibre development are amongst these benefits. And you can have these for running 60-90 seconds per kilometre slower than your race pace. You also place less stress on your body which helps prevent and avoid injury.
The term ‘junk miles’ is often used to describe an ‘easy run’ performed at an intensity which is too high. The miles are run too fast to recover for upcoming workouts and too slow to be a stimulus for threshold training.
This fully justifies us to slow down and enjoy this training, as opposed to running in every training session like our lives depend on it.