Want to improve as a runner? Slow Down!
I keep harping on about slowing down..
Ask most of the athletes I coach, if there’s one thing I’m constantly reminding them, it’s to slow down!!
Having spent quite a bit of time in Kenya coaching and training it’s obvious to see the benefits of going slow, I have been fortunate enough to spend time in Kenyan training camps living amongst and studying the training practises of some of the best runners on the planet, anyone that’s been there and seen these guys in action will know what I mean.
Hard days are HARD, Easy days are EXTREMELY EASY!
Their 10-11 minute per mile pace is nothing more than a shuffle, it takes nothing out of them, they’re building volume and recovering at the same time, leaving them fresh and ready to get the very best out of themselves during their speed workouts or long tempos.
In contrast, most of us never quite manage to shake off the residual fatigue from harder days by not running our easy days slow enough, meaning there’s a very good chance we’re not achieving our full potential.
Any adaptations from the training load will be lost if we don’t recover properly, best case scenario is you won’t see any improvement, worst case will be burnout or injury.
WE MUST GO SLOW TO GET FAST!
Recovery runs should be taken seriously!
Easy running stimulates mitochondria growth, increasing capillary capacity and the ability to deliver oxygen to the muscles.
The heart is being trained but without fatiguing the rest of your body.
Not forgetting the many neuromuscular benefits. Easy runs develop neuromuscular pathways by focusing on correct running form. When the Kenyans train they are consciously thinking whilst running; how their breathing feels, position of the arms, how their feet contact the ground, how they hold their heads. It’s not easy to focus on these elements during a hard workout, but when it’s time to run fast they don’t need to think, it’s been ingrained into their system.
Ever noticed how effortless they look whilst running? Think of Kipchoge’s form, he looks the same in Mile 1 as he does in mile 26, he’s working extremely hard but makes it look so easy!
I’m not suggesting you should be adding more easy runs to your schedule, most reading this won’t have the luxury that the Kenyans have in terms of spare time, they basically Run, Eat, Sleep, Repeat! Unfortunately most of us have to work, we have families, we have lives outside of running! What I am saying though is to slow down the runs you are doing, keep the one or two key sessions, but slow the others right down, that is where the magic is made!
FORGET WHAT STRAVA THINKS!
Every plan I write each week for the athletes I coach is made up of at least 80% easy runs, this goes for everyone from beginner right through to elites, no matter what distance they are training for.
If there’s just one lesson we should all take from the best distance runners on the planet it’s to ensure the majority of our runs are run at an easy pace.
If you have any questions, need help with your training, or if you’d like to find out more about my affordable coaching package for all levels and abilities please get in touch..