The Gap Between Easy & Hard Running
Easy runs easy; hard runs hard
What’s the gap between your workout pace and your long run pace? Is there even a gap between them?
Can you run your recovery pace too slow? Can you run your workout pace too fast?
Yes. And yes.
But in this post, I’m going to talk about the average of your easy/recovery run pace and the threshold pace you should be running and why that needs to be a decently wide gap.
I normally run my long runs by myself - and really every run by myself - and while I am a go-getter and have no problems running fast on my own, I found that running with 3 equally talented runners on Sunday that I was able to easily run a long run pace I haven’t seen in ages.
I know my fitness has improved (hello 3rd overall at the Atlantic City 10k), but I
think know I wouldn’t have run 9 miles at 7:30 pace on my own.
I found that running with friends was a really easy way for me to get my long run pace into the right zone, where I was effective and able to improve my fitness, rather than just “run another run”.
The gap between my threshold pace and this particlar long run was 90 seconds. It’s even more when I run my runs slower - almost 2 minutes between normal threshold running and my easy run pace.
Here’s some reasons why running with fast friends on “hard” days is good:
Your pace will be faster.
You can share the work.
It’s easier to run fast with company.
Now, on your easy days, you don’t want to run with speedy company - you want to focus on your true recovery effort so that you can run hard again when the time is right.
There are lots of benefits to running sans friends and I think the biggest pro is that you can run your run at the pace you need to run. If we run with friends, there’s a chance that the pace creeps into not-so-easy pace and all of a sudden, we aren’t recovering like we are supposed to. But when you run by yourself, you can dictate the pace.
At the end of the day, I believe it to be in every runner’s best interest to have a big gap between their easy run pace and their workout pace. As is the case with me, my workout pace for threshold runs is right around 6:10 pace and my easy run pace/recovery run pace is around 7:50-8:20. This gap allows me to recover on my easy days and get close to 10k race pace on workouts.
After this weekend, I think finding a mix between running by yourself and running with others is the key ingredient to running happy and fast.
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Friday’s Action Plan
A 90 second-2+ minute gap between your threshold running and your easy/recovery pace is optimal.
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