Time On Your Feet
What's better: running your runs faster or spending more time on your feet?
Should you run your runs fast or should you spend more time running at an easier pace?
While I typically suggest to my runners that I’d prefer they run slower for longer, I definitely see the appeal of trying to crank out a long run at faster-than-easy pace. If there is one right answer, I don’t have it, so instead, I’ll be writing about the benefits and setbacks of both approaches.
Benefits of slower running:
When you spend more time on your feet at a slower pace, you can recover from that run quicker.
Low-intensity running allows you to run more volume. More running miles will make you a better runner.
Slower running limits the risk of injury. If all you do is run slower miles, your risk of injury goes down. Intensity increases the risk of injury.
Easy running isn’t a pace, it’s a feeling. So if your easy run pace is quicker than normal, that doesn’t mean it’s not easy, it means you are fitter, the weather is more ideal, or you are feeling fully recovered.
If you struggle to run slow, you might want to consider running for time instead of distance. Running for 50 minutes instead of 6 miles may help. You can’t make 50 minutes come any quicker, but you can increase your speed to get 6 miles done faster.
Cons of slower running:
To really see any benefits from your running, you need to stimulate your cardiovascular system. If you run too slow, you will never challenge that system enough to gain any fitness.
If you are forced to run too slow, you risk creating poor running form habits.
Benefits of running faster:
Faster running increases your exertion level and when you exert yourself more, you gain fitness.
Some runners (a small percentage of all runners) respond better to running easy runs faster.
If you can balance quality running and the quantity of running well, then you may be a candidate for faster easy runs.
Cons of faster running:
If every run is fast, you’ll never give yourself a chance to recover.
Recovery runs are just as important as hard runs. They serve a purpose, so neglecting them is taking away from some of your training.
If you are unsure about what pace you should run your easy runs at, try training with a heart rate monitor.
At the end of the day, consistent running - even if the pace is slower than you’d like - without injury always trumps running fast and getting injured, in my opinion.
If your goal is to stay injury-free, then yes, just run “slow”. If you want to improve your fitness, challenge your
Friday’s Action Plan:
Whether you run by effort or pace, the goal is to stay healthy. Slow, healthy running is far better than fast and injured. Mix paces, surfaces, and effort levels to gain fitness and minimize the risk of injury.
What’s Got My Attention:
Popular Articles on the Blog this Week:
Striders? Yes, please! - the benefits of strides and when the best time to incorporate them into your training.
Everything You Need for an Easy Run - if you aren’t sure what your easy pace should be, this is the post for you.
Tips to Increase Your Stride Rate - improve your stride length by focusing on the areas you can adjust: your stride length and stride frequency.
Popular Newsletter Sessions:
Listen to Your Body - If you are listening to your body’s warning signs and it’s telling you that a day off, or a day of less miles, is what it needs, then take it!
Run Fast - using speed work to improve your running performances
Quote of the Day:
You are on the verge of something great. Don't quit. Keep pushing yourself. I'm proud of you for being so determined!
Connect with me:
Here’s what I’m working on and what I’d love you to check out:
Thanks for following along on the journey! Have something you’d like to add? Have suggestions or comments? Email me: TrainwithMarc@gmail.com
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Marc is a middle school teacher and coach but also works with distance runners online. I help distance runners around the globe by providing support, writing customized training plans, and designing workouts to help them reach their racing goals. I write for my blog every Wednesday morning and newsletter every Friday morning.