Tips for Running Easy Miles
Let’s face it. It’s not always easy to slow down. But it is often in your best interest. While it is essential to challenge yourself with interval training and testing your top speeds, research indicates that running easy miles frequently as a part of your routine is one of the most critical factors for improving your long-distance abilities.
Why does running easy miles help me run faster? Because you’re becoming a more experienced runner. You can add more miles to your schedule while avoiding the potential damage you can do to your body by overtraining. Running easy allows you to become a better runner over time by focusing on all the important details that optimize your running routine.
The Best Tips for Adding More Easy Miles to Your Running Schedule
Figure Out Your Ideal Pace
Easy running is a term that can be hard to quantify. What is a comfortable pace for one athlete may be pushing the limits of another. Many factors can influence the ideal speed for people when building an easy running routine.
- Your goals as a runner. If you are training for a timed or long-distance event, your pace for easy running may be different than if you are a casual runner.
- Other training exercises that are in your routine. Many athletes supplement their running with weight lifting and cross-training exercises. If you have pushed yourself hard the day before or earlier the same day, you may want to slow down even more to get the best fitness results.
The general rule is that your heart rate should be no more than 75 percent of your maximum, but you must also pay attention to your body’s signals. No matter what type of runner you are, your ideal easy running pace is not absolute. There is no penalty for running slower. Instead, determine an ideal speed depending on your needs and goals. After all, getting out and running is the vital part.
Listen to Your Body
Establishing a routine and an ideal speed is imperative; the best way to do this is to take cues from your body. Your muscles and joints tell you when you’re going too hard. Think of it as your internal alarm signaling for you to slow down. If you’re feeling tense, sore, or exhausted but still need to get your workout in, take it easy on yourself and run more easy miles.
Because so many factors influence your running performance, it is vital to listen to any signs your body gives you every time you go out for a jog. Some factors to consider when you are deciding on the intensity of your run include:
- Whether you are recovering from an injury? You may need to slow down if you are recovering from an injury, whether mild or severe. For example, if you are rehabilitating or trying to prevent new injuries, it’s better to finish your run comfortably than push yourself to match the times you previously held.
- How did you feel on that day? Training is dynamic, and your easy pace on Monday may be slower than Friday. Trust the way you feel and slow down. There is no such thing as going too slow when pacing your easy runs.
Set Clear Goals For Your Run and Focus on Them
Having the right mind frame is essential when going on an easy run. You don’t want to get overzealous when concentrating on slowing down your pace. It isn’t necessary to time your miles every time you hit the road or trail. Instead, you should be completely focused and set goals that allow you to achieve the best results possible.
Some things that can help you when you are consciously trying to slow down your runs include:
- Pay attention to your movements. You want your running form to be natural. Don’t compromise your running style as a result of slowing down your speed. Instead, try to use similar arm and leg movements to what you would when running competitively but recognize that you will be reducing your range of motion when running slower. Look to improve your form if you notice any laboring in your movements.
- Focus on your feet. When you run slower, you will be taking more steps which will help build the muscles you will use during more intense runs. However, pay attention to where your foot is striking the ground and choose the method that feels the most comfortable for you. Set clear goals for improving your consistency with your striking that will carry over to more demanding runs.
Run Easy Miles More Often
Easy runs should make up most of your training schedule regardless of your goals. Many experts agree that you should be running at a reduced speed at least half the time. Running easy allows you to recover from your more intensive training sessions while still gaining muscle and practicing proper posture and breathing techniques.
Easy runs can make up as much as 75 to 80 percent of your marathon or other competitive training schedules. But they must be worked into your routine no matter your running goals. For example, if you’re training for a longer race, you can save your high-intensity session once or twice a week. Or you can stick to primarily easy runs if you are running for fun or to improve your overall health.
Try including an easy run, at least every other time you train, to ensure that you aren’t burning out. You will build your slow-twitch muscles, which will allow you to improve your distance running and overall endurance on your easy run days. The slower pace and constant activity will enhance your ability to run for greater distances and, in combination with other exercises, can improve your running times.
Why You Need More Easy Miles In Your Running Schedule
If most of your running is not composed of easy runs, you may want to rethink your routine. Whether you are training for a race or just casually running, you should be jogging at an easy run pace at least half the time and possibly much more. Improve your running results and your overall well-being, and slow down!
Want to read more articles like this?
- Trail Runner Magazine: The Science And Art Of Pacing Easy Runs
- University of Utah Health: 5 Training Tips for Running a Half Marathon Or Marathon
- Cleveland Clinic: How to Become a Faster Runner
- Runners World: Everything you need to know about running easy miles
- National Library of Medicine: World-Class Long-Distance Running Performances Are Best Predicted by Volume of Easy Runs and Deliberate Practice of Short-Interval and Tempo Runs
- Training Peaks: The Importance of Easy Run Days
- Better Health Channel: Running and Jogging – Preventing Injury
- UCSF Health: Running a Marathon: Training Tips
- Men’s Journal: The Muscle Fiber Test
- Runners Connect: How to Run Slow with Proper Form and Technique