Training

Take It Easy

Easy Pace Running

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One of the most common training mistakes we see is running too fast on Easy days. Most runners either don’t fully understand the purpose of an Easy run or they’ve never calculated their suggested Easy pace based on a recent performance or accurate VO2Max test. As legendary coach Jack Daniels always says, “We are all individuals and must train with this in mind to achieve success.”

What Is An Easy Day?

  • Variety:  Easy pace running applies to warm-ups, cool-downs, recovery runs, recovery running within a workout and generally long runs.

  • Purpose:  Running at your Easy pace promotes physiological benefits that build a solid base from which higher-intensity training can be performed. The heart muscle is strengthened, muscles receive increased blood supplies and increase their ability to process oxygen delivered through the cardiovascular system.

Know Your Pace

  • Intensity:  Usually in the range of 59-74% of VO2max or 65-79% of your HRmax. Or in general terms, Easy running is running at a comfortable, conversational pace, which certainly may vary daily, depending on how you are feeling. You may be up to 20 seconds slower or faster than the specified pace on a given day.

  • Calculate Your Pace:  Every runner is different so they must learn how fast they should be running on an easy day. You can do this quickly using Jack Daniels’ Running Calculator by inputting a recent race result and then clicking the “Training” tab.

Remember, the benefits of an Easy day are more a product of time spent running versus intensity. If you decide to run a little faster you might be getting little added benefit and simply tiring yourself out more before your next race or workout. And if you’re running a lot faster than your designated Easy day pace you might be changing the purpose of the workout and setting yourself up for an injury through over-training.

Know your pace and yes – it should feel easy! Here are a few tips for how to keep your pace in check:

  1. Run with a GPS watch to help monitor your pace

  2. If you’re training for a race, follow an individualized training plan from an experienced coach, this will help you determine which days should be easy and which days should be workouts.

  3. If you’re running with a partner or group, the general rule of easy pace running is that you’re able to carry on a conversation.

Run Smart Project
Guest Contributor

Run Smart Project

The Run SMART Project provides private coaching and customized training plans to runners of all levels. Launched in 2005, Run SMART now has 12 coaches from world-class running backgrounds, working with thousands of clients worldwide.

Twitter @RunSMARTProjectRun Smart's Website

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