Redefine Your Easy: Not Just Slow Running
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The body is inherently lazy. It is clever in finding ways to have you take the easy way out. When training towards big goals we need to get past this. Check your base point of training and redefine your easy.
Easy is a relevant concept. I’ve written about the power of easy runs before. Those concepts still hold true. There are different ways to make runs easy. Easy may be faster than we think.
Most easy runs will occur while recovering from a harder run. Either a long run or a set of intervals. So it would be normal to expect to feel sore or heavy in the legs. Perceived exertion may be significantly higher than the intensity truly is.
After running for many years it pays to check your habits every so often. I had fallen into the habit of making my easy runs so easy they almost no longer resembled running. Instead they had become better described as a shuffle. Too far removed from the technique I was aiming for.
Is this really a problem?
It is when it pulls you away from an efficient running technique.
This leads to a challenge.
How do you keep the run easy while raising the intensity to ensure better technique?
The answer is to remember intensity isn’t the only variable to determine the difficulty of a run. Keeping an easy run relatively short can allow you to up the intensity a little bit more.
Most of my easy runs were between 8-15km. In these I kept the intensity very low. While the movement at a low intensity aided I the recovery from harder runs, it was taking away from my technique.
Now I focus on technique during my easy runs. Ensuring proper knee lift, good leg extension and push off all the way through the toes. This raises the heart and breathing rates more. I am accepting this as long as I’m not reaching my anaerobic threshold and accumulating lactic acid. To keep the run still within the easy range I am dropping the distance down to between 5-10km. The shorter distance stops the run from taking away from the next of training.
The faster running and more complete technique is a little more difficult. They highlight where I am sore from previous hard training. Here the body and brain attempt to kick in the lazy habits. More concentration is now needed to override the inherent laziness.
On the plus side I am finding I feel fresher going into the harder runs. Faster running is feeling a bit more natural and dare I say it… easier.
How do you approach your easy runs?
Let me know