It is no secret that life seems to moves at a fast pace. I know that I’m not the only one who wishes for more hours in the day or has a To-Do list that never seems to end. Consequently, as runners we tend to sometimes run a little faster than we should so we can get to everything else that needs to be done. However, taking time to slow down and appreciate the moment will not only give you some mental clarity, but it will ultimately improve your running.
I am often guilty of having that oh so busy schedule and something I did not realize until my friend Robin looked over my training log and told me I need to slow down, that I was that I was rushing one or two of my easy runs per week. I was having increased tiredness because I was putting forth too much effort into my “easy” runs. I don’t know why it took someone looking at my logged miles for me to realize this, perhaps I was in denial? Who knows!
Easy days are not given enough credit. They are just as important as the hard days because they allow your body to rest slightly and the ability to absorb the more intense efforts. If you are making the same mistake I was and running your recovery days too fast, your body is not able to fully benefit from the harder runs because it may still be tired. So, even though it may seem beneficial to constantly run at a faster speed, in reality we might be doing ourselves more harm by slowing down our progress and causing too much stress on the body. There is also an increase of risk for injuries such as tendinitis and stress fractures when you push your easy days too fast. You won't be well rested for your next speed session, you’ll increase your risk of hitting ‘the wall’ much sooner, and like myself, you will suffer from a state of perpetual exhaustion. I know there are some athletes that aren’t a fan of recovery pace, but like I always say, you need to learn what is best for YOU. I am just trying to be as transparent as I can about my training ups and downs.
Also, I'm learning the difference between "active recovery days" & "rest days" and when my body needs each. Apparently my "active recovery" is too intense and I need to turn it down a few notches. I'm working on not feeling guilty if I take a "rest day", I just don't know how to say still. ha.
So, on your next easy run, be sure not to rush through it. Notice your surroundings, slow down to admire the beautiful changing fall leaves and enjoy the moment! As my coach says, “learn to run relaxed with a smooth, fluid form, it’s easier to do when you slow down your pace and enjoy the run!”
Dream Big. Work Hard. :)