Six tips to master your easy runs
Recovery runs seem like the most straightforward session on your training plan, but many of us struggle to get them right. Too often, runners push themselves too hard on their easy days, which not only takes away from their ability to perform during workouts, but ultimately leads to injuries and burnout. If you frequently find yourself picking up the pace when you know you shouldn’t, try implementing these tips to help you slow down.
1.- Run with a friend
Make your easy days a social occasion, and enlist a friend to chat with while you run. You’ll often hear people say your recovery runs should be done at “talking pace,” and this is a great way to ensure they stay that way. Just choose your running buddy wisely–an over-competitive friend or someone who always tries to stay a half-step ahead of you can end up making you run faster. (Schedule runs with those pals on workout days instead.)
2.- Ditch the GPS (and Strava)
We know, we know–if it’s not on Strava, it didn’t happen. But if you’re someone who can’t resist cranking up the pace for the kudos, then leave Strava and the GPS watch at home. Recovery runs are a great opportunity to disconnect and run by feel, rather than by a prescribed pace. If you’re running hard enough on your workout days, your body will welcome the slower pace.
3.- Run by heart rate
This one takes a little research beforehand, but running by heart rate is an excellent way to monitor your pace on easy days, because it takes into account other factors, such as how much sleep you got the night before, how hot it is outside or how hilly your route is.
First, calculate your maximum heart rate. From there, you can determine what your heart rate should be for a variety of runs. Most experts recommend, for an easy run, targeting a heart rate that is 65-75 per cent of your maximum heart rate. Our suggestion? Stick to the lower end of that range.
4- Pick the right shoes
Your easy runs are not the time to put on your high-performance carbon-plated running shoes. Choose something very comfortable, rather than shoes that encourage speed.
5.- Focus on form
To take your mind off of how fast you’re going, try focusing on your form during your recovery runs. If you’re not sure what part of your running form you should try to improve, book an appointment with a physiotherapist who works with runners and who can give you a formal gait assessment. They will be able to show you what you need to work on and give you cues to practise to maintain good form, even at an easy, comfortable pace.
6.- Change up your music
Music is a known performance enhancer, and let’s face it–who doesn’t want to speed up when their favourite track comes on? If your playlist is hyping you up too much on your easy runs, try picking slower, more relaxing tunes, or listening to a podcast or audiobook instead.
posted Thursday September 14th
by Brittany Hambleton