Easy miles are really important.
They’re actually the foundation of most training plans.
But are you logging those miles too fast—or too slow? That’s where today’s post comes in handy.
In today’s article, I’ll briefly discuss some of the benefits of easy miles, as well as how to make sure you run them at the right place.
Let’s get started.
What is An Easy Run
Basically, easy runs consist of sustained and continued run at a pace that’s dependent on the feedback your body is giving you at the moment.
Instead of shooting for a certain distance or specific fast pace, the goal during the easy run is to keep a relaxed and loose pace with little conscious control. You’re basically letting your body running at the pace it wants to run.
Easy runs are an essential part of any runner’s weekly training routine and cannot be overlooked. It’s, in reality, the backbone of effective training.
As a rule, easy miles should make up a large portion of your total weekly mileage.
Your Pace And Physiological Adaptations
When you run easy, you’re primarily engaging your slow-twitch muscle fibers.
They have high levels of aerobic enzymes, a higher density of mitochondria, and a far superior capillary density than fast-twitch fiber (the ones in charge of higher intensity exercise, such as sprinting.
And, of course, don’t take my word for it.
There’s plenty of research that looked into how the aerobic system reacts and adapts to certain training paces.
According to research, capillary development peaks at roughly 60 and 75 percent of the 5K pace.
The research has also reported that peak stimulation of myoglobin in type I muscle fiber happens at roughly 63 to 77 percent of VO2 max—this is roughly 55 to 75 percent of 5K pace.
Running Faster Vs. Running Slower
It should come as no surprise, but most runners presume that the best way to run faster and further is to simply run endless miles at a faster and more challenging pace.
But doesn’t running faster and pushing harder while training improves the aerobic system more rapidly?
This actually may achieve the opposite. Not only may it limit your aerobic development, but it increases your risk of injury and overtraining.
In fact, most experts would strongly urge you to run your slow runs easy—as the name implies.
As we just discussed in the research above, slow is the way to go if you want to turn your body into an endurance machine.
How to Find The Proper Easy Pace
Let’s get practical.
So what’s actually the best easy run pace for you?
As a rule of thumb, easy runs should be performed at an easy pace—in fact, the pace is the most vital thing to keep easy.
As long as you stick to this pace, you can still recover if you run a few more miles. But trying to push the pace, even with fewer miles, would achieve nothing but hinder your recovery. And you don’t want that
Here are a few pointers:
Easy runs are low-intensity sessions of short to mild duration. That’s why a long run, even at a super easy pace, shouldn’t be considered easy.
Keep your easy pace at roughly 55 to 75 percent of your 5K pace. Pushing faster than 75 percent of your 5K pace on your long runs doesn’t offer a lot of extra physiological benefits.
This might seem too easy, but as the previous research clearly shows that it still offers near peak physiological aerobic adaptation.
Your easy miles pace will be different from one day to the other, depending on your fitness level, recovery rate, terrain, weather, etc.
That’s why you should also rely on non-pace factors to monitor the intensity (and speed) of your easy runs.
- Keep a conversational pace in which you can talk and run without much huffing puffing. Can’t recite the pledge of allegiance without panting for air? You’re going too fast.
- You feel comfortable and relaxed the entire time. Your pace is sustainable, fun, and a little bit boring. Reaching the finish line shouldn’t be a concern.
- During your easy miles, your heart rate should be roughly 60 to 65 percent of the maximum heart rate. The easy formula for estimating your heart rate is 220-your age.
If you’ve ever struggled to keep an easy pace during a recovery run, then today’s post will get you started on the right path. The rest is really up to you.
Please feel free to leave your tips and suggesstions in the section below.
In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.