It’s pretty simple to race faster. Run fast, work hard, recover, run easy and repeat. The key is to slow down on easy and recovery days.
If you slow down on days when your legs need to recover, they will be fresh for hard workouts. And the hard workouts are what help you run faster, therefore you want to execute them to the best of your abilities…. correct? You can’t always run hard. You just can’t.
If you are constantly running in a state of fatigue, you’ll never reach your full potential. Sure, you can gain some ground and knock your times down a bit for the short term, but there is so much more to give if you truly recover.
Each run serves a purpose. And a variety of runs (short, long, fast, slow, hills, etc.) help develop running strength, both mentally and physically. Recovery, whether through easy runs or rest, is also critical. Doesn’t it feel great to just go run and not have a worry in the world about how fast you are going? A calm, relaxing run talking to a friend might be my favorite workout.
Here are some tips to help you slow down:
Stop being scared
Just because you are running at a much slower pace than you intend to on race day, doesn’t mean you can’t go fast when needed. Stop doubting your abilities and remind yourself the days you slow down will have a positive impact on race day.
Enjoy the slow
Running slow feels good. Isn’t it nice to not breath hard, not feel like you’re stressing your body and simply enjoy it for what it is? Let’s get back to why we started running in the first place.
Find a friend
Chances are there is someone you’d like to catch up with. An easy run is the perfect opportunity to log both miles and friend time. If you can’t have a fluid conversation, you are running too fast.
I find podcasts to be amazing for solo, slow runs. Comedies, inspirational, educational, there are a gazillion out there–figure out what you enjoy.
Throw in some strides
Some people struggle with slowing down because they want that feeling of intensity when they finish a workout. Strides are great for training in the first place and throwing them in at the end of an easy run will give you the “good workout” feeling you desire. Not to mention, they help you loosen up and become a stronger, more economical runner.
Now, go run slow. And have some fun!