Making Easy Runs Easy

Easy runs should be easy, so why do we make them harder than they should be.  I know I’m guilty of too fast pacing on those recovery days.

We all have a running pace that we have a natural fall into.  The go-to pace.  On a scale of 1-10, it would be a 5.

A 5 on that scale wouldn’t be easy though, would it?

So how do you run easier?

.1. Run by Rate of Perceived Effort

Using a sliding scale of 1-10.

This means you need to tune into your body and rate how you feel based on that scale.

Questions that you can ask yourself are:

    • Can I run this pace for XX time / XX Distance?
      • If the answer is NO, then you are running too fast and you need to slow down.
    • How’s my heart rate?

To make yourself more honest with an RPE scale, remove 3 & 7 from the range.

Why these numbers? Because they are the middle of the upper and lower spectrum.  Be honest here and you will give yourself a more authentic answer.

My running watch (Polar Grit X), asks the RPE every time I do a workout, and it’s something that I really like.  It’s a good overall check-in for how the workout really felt.

Strava (Premium) also has this feature and they use the term “Rate of Perceived Exertion”.

.2. Run based on Heartrate

Your heart rate is an excellent indicator of your effort.

Heart rate zones will usually fall into zone categories.  1 being the easiest, 5 being maximum effort.

Two excellent resources to help you calculate your zones are:

.3. Run Without a Watch

What! Without a Watch, no I just simply can’t do that!

It’s easy to become too reliant on technology.  The GPS watch is a relatively new gadget, we ran perfectly fine for years without knowing all the stats.

If you find it hard to run without a watch, then try these options.

    • Turn off all sounds on your watch
    • Cover your watch.
      • A) with a bit of paper or cardboard
      • B) with long sleeves.  Bonus points if the sleeve is tight and makes it really hard to uncover your wrist.
    • Run with an app like Strava
      • Make sure to turn off all notifications

.4. Focus on Your Breath

This comes back to your rate of perceived effort/exertion.

One of the quickest ways to slow you down is to shut your mouth and to breathe only through your nose.

You’ll quickly find that you just can’t go fast and in order to breathe comfortably from your nose only, you have to slow down.

But Why Should I Slow Down?

The only way you can get faster, is by making your easy/recovery run days, just that. EASY.

Run too hard on those easy days, and those hard workouts will be a lot harder.

Slowing down gives your body a chance to recover, and will mean that you will have the energy to push harder on the hard workouts days, and in turn will mean come race day you will get the result you are wanting and looking for.


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