Saturday, March 19, 2011

Importance of Easy Runs

I'm reading Ryan Hall's "Running With Joy", which really is a wealth of great running information. A large part of the book reads as his daily running log during his training period leading up to last year's Boston Marathon. Yeah, he talks about religion a lot in it, but it's more of how it pertains to him and I don't see it as being preachy. It's really just him being honest about himself, which I respect.

One thing that I was kind of surprised at is how many of his runs are "easy". And when he runs easy, he REALLY runs easy. His pace on these runs is often times in the 7:XX/mile range. Now, considering he runs marathons at roughly around 4:50/mile pace, that's a very significant slow down. And, he does them quite often and talks in depth about how they are an important part at letting the body recover while still getting in volume.

Of course, his interval work and tempo runs are jaw dropping fast, but he always supplements his training weeks with plenty of easy runs. This was encouraging to see. It's easy for me to look at other people's training logs and think "man, I should be going as fast as him/her". Fortunately, I've never gone too crazy acting out on that during this training cycle, but still, reading Hall's book has been a good mental check and underscores the importance of easy runs.

So, with that in mind, I kept the pace nice and slow today, which was welcome after yesterday's mile repeats. I was particularly happy to see that my heart rate averaged just 123 with an 8:31/mile pace. Half the time I was breathing through my nose. With the ease of the run, I concentrated on just taking in the scenery. I noticed Canadian geese hanging out in a mowed down corn field, red-winged blackbirds, and even spotted a very bright male cardinal hanging out in some brush.

The weather was also quite interesting. Yesterday, it was well into the 60s but when I woke up this morning it was snowing pretty moderately. I had hoped it would lighten up or stop by the time I had my morning coffee, but not the case and I was tired of waiting so off I went. Big, wet snowflakes fell throughout the run. Roads a bit slushy in spots, but overall not too bad and the snow made it kind of fun.

Ran 10.2 miles @ 8:31/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 123/137
Paved roads, stretches covered in snow or slush.
Slightly hilly.
33 degrees, overcast, snowing.
Saucony Kinvara, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.


mindy said...

Nice run Jamie. I think the easy run stuff makes a lot of sense - especially for the mental break, too. It's easy to "expend energy" just stressing (even subconsciously) about pace and where things should be. You are so going to slay that Boston course!

middle.professor said...

Easy runs being *very* easy is a very, very consistent theme among the best runners. A very common story is the runner who "wins" all the practices (HS or college) but then sucks in meets. The key of course is putting in the volume and hard workouts that Hall does. If you aren't running really hard on workout days and high weekly mileage, then super-slo-mo easy runs probably aren't as necessary.

Daniel Edmondson said...

Read the book too and loved it. nice blog

DvB said...

Thanks for the tip on the book. I'm going to get "Born to Run" soon and maybe I'll pick this up as well:-)