I am loving getting up and getting my workout done first thing in the morning. Not only does it help start my day off right, but I always feel so much better throughout the day!
Now that the time has changed it is nice and bright too when I get up. I knew rain was coming later in the day and since I really didn’t want to be on the treadmill again I knew that my run had to get done before heading off to work.
5 easy miles (with strides) completed before 7:30 am. That felt good!
I challenged myself a bit and ran a hillier course than normal. Sometimes it just feels better running up and down hills. It doesn’t mean it is easy, but it breaks it up. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the last mile of the course is downhill!
After I got home and looked at my watch (I purposely turn the watch face off when I have an easy run on the schedule), I was a little shocked at the average pace. Sure, it wasn’t super speedy but for a course with hills I was surprised I averaged under a 9:00 min/pace.
During the run there wasn’t one there wasn’t one point (aside from strides) that I felt like I was pushing too hard. My legs took a few miles to warm up, but once I got moving I felt good. None of the signs of running too fast were there. Some days we just have quicker days than others.
I got to thinking though, how do you make sure you are running “easy”?
Here are a few tips I have picked up over the years:
Run By Feel
This took me a while to master. Sure, it is simple but we are all so used to pushing ourselves. As I mentioned above when I have an easy run I don’t look at my watch. I turn it on to track distance, but then promptly turn the clock face on so I cannot look at pace. If you have a problem not looking at the pace, then just leave your watch at home.
Some days an “easy” pace will be quick and other days it will be much slower. That’s ok. That is a sign of what your body is needing that day.
Carry on a Conversation
One of the things I often use to measure if I am truly running easy is if I am able to comfortably carry on a conversation. This is easiest to test when I am running with my husband or a friend. As soon as my breathing begins to get heavy and I am having a hard time talking, I know that is a sign I need to slow down.
Heart Rate Monitoring
I actually have never done this myself, but if you have a heart rate monitor that can synch up to your Garmin or GPS watch use it! If you are able to track where your heart rate is, you should be able to accurately tell how much effort you are putting into your run. I really want to start doing this, but my current Garmin doesn’t have a heart rate monitor. It is something I plan on trying in the future!
Switch Up the Course
Mapping out a new course often helps me to run slower. If I don’t know every inch and turn of the course it causes me to slow down, pay attention to where I am going, and take in more of what is around me. If I do the course that I do every single day I often find myself rushing through them because I get bored.
Run with a Friend
Running with a friend not only slows you down, but allows you to not focus on the pace. Use your easy days to run with others and it will also give you a little extra boost of motivation. Sometimes just knowing you have a running buddy helps to get you out there door when you would much rather stay in bed!
Focus on Breathing
Sometimes when we run too fast our breathing gets out of control. This happens when I first start my run as well. When I need to slow myself down I stop focusing on the run itself and focus on controlling my breathing. You want to breathe in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth. As you begin to focus on this your body starts to relax and your pace usually levels out.
In addition to focusing on breathing, try to focus on relaxing your body. As you take a deep breath in make sure to relax your shoulders and your arms. Usually the first sign you are beginning to get tired from running too quickly is when your upper body begins to tense up. Keep your shoulders and arms relaxed and you will be surprised how much this helps!
Those are just a few of the things I do to make sure I am running a proper “easy” pace when my schedule calls for it.
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What tips do you have for making sure you run easy?
Do you prefer easy runs or workouts?.