Yesterday when I headed out the door on my run my only focus was to slow down. I know that I need a week of more relaxed running, but the key is to make sure I am actually keeping my heart rate down and focusing on relaxing.
Here are a few of the tricks I try to use when focusing on easy running:
A few times throughout my run I noticed that I would begin picking up my pace and my breathing would get a bit heavier. When I noticed this happening I stopped running. I knew there was no time restraint so stopping wasn’t a big deal.
I would take a deep breath, calm my breathing down and then start right back up running again. This helped me to regroup and refocus.
2. Take a Deep Breath
When I find myself starting to tense up the first thing I do is take a deep breath in and then breathe out slowly. Not only does this help calm you down but it also works to relax your shoulders.
Often times when we begin to tense up, the first thing that you notice is your shoulders start to raise. When you relax your shoulders this in many ways begins to help relax the rest of your body.
3. Stay on Soft Ground
Though this isn’t always possible, when there is soft ground near or on the edge of the road I try to run on it. When I run on softer ground or grass it seems to slow me down and also helps to take some of the pounding off of my legs.
When I first began running again after my injury one of the first thing I focused on was staying on soft ground. There are some people that say it makes no difference, but I notice a big difference in how my legs feel on a soft ground run versus pavement, so I still like to try to throw it in once or twice a week.
4. Notice What is Around You
On the way back home from my tough workout on Sunday, Wes asked me if I had noticed the solar panel field on the road I had done my speed work on. I didn’t even know what he was talking about.
When I am focused on an intense run I really don’t pay attention to what is going on around me. I just focus on getting from point A to point B. However, on easy runs it really gives me time to slow down and NOTICE what is around me. Notice the beautiful scenery and just relax.
As they say, “stop and smell the roses.”
5. Don’t Plan Your Route
I know this is an odd one but I have noticed I do better when I just go run. I don’t have a course mapped out (though I pretty much always know basically where I need to go) and just let myself go with what I feel.
I don’t rush through it as much, I slow down, and I take the little side roads that I usually avoid. It really helps me to run easy and relaxed when I am exploring.
6. Heart Rate
Running easy is VITAL for injury free running. We can’t push ourselves all the time, or we will wind up hurt. It is also important to realize that what is easy for you one day may be hard the next time you run easy. You have to go off how your body is feeling and make sure you are listening to its cues. Heart rate is a great way to tell that.
If you keep your heart rate low know you are running easy for your body. This can change each time, but it is a pretty good indicator.
I ended up doing a total of 7 miles yesterday morning. I am happy to report I took them easy, ended feeling fresh (which was another goal) and easily could have kept going. To me that is a sign that I took it easy when I could easily keep going.
In Other News
I was fed up with the tons of bibs that Wes has collected over the years and had a spare frame, so I decided to make this simple collage.
I had seen it done several times online so I just went for it. Lets face it, he won’t be looking at them ever again if they just sit in a drawer stacked up so this is a perfect way to display them.
We’ve also officially lost the “off the couch” battle with our dog.
She never used to get on it, but after a couple weekends at the beach where she was allowed free reign of everything it now is almost a lost cause. It’s so hard to say no to that sweet face.
You pick your battles right?
How do you focus on going EASY?
What is your favorite restaurant to go eat at?