Running Slower - 8th July 2018

Simon - running coach
by Simon - Middle-distance runner and athletics coach

Last month, I let you know when it's acceptable to run more quickly. In the interest of balance, here are some acceptable and advisable reasons to slow down a touch.

You're tired/sick/hungover

Slow down! You're doing pretty well getting out there at all in your state.

You've been training hard

Maybe you had a race yesterday, or you've done a couple of harder sessions in a row. Make sure you balance your hard training with easy training. Often, a very easy run can help promote recovery by getting blood flowing and nutrients delivered to fatigued muscles.

You're in a group

I hate group runs where people run off at their own pace. It completely defeats the point of a group run. If you're with slower runners then slow down and run with them.

You're in the middle of a session

One of the biggest mistakes runners make in sessions is to believe that faster or harder always means better.

Different training intensities have different benefits. If you exceed sufficient intensity you may still get training benefits, but you put yourself under unnecessary stress, make it less likely to finish the session, prolong required recovery time and increase injury risk. Do the minimum amount of work that's necessary to get results.

You're warming up

You'll want a bit of race-pace running in your warm-up, but you should at least start nice and gently. The point of the warm-up is to get ready for a session or a race. If you overdo it you'll compromise your efforts and performance.

That first rep

It's all too easy to race off on the first rep of an interval session. In addition to the general point made above, you also risk tiring yourself out for subsequent reps. Always start conservatively - you'll do little harm if you're slightly under the prescribed pace for a rep or two.

For recovery

You can even call it a "recovery run" on Strava if you like.