Moving on to daily running

I have been running for 4 days per week for quite a long time now - but have to admit that I have been doing too much "hard" running - and am nowhere near the concept of 80/20 ( 80% easy running/20% hard running)

Reading the 80/20 book, I have previously discarded the concept as it seems that it was aimed at possibly more competitive runners - running 6-7 days per week. BUT - after spending this weekend going through the Arthur Lydiard "jogging" book that I posted here last week, I am inspired to do more easy running. So for the three days of the week that I now currently do nothing (not really interested in things like cross-training) , I am going to start to do easy jogs of only 15 minutes on each of these days. Lydiard makes it quite clear why he believes that we need to get our heart rates up to around Zone 2 numbers ( although he came before heart rate monitors were readily available) - he calls his easy runs to be a situation where you run for whatever time you intend but finish in a position where you are happy to finish, but also feel that you could have gone on for a bit longer) . He explains how the heart works to "pump up" the vascular system - it needs a certain minimum blood pressure over a certain time to push blood into the many tiny places where blood should go - but doesn't in unfit people :) Hence his call for even non-competitive runners to run easily EVERY day - but only for so long as they do it by feel. In his words it is better to stop a run early than to "struggle through" !!! This is not what we normally hear .

So - I will start out doing this tomorrow - a really easy 15 minute run from my house - it will be so short and easy that I won't really need to think too much about what clothes or shoes I should wear- the object being to just get my HR into zone 2 for 15 minutes. After a month of this, if I am feeling OK, I may then increase the times of these "recovery" days by a few minutes - and go ahead from there. I currently do about 1+ hours of HARD workouts during a week- including parkrun- so I really need to do up to up to 4 hours of easy to match that. These 4 hours will of course include a long run - but longruns tend to start out easy and finish "hard" so long longruns cant be considered to be easy!! :)

9 Replies

  • Thanks for this Bazza. From what I've read, it would seem that many if not most people do run too hard. I'm "only" a three runs a week person at the moment which is going to increase after next week's 10k trail run. But even using my monitor I know most of my runs work out as hard. This is partly due to my location, not a flat run to be had unless I drive somewhere (which I don't want to do) or run the same bits of trail (ex railway line) which are long inclines rather than an out and out hill and I seem to have a high exercising heart rate. Your post is timely😀

  • Really interesting post. I know that I sometimes struggle to know what "easy" means, as a relatively recent c25k graduate. Every run, short or long, felt hard! However, yesterday I ran 6.5 k, my longest distance yet, and I did stop before the tank was completely empty. It felt good to know that I could have run a little longer, if I had wanted to. Interesting to hear about the benefits of a daily run- I'm not at that point but I am enjoying HIIT sessions, swimming and the occasional circuits class. Well done and thanks for the excellent post.

  • I think that the reason "easy" runs often feel hard - is because they are!! :) Easy running for me is quite slow - and when I am by myself there is always a bit of a tendency to say to oneself "Let's get this over and done with!!" and therefore tend to run that just a little bit too fast. I did a couple of 30 minute "easy" runs this weekend - and deliberately ignored my pace as much as I could. My breathing was completely under control - and in terms of breathing I could have run "forever" -- BUT , in terms of legs and feet, not so. I ran/walked 20 klm during the week at about the same pace as what I did these non-stop short 30 min runs this weekend - and the short non-stop run were more tiring on my feet than the long run/walk!!!

  • Excellent post, thank you x

    Ties in to a meandering one recently over on c25k. I only run 3 days but even without an hr monitor I am aware they are 'hard', not much left at the end. Not what I've intended to do but my pace is improving and I've gone with it rather than 'holding back' a bit.

    It'll be interesting to hear how you get on with it and what the 'result' is.

    Good luck

  • Great post. I've just started a new 10k plan and for the first three weeks the mileage is much higher than what I normally do, but much much slower paced. 11.30-13.09 minute miles. I've yet to do the run at between 12.19-13.09 pace, but it is the day before an 8 mile run ( which will be the longest I have yet done ) so am keen to do this super slow run super slow. It is above my brisk walk pace but not so much, so I am thinking it may be a run/walk to keep it down or is it possible to run only at this pace ? Who knows - I can but try !

  • I do find it easier to run/walk these slow paces -- BUT I kind of feel that this is the easy way out. So for my shorter easy runs, I will persevere with non-stop running - but will train for the HM using run/walk.

  • Great post - I am sure you will feel the benefit. This is what I currently do (I'm another that's not a great fan of cross training, but I can get out for a run every day). I use my hr monitor to verify the 'easy' runs - even then, it's quite a discipline to keep going slow. I have found it has helped my breathing for when I am doing a hard run as you become much more aware of the impact deep breathing can have. As I have got fitter, I can now run /slow jog up inclines rather than have to stop to walk (to keep the hr down) so I am clearly getting fitter (it's just a VERY slow process!). I'll look forwards to hearing how you get on.

  • Seeing as how you are doing working with HR - do you do any hard days doing HR fartleks??? Run ( either slower and longer or faster and shorter) until your HR goes up to say 85-90% of max and then walk until it goes down to 70%

  • See, Bazza, I don't have any problem in running slow, my problem is pushing myself to gradually increase. I have been quite happy doddering along at 4 - 4.5k ish for 30 mins since I graduated. I don't have that urge (yet) to extend my speed or distance.

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