Learning to run more slowly

I have always run alone and generally gone as fast as I could. I tend to finish well out of breath and neither much enjoy the run nor much look forward to the next one. I have been told more than once on this forum that I need to slow down to enjoy it more and there may be something in that because this evening I did something I have never done before - I joined up with a group of runners and ran at a much slower pace.

The group do a loop of varying length near my house and were very welcoming. We set off and immediately split into 2 groups of faster & slower runners. I went with the faster ones and we did a fairly leisurely 6.5km in about 35 mins. I have never tried to run at such an easy pace and found that I could comfortably chat away with my new friends whilst running. At the finish I felt I could easily have gone on for a few more km so on Sunday I will join them again on their 10k run. Maybe I can learn to enjoy this running lark after all...


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31 Replies

  • 'a fairly leisurely 6.5km in about 35 mins'?!!!! Jesus! You have been pushing yourself haven't you :-O

    I think a light bulb has gone on somewhere...slow and steady and enjoy yourself from now on!

  • It may have been 36 or 37 minutes Khrissy. I wasn't timing it but was told we were running at 5:30 / 5:40 pace. That's nearly a minute per km slower than I normally run my intervals so it felt quite easy. I am looking forward to the 10k.

  • Thanks KK. I think I will.

  • I am glad to hear that you had such a great time. For distance running (rather than sprinting, which is not what C25K is about), I have heard that ideally you are able to run at a pace fast enough to get your heart rate up into the "target aerobic" zone, but slow enough to still be able to talk.

    In fact, the ability to "talk" is a key way that people test if they are working out at the ideal intensity for cardio. You should need deep breaths, but still be able to speak. (Fun fact: why do military runs have singing? To set the tempo and ensure all the runners are not over-exerting. "Sound off: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4.")

    To be sure, high-intensity training can also be great for you (like your solo runs). But both speeds are doing you worlds of good.

  • Ha ha. Never thought about the military chanting like that before.

  • I believe they call it 'yomping'.

  • Sounds like you focused to much on the deed and not about the journey. Running at a slower pace allows you to go much further. This way you will start to appreciate your surroundings and be comfortable with your own thoughts. There are people on here that listen to lectures, sermons and even desert island discs whilst doing their long runs. I personally like to listen to nature ( a great sound!). Good to run with people too to keep you motivated. Hope you continue to enjoy your running legs! :)

  • Hmm, maybe I should try one of Mrs L's talking books?

  • Pleased you enjoyed a good run and that going a bit slower has proved beneficial for you. Good luck on the next run and best wishes.

  • Thanks Fitmo. Running more slowly was certainly more enjoyable but I do still have 2 targets to reach over the next couple of weeks (9k in 45, 10k in 50) so I will still have to push it hard for some of my runs. Also the group were talking about a 10k race in May...

  • No bad thing to do some of each - slow ones for real pleasure and harder ones for race training. Cheers.

  • Well ChrisL you are obviously a runner but you say that you don't enjoy it. It's the competitive instinct in you or is it because every run is a challenge that you don't want to fail in. That need to succeed will not go away but you do have to balance it with enjoyment. When you read other blogs the under current of the text is how much they enjoy running. I can associate with you to some extent. I have courses which i have goal times and best times to beat. Other days i take different routes and just enjoy the run. Try this as a challenge. Go out with out a watch, don't look at the time when you leave or return - just enjoy the run. A final point if your natural speed is around 4.40 per k then the goals you set yourself for 9k and 10k should be easily attainable so you really don't have to up your speed.

  • Maybe I will try a completely untimed run baronblaze, though that also implies not knowing the distance which seems a bit odd. BTW I am not that quick, I wish I was. I run at 4:40 when I am doing run walk. It averages out closer to 5:00 overall.

  • You dont need to know anything about time or distance. Just run until you feel like turning around and heading for home again.

  • Good for you! I enjoyed reading this.

    Everyone's "slow and steady" is different, of course. My one and only 10k took me 100 minutes. :) Hope you'll get much more enjoyment out of your running now you've found that you can vary the pace - I bet it will help you to go even faster, too, by building stamina. Have fun investigating!

  • Hi GreenLegs, I have read that Long Slow Runs (LSR to the pros I believe) are the key to building both stamina & speed. Not sure I understand why that is but hey...

  • I can't remember the exact details of the science but a very well-respected running coach once explained to me why slow and steady is more effective at building stamina and speed than running flat out and falling over... Something to do with teaching the body to utilise fuel efficiently. I was told the ideal training plan consists of one short fast run/speed intervals, one long slow distance run and one or two middle distance 'tempo' runs which is just fast enough that you push yourself but not so fast you are totally out of breath and panting. Basically it seems that running flat out until you fall over will only result in burn-out, either physically or mentally or both- or so I was told!

  • So if I run 3 times a week YJB1 I should do one of each each week. That sounds like a good way to get into a sensible regular routine that could provide both the enjoyable runs I have missed/avoided and the more competitive aspect that I think I need. Thanks for that.

  • Keep us posted as to how it goes! :)

  • "Everyone's "slow and steady" is different, of course." Haha. It certainly is. I was running with a group last night for the first time (I'm on w7r2). Everyone left me behind almost immediately. I just turned Laura back up to full volume and plodded on. At least it made me more adventurous in the route I chose.

  • Good for you for going out with a group while still on the C25K program Barge. You are braver than I was. I was slightly worried they might all shoot off and leave me for dead yesterday but I am learning (very, very slowly it seems) that most runners, even younger and/or experienced runners that look the part do not actually run all that fast - at least not when they are just out for a training run.

  • We could swap places ChrisL. You would feel like you're running in treacle. You could always listen to very very slow music to slow you down. Or there's probably a metronome app you can download that slows down your speedy legs.

  • Not sure I could jog around to Bach's funeral march or similar Tinyrun. Or that I want or need to go any slower than yesterday as it felt very comfortable. Actually the cadence was not really very much lower than my usual pace (about 80 instead of 84/85) so I must have been taking shorter strides too, which makes sense I guess - more of a jogging motion than a run.

  • So glad that you went out and enjoyed your run- hope the 10k run goes well too. My slow and steady is slow-if I went any slower I would be stationary! I am trying to get to the stage where it becomes a little easier and to enjoy it more. I'm working on it. Maybe I need a bit of military chanting- 'I don't know but I've been told......'

  • no-excuse - I can imagine a group of men running to that in DM boots with huge rucksacks on their backs!

    ChrisL - enjoy your running group.

  • Tinyrun- mmmm so can I ! ; )

  • This may seem overly simple no-excuse but have you tried just running faster, maybe for short intervals at first, to drive your heart rate & breathing right up for a while. I suspect that pushing my body as hard as I have been doing for the last 10 weeks has contributed to my easy pace now being as fast as it is.

    And knowing how uncomfortable the full-on pace is definitely serves to emphasise how much more enjoyable the easy pace is - a bit like banging your head against a wall; its nice when you stop.

    NB - do be careful you don't over-do it though for obvious reasons....

  • Oh I like overly simple! I think I will try this, but will probably slow down my 'normal' pace and then try speed intervals. If I do what I do now my breathing and heart rate are up, so I think I need to go slower to go faster if you see what I mean x

  • YJB1 says something similar above. Make one of your 3 runs a fast interval one.

  • Ha!!! See... I told you so! Glad you are enjoying it...

  • I was waiting for that JJ.

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