Hi running friends around the world!
Although it seems counterintuitive, but slowing down your pace can make you a faster runner in the long run.
Back in the day I only had one running speed and that was all out until exhaustion, fatigue, injury and burnout! This might sound familiar to other runners.
This post explores why many runners run too fast and we’ll review recommendations on how to slow down, to become a stronger, healthier and happier runner.
WHY MANY RUNNERS RUN TOO FAST:
- Wanting results quick: Many runners believe that running faster will lead to quicker improvements in fitness. That being said, your risk of injury, overtraining and burnout increases significantly.
- Not knowing any better: My 6 year old daughter thinks running is all out sprinting, our runs typically last for about 30 seconds before a mandatory walk break. My 10 year old understands the concept of pacing her intensity more and we can run significantly longer. Same concept applies to adults, yet many adults still run like my 6 year old.
- Ego: It’s in our DNA to compare ourselves to others in person and on social platforms like Strava. This competitive nature can lead to runners pushing their intensity beyond what’s comfortable and maintainable.
- Overestimating our abilities: inexperienced runners often overestimate their fitness level, which can result in running at unsustainable paces. This often results in exhaustion and an increased chance of injuries.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SLOWING DOWN
- Use a heart rate monitor: Monitoring your heart rate on your run can help you maintain a sustainable pace. Aim to keep your heart rate within a specific zone that is an easy or moderate level effort, there are different formulas available to calculate this.
- Run by effort: pay close attention to your body, your breathing pattern, your running form. Run relaxed at a conversational pace.
- Take walk breaks if needed: walking is training! I’m currently in Sub 3 hour marathon shape and still take walk breaks from time to time during my runs. It’s a nice way to take in your surroundings, to check in with yourself and let your heart rate come down a bit too iff needed. Run and walk relaxed, look at your time on feet vs your pace, enjoy the process.
- Think long term: I care about running healthy, strong and happy for many years to come. Whenever in doubt, zoom out your timeline. Keep your running intensity balanced and reduce your risk of injuries. This will not lead to overnight results, yet the gradual improvements over longer periods of time really start adding up.
Have fun out there on your runs!