Sometimes You Have to Run Slower to Run Faster

Why I am not running down back for a while! Ice, slush & mud

Today was scheduled to be an easy 6.0 miler and you know what – I DID IT!

Every time I caught myself starting to run a little faster, I slowed back down and all of my miles ended up over 9:00 average pace and at no time did I go under an 8:00 pace during the run.

This is a first for me, usually I end up running sub 8:00 pace, multiple times in a run and for me to keep it this slow for over 6.0 miles – is a good thing.

What in the hell are you talking about Harold?

Aren’t you supposed to be working on going faster not slower?

Sometimes to improve your speed as a runner, you need to learn to go slow also, especially on your recovery runs. I don’t mean 20 to 30 seconds slower than your normal training pace, but 1 to 2 minutes slower and then do your faster runs faster, instead of just a little bit faster.

For far too many years, I was running most of my miles in that middle ground 8:10 to 8:40 pace (for me), where I was doing more – running to run than running to train.

I think what really changed my philosophy on slower running was when I read this from the Hanson’s Marathon Method book pg 41:

Misconceptions abound when it comes to easy running. Such training is often thought of as unnecessary, filler mileage. Many new runners believe that these days can be considered optional because they don’t provide any real benefits. Don’t be fooled; easy mileage plays a vital role in a runner’s development. Every run doesn’t need to be — and should not be — a knock-down, drag-out experience. Easy runs dole out plenty of important advantages, without any of the pain, by providing a gentler overload that can be applied in a higher volume than in SOS workouts.

In their book there is is a lot of information devoted to Easy days. After reading those sections, it finally got through my thick skull that I needed to change things in how I train.

That was the easy part saying that I was going to do it. Doing it proved to be a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, as you can tell from my excitement about being able to maintain a slower pace at the start of this post.

Now that I am actually, well mostly following a training plan, for an important to me Half Marathon in June and then the Marine Corps Marathon in October, I need to at least follow the basics of that plan. I’m in my second week and I can already tell that there is a difference in how I feel. I am not as exhausted all the time, even though I hit 50 miles last week (not part of the plan), so in my mind there is something to this going slower thing.

Today was a scheduled recovery day run, after yesterday’s tough, but great Interval workout, according to the Hanson’s Marathon Method pg 45, my easy runs should be between a 9:00 and 10:00 minute pace and as you can see:

I got close a couple of times, but caught myself before I broke 9:00 for an average mile pace.

I ran in the Superiors with the Swiftwick Aspire 12’s and they didn’t bother a bit, my feet were comfortable the entire run, they seem like a good combination. I still find it amazing how certain sock/shoe combinations work and others don’t at all. I know that I feel pretty good sitting here post-run in the Aspire’s, with my feet up.

Overall, today’s run in rain showers was a good run and the best part is that there were no twinges or niggles that felt like they were slowing me down and when I finished, I felt like I could have gone a lot further. I am becoming more and more a believer that sometimes you do have to run slower, to run faster (and farther).


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