>Running 101>Any harm in pushing "easy"?
I got back in the gym in late November and found to my delight that the wind was still there. Which is to say, for me, it wasn't long before I could do a few miles at a decent pace. I used to do about five miles/day for 4-5 days/week. My routine has not been constant until fairly recently but there's a renewed discipline now that is perhaps due in part to having signed up for my first 5k.
I have the constant urge at the end of each "easy" run to pick it up for the last half mile. So for me this means 3 miles @ 9:45/10m followed by .5 at 8:30/9m. When I do this, I am by no means "sprinting" and it feels like I could sustain this pace for considerably further. Is there any harm in this or will it disqualify the run as being "easy"?
Also, if I'm inclined, as I have been, to add a mile or two to what becomes a long run, i gather this is fine as long as my weekly remains within the prescribed range (using 10% of previous week as my parameter)? Meaning take a day off if running on that day will put me over the total amount.
Incorporating strides into your easy running is absolutely recommended in order to prepare your body for more speed work. Jack Daniels recommends 8-12 strides at your current mile pace for 15 seconds followed by 45 seconds jogging/recovery 2x per week. Ilnarama has a better way for timing. Let's wait for her to find this and explain her stride timing method.
Chief Unicorn Officer
I think working on a fast finish is fine. I coach some running groups and I often encourage picking it up for the last quarter mile or so (not as long as you pick it up for, but I still think it’s OK).
I opened this thread thinking this would be someone who’s always pushing their whole run on their “easy” days, which would be detrimental. But I think you’re fine.
Mile 5:49 - 5K 19:58 - 10K 43:06 - HM 1:36:54
Easy runs are there for a purpose - to continue the training effect while allowing the body a chance to recover from any minor issues. Pushing easy runs is never a good idea if it negates the purpose of an easy run. With that said though, you are not really pushing your easy runs.
I would suggest that rather than increasing the pace at the end of your easy runs, you consider increasing your pace at the end of your long runs. This will simulate racing conditions where you want to be able to accelerate towards the end of your race. For your easy runs you could add some striders at the end as others have suggested.
I'm out of ideas
I wouldn't make a habit of doing that every run, but once or twice a week depending on what else you are doing sounds fine. As for pushing the overall pace every day, there is some benefit to sometimes running faster or slower than normal as long as you stay within what is defined as your general aerobic pace, i.e. don't let it get up into tempo run effort or so slow that you aren't really getting your heart rate up enough to provide some training stress.
10/26/19 - Piedmont 8-Hour
11/23/19 - Crooked Road 24
07/11/20 - Ethan Allen 6-Hour
Aw, Mick, you make me
Anyway, I agree that fast finishes are a good thing to do, though as wcrunner says, not on every run. I also agree that you might try strides instead on some days, toward the end of an easy run, and the way I do them is: accelerate over a slow 6-count (each count for me is 4 steps) to as fast as I can run with good form, hold that for a 10-count, then decelerate back to easy over a 4-count. I don't do the next until I'm recovered (by HR and perceived effort).
Another thing you can do, if you have a steep hill near the end of your run, is hill sprints. This helps build power and is a fun way of ending an easy run. Run uphill as explosively fast as you can for 8-10 seconds, then walk down taking all the time you need to recover before going again. If you've never done them, start with only 2 or 3 twice a week, but you can quickly build up to 8. I used to do uphill for 10 seconds and then slowly walk downhill and start the next 50 seconds later (so 40 seconds rest) but now that I'm old and decrepit I need 50 or even 60 seconds rest.
I also don't think you need to worry unduly about keeping your weekly mileage precisely within a guideline. 10% is a common "rule" but in some cases it's too much, and in others it's not a reasonable increase. It's more important to not continuously push the increases, to allow your body to get accustomed to that volume. I do the Daniels method of increasing by 1 mile per weekly run and holding that for 3 weeks, but that doesn't mean a strict (e.g.) 14, 14, 14, 18, 18, 18 mpw (if I'm running 4 days/week) - it might be e.g. 14, 15, 13, 17, 18, 19. The important thing is that it's not going to be 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, 28.
PRs: 10 1:12:59 (4/2014) 13.1 1:35:55 (10/2013) 26.2 3:23:31 (12/2013)
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