Why do easy runs? (Read 1082 times)

    I know that it is generally accepted as a good idea to do easy runs some days for recovery between hard workouts. But my question: why not take the day off? Is an easy run even giving any benefits? Would it be better to run every other day? (assuming you aren't laying the mileage on thick for training for a marathon or something) I'm not attacking the idea, just looking for enlightenment Shy Thanx for the help, anyone!! mkg
      Sure, you can take the day off. Easy runs do have benefits - they let you recover from hard efforts while still getting mileage in. While this is good for marathon and other training - some people just like to run every day. Depends on your goals and why you run.

      When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

        ok, but what is the purpose of that mileage, when you aren't really pushing intensity or endurance?
          Aerobic endurance. That's the most vital system to train. Another reason is steady easy mileage strengthens the ligaments, tendons, etc., also increasing the growth of capillaries in the muscles. Lack this and run long or hard, you will get injured. But i don't know much cause this is my rookie year. Do as I did, and educate yourself. Read a book. I suggest Hal Higdon and Dr. Jack Daniels "Running Formula".


          —our ability to perform up to our physiological potential in a race is determined by whether or not we truly psychologically believe that what we are attempting is realistic. Anton Krupicka

            There are a few reasons from what I've learned and read. Some of them include: building endurance (more mileage equals increased endurance). Also especially if you are in the base phase of training not all of your runs should be at a high intensity. Your runs need to be below 85% (I believe) of max or at least below anaerobic threshold in order for your body to learn how to use fat for fuel instead of glycogen. It may seem strange, but I really started increasing my pace after I got in a good solid build phase doing all my runs at below anaerobic threshold before starting speed workouts. Another reason is if you run all your workouts at a hard pace you run the risk of getting injured. If you need to get in a certain number of miles per week (say 50 miles), then some of those runs should be long, medium tempo or race pace runs, speed intervals and easy runs. Easy runs allow your body to get in those extra miles while learning how to run on tired legs after hard workouts and still get in your goal weekly mileage.

              If you are training for a marathon it's simple. Physical and mental toughness. DB

              Tougher than most, dumber than the rest. "You can not count the miles until you feel them" TVZ


                It is also good because it stretches out your legs much more effectively than not doing anything on a "rest" day. Some time, try doing some sort of killer interval session some afternoon. Then take the next day off and see how you feel that evening. The next week, do the same workout, but go for a short and easy run the next morning. Your legs will feel much better that evening.

                Run to Win
                25 Marathons, 17 Ultras, 16 States (Full List)

                  Everyone else has already given great reasons that make absolute sense, but here's my reason for doing easy runs: I love running. I do one long run and one speedwork run per week and the rest of my mileage is (usually) easy. If I didn't do mostly easy runs, I might not love it so much. But if I didn't already love it, I guess I wouldn't be out there in the first place. Honestly, I have to force myself to take a rest day, so that's why I'm out there putting in miles even when there's not a specific purpose to the miles. The only problem with my approach to running is that I rarely crosstrain, strength train, or do yoga anymore. I know I need to, but when I have time...I run.

                  Barefoot and happy

                    Because to race well, getting in enough mileage is everything. And if all your workouts are hard, you can't fit in as many miles. All the details other people have given are true. But they all follow from the same basic idea. Run more miles to run better. Taking it easy can allow you to really crank up the mileage.
                    Curious about running barefoot? Visit the new barefoot running group.
                      Recovery runs are very important because they will help you recover from hard efforts quicker. Hints the name recovery. If you do a tough workout where you accumulate a lot of lactic acid at night then the next morning go on a slow recovery jog it should drop the lactic acid in you legs about 1mmol more than if you take the day off. Plus just slogging along also as some aerobic benefits. Easy runs are also very important because you are increasing aerobic capacity while also training the legs. Easy runs should always be over 55% of your VO2max to get a good benefit but recoveries can be as slow as you like.
                        That helps a lot! I sorta thought there were good reasons. I just didn't see them. So now I'm wondering, in preparation for a hard xc season, would you suggest running every day in the summer, or would this burn me out for the season. I did run every day last year, and I was a little disappointed in how little I got ahead of classmates who hardly ran any miles before practice started. Maybe I overdid it? Anyone with similar experiences?
                          Most plans say you should take off 1 day a week, so I'd start there. More importantly, your last question is somewhat irrelevant to your first question. Your first question asks about easy runs. Running improvement is dictated by improvement in three separate areas: VO Max - you gain this doing interval workouts Lactate Threshold - you improve this doing tempo runs Running Economy - you improve this doing long runs (and more runs) A typical training program would have you doing easy runs for a while to build aerobic fitness, adding in tempos to build your lactate threshold and - finally - interval workouts to improve VO Max. But this would take place over several weeks... In my XC days, we'd go easy from mid-june to mid-july, add in tempos mid-july to mid-august and then bring in interval workouts mid-aug to mid-sept (a good portion of which, of course, were actual races). It DOES all need to be timed well, though... I started my final XC season too hard and ended up peaking two weeks too soon.

                          Go to http://certainintelligence.blogspot.com for my blog.

                          My Little Pal

                            This topic has been covered well but I wanted to add my vote as well. Easy runs build aerobic fitness. Time on your feet is king. especially in the long distance (30k or more) game.
                            At the end of the day, be happy with where you are and what you've accomplished.

                              Right now, I don't do easy runs. As mentioned on another thread, I'm using a version of the FIRST program and running about 3-4 days per week. I do a speed session, tempo run, longish run (faster than my usual pace), and I sometimes throw in an hour at "just for the heck of it" pace. I do 2 spin classes each week, and I also row twice/week. One rowing session is a tempo-like effort and the other features repeats of 500m w/ a 1-minute recovery. Thus, I'm going fairly hard each day. Why don't I run each day? I used to and probably will again. However, I'm a little on the heavy side right now, and the constant pounding bothers me. After 30 years and some 90,000 miles of documented running, I don't recover as well as I used to. I found that it was becoming difficult to run the next day after a hard session. In addition, I officate soccer games, so that puts additional stress on my legs and makes it harder to run later on. I'd rather put in a hard session on the bike or rower than slog through a run at a half-hearted effort. Meanwhile, I find that I'm faster on the soccer pitch (can keep up with the 19-year-olds at age 42) and am getting faster on the roads as well. I look forward to each of my runs and don't blow off a hard session with the rationale that I'll do it tomorrow because there isn't a tomorrow. If the weather totally sucks, I move the workout to a treadmill for long runs and tempos. My legs feel better than they have in years. Probably best of all, my pants size has shrunk from a tight 34 to a comfortable 32 waist. I'm not saying that others should give up the easy days because I prefer being out there as well, but I've found an alternative that is currently working for me.

                              12 Monkeys

                                Why do easy runs?
                                Um. Because I like running and don't always want to work at it.