We’re all guilty.
And we need to stop!
Take off the garmin, forget about your pace and go for an easy paced run. And by easy I mean easy! I’m not talking about a slow run after a hard race or a recovery run. I’m talking about incorporating slow runs as a part of your regular training plan.
There’s something hardwired in our brains that gives us a fear of running slow (FORS). Perhaps it’s really just our ego that gets in the way?
Common misbeliefs about running slow:
#1) If I run slow, I’ll always run slow. Yes, if you run slow all the time you will always run slow. However, if you are incorporating the proper amount of speedwork and intensity training into your week to week schedule you need to also run slow.
#2) I won’t make any improvements by running slow, I need to run fast! You need to train both aerobically and anaerobically to improve your long distance running fitness.
Benefits of running slow:
- Increased Discipline: Running easy is difficult for many people and takes as much, if not more dedication as running 800-meter repeats. Being committed to easy running will increase your discipline to do the things you don’t want to do or find difficult.
- Increase Mitochondrial Density: We all learned that mitochondria are the “powerhouse of the cell” in biology class. It converts food into usable energy. This conversion is an aerobic process that is the result of a series of chemical reactions. Therefore this occurs at a relatively low intensity level. After spending a period of time running slow, the mitochondria will increase in number and therefore will be able to handle an increased workload.
- Increased Capillary Density: The greater the number of capillaries, the greater the amount of oxygen supply to muscles.
- More Efficient at Using Fat as Fuel: Fat is a low intensity fuel. The higher the intensity, the more the body is reliant upon glucose for fuel.
There are even more physiological benefits than the ones mentioned here! Hopefully, after reading this you no longer suffer from FORS. If you aren’t sure how to incorporate slow running into your training plan, sign-up to be a Race Pace Runner today.
sources: Holloszy, J. Biochemical adaptations in muscle. Journal of Biological Chemistry 242: 2278-2282, 167