For the past few days, I’ve been successfully staying below 142 bpm during easy runs. The perks of taking it easy appeared virtually overnight. I have no idea why I thought going slow would be a source of frustration, because it’s completely the opposite.
Bring On the Perks
I’m not constantly fatigued, that’s one thing. The other is that I feel like I could literally go on forever during easies now. And while I know that’s how easy runs are supposed to feel, I never actually heeded to that advice. I used to be already tired after mile four into a six-mile run. And no wonder there, since I would start running and maintain a decent heart rate for three miles and then find my HR smack right at 150 bpm for the rest of the run. Almost 10 bpm away from my current max target heart rate.
When I look at my past behavior, the constant pursuit for better results, I feel a bit ashamed. I mean, there’s nothing wrong in chasing after your goals and beating your PBs, but an easy Saturday five-miler ain’t an occasion to pull any of these.
I guess I was just too caught up in seeing a constant pace increase in all run types. I would sit post-workout and marvel at the progress I made since I started running consistently. Sometimes, it seems, the availability of all those running apps and data can put one right on track to overtraining. Vain-driven training in vain.
But it’s easy to change this approach. It only took me a few days and a palpable difference in how I felt after workouts and about them. Just a week ago, I used to go out there because I had to, not because I wanted to.
Once I noticed I could go really hard during quality sessions and recover appropriately during slow easy runs, the pressure to beat my paces run after run disappeared. By reaping the perks of going slow, I’ve learned how not to care about those darned numbers. Instead, I’m now focused on assessing my performance during quality sessions.
And I’m not constantly fatigued!
Enjoying the Ride
Running feels like it’s supposed to again. I want to go out there. I want to feel the world around me and engage with it. Before I decided to slow down, I had been completing almost all my runs with my gaze focused on the short stretch of road just before me, thinking of nothing else but getting it over with.
Now I just make sure there are no life-threatening bumps in the road ahead, and I take in the sights, the smells, the sounds. I’m enjoying the ride.