Do I Need Easy Runs?

As runners, we have learned that the easy runs play an integral role in our training and workout routines.

Easy runs were a huge part of my life for so long. Yet lately, since cutting back my mileage, it seems like my typical easy runs have all but disappeared.

After taking a two-week break from running (when I dropped the shampoo bottle on my foot!), I came back to my workouts with a new approach. I didn’t want to return to running so much!

My new approach to running wasn’t exactly defined though. I would keep running, sure, but for how long? How often? All I knew exactly was that I didn’t want to return to running the higher mileage weeks I had been running for the last several years.

I learned that I enjoyed running less and my body appreciated it too. I also loved having a better focus and more energy for longer Pure Barre workouts in place running those extra miles.

Do I need Easy Runs?

My pace responded immediately to the cut back in mileage with energy and speed that it hadn’t seen so easily in years. What was once a working zone for me has now become routine with minimal effort.

Over the last two months, my former easy runs (which would typically fall in the 9:00 min/mile plus range) have become nonexistent. I don’t head outside for slow, easy runs, I don’t run much of a warm up and what I always considered my la-de-da cool downs are also now a thing of the past.

As a seasoned runner and half marathoner at that, I’ve been wondering though if this is the right thing to do. Do I need easy runs? Am I causing harm somehow to my workouts?

It was time to ask Laura for her expert running coach opinion. We had a whole conversation on the topic of easy runs and what they mean for me and here’s what she said!

What do you think of my current running and workout routine? What happened to my easy runs?

I think for your runs, you still have easy days, they just aren’t run days. For you, it’s almost like a run less run faster type of structure.

Your easy days, which used to be easy run days, are now cross-training.

When it comes to Pure Barre as your cross-training, your body is adapted to the stress of the Pure Barre workouts. It is a workout, yes, but not one that breaks down your muscles each time you do it presenting a new stress to your body. 

Easy runs have changed.

The reduction in mileage has also made the faster paces feel easier for you. It’s not so much that you got rid of easy run days completely. Without training fatigue of high mileage that you didn’t need, your easy pace has changed.

Easy runs are more about effort than an exact pace.

So do I need easy runs like I was running in the past?

Not really in the sense that you used to run them, no. Especially since you aren’t training for a long distance event or a big time goal, you sort of trimmed away the easy miles which may have been junk miles for you to the point that were just adding fatigue without doing much else. Mileage should always be tailored to a goal – and it doesn’t need to be much higher than 15-25 miles per week for general health/fitness.

I also think everyone has a range of mileage that they thrive the best in, and it is incredibly individual. Some people do great with higher mileage, but some improve with less mileage.

I think running less lets you recover more also, both from your runs and from your strength workouts. So, you are fully reaping the benefits of those respective workouts.

Well there we have it. After talking about easy runs and my current workout routine with Laura, everything started to make better sense to me. I certainly hope that my experiences can help other runners out there too. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Of Possible Interest:

Running Coach Q & A: Shorter Warm-Ups & Cut Back On Mileage

Ask A Running Coach: Easy Runs-  “Easy runs can be one of the trickiest aspects of training for some runners to master” – Laura actually just covered questions she received about easy runs on her blog.

Do I Need Easy Runs? Covering this topic with help from @thisrunrecipes on the blog today! #running #run #runner #easyruns #fitness #workouts Click To Tweet

Has your workout routine changed at all recently? Are you running more/less than you used to run?

Do you build in easy runs to your schedule or do you wing your workouts?

Do you have any running related questions you would like to see covered on the blog? Please let me know!

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Comments

  1. says

    It’s interesting that your easy days are now Pure Barre workouts instead of easy runs. I completely agree that everything is incredibly individual though! Right now I have built in easy days after all my hard workouts.

    By the way, did you get into the NYC Marathon? I know you submitted an application so I was just curious.

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