Last week, I had three runs that stuck out on my training log: 6 miles at 9:00 pace, 5 miles at 8:55 pace, and 7 miles at 8:56 pace.
Given the fact that I also had a 15 mile run at 7:58 pace and a workout where I ran mile repeats in the 6:13-6:14 range and half mile repeats at 5:40 pace, I think you can see why those runs stuck out.
Was I disappointed with those runs? Not one bit.
I needed recovery. After the workout I did, I needed a couple days of very easy recovery running (yes, the 6 miles and 5 miles were on back to back days). After the long run, likewise, I needed the recovery that came with the 8:56 pace.
There was a time I didn’t have the discipline to run that slow on my easy runs. I was fitter at the time so a relatively similar pace might have been 7:30 or 8:00 pace but I hated running anything slower than 7:00 pace. I just refused to do it. I also needed to take more days off at that time.
Could I have been a better runner by not taking a day off but instead being less stubborn about pace? Would a 7 mile run at 8:00 pace have allowed me the recovery I thought I needed to take a day off for while building or maintaining more aerobic fitness? I’ll never know but I suspect it’s possible that would have been the case.
I’m not bringing this up to express regret or to say “what if?” I don’t need that. I don’t regret my past training and I’m not going to live in the “shoulda, woulda, coulda” world. However, I hope you will consider what you’re doing and how you handle things when you need some good recovery.
Don’t be afraid to run truly slow, whatever truly slow may be for you. Sometimes that’s just what you need.
Photo credit: #tbt to enjoying an easy run by the beach in Miraflores district in Lima, Peru. by Khurramir, on Flickr