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Tip of the Week: Slow Down! Posted on February 10, 2014

Monday Tip!

This winter will mark my 9th year of distance running. Over my short tenure I have learned a lot about the sport from many different coaches, mentors, teammates, and fellow runners. The hardest part about running is sometimes finding your consistency and identity. Every week I will be putting together a different tip for any runner or walker. These tips are aimed for your casual to competitive runner/walker! Enjoy!


This week's tip is about the importance of slowing down on your easy days!


Everyone has heard the expression, "Rome wasn't built in one day." Reaching your goals will not happen over night. If you run hard every day of the week your legs will never recover. Sure you can get away with it for a short amount of time but after awhile the majority of people who push the limits in this sport either get hurt, burnt out, or sick. The toughest part about our sport is how long sometimes it really takes to reach our goals. Patience is stressed over and over again. It's not easy to back off your training when you have no idea how your competition trains. If you run too hard on days where you aren't assigned a workout you risk the chance of getting hurt. Don't worry about how everyone else trains. Worry about yourself and focus on the task at hand. 


What do we suggest?  I ran with a kid in high school who is by far the most talented runner I have ever been around! To slow down his easy runs and make running fun to him, he leaves his watch at home and runs off of pure feel. He does this several days a week. On the other hand myself and many others use a similar method. Try dedicating a day or two a week to running with friends and keeping the run conversational pace. Conversational pace is when you are still running at a decent speed but can hold a full length conversation while doing so. Also, try running the first mile of your runs completely off of feel. Don't even worry about timing it. That way you won't start too fast and blow your legs out early. 


Mark's example: I am fortunate enough to have an incredible training group who keeps me accountable for running easy when I need to. Every Monday my buddies and I declare it, "Maintenance Monday." This is the day we work out all of the kinks in our legs. We go nice and easy and have a great conversation doing so. If you can keep your easy days easy, you'll be able to put in more miles and race better! Happy running!


by Mark Spewak

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