It is a natural impulse to want to fly out your front door and run as fast as you can when you are going for your regular run. While fast running is fun and rewarding, it is very important to remember that slow running is, perhaps, even more important to the longevity of your running.
You Are Building A Solid Base For Many Years Of Running
While often forgotten, fast and slow running work together to create a solid habit of running that grows and strengthens. And the key to that solid career of running is to create a sturdy base. That base is created in the slower, longer workouts. Slow running works as active recovery after those more taxing runs. The gentle stress of the slower pace pushes blood to the healing muscles allowing for more healing to occur. By building this base you are building the foundation for all of your present and future running. A house built without a strong foundation is sure to fall and it is the same with running.
You Are Less Likely To Get Injured
Keeping the pace slow and building that solid base allows for your muscles, tendons, and ligaments to adjust to the new strain of each new distance and speed. This slow adaptation allows for less soreness, injury, and burnout along the way and that means more running for years to come.
You Are Getting Healthier Physically
A mile run at a six-minute pace and a mile at a 16-minute pace is still a mile. The distance is the same no matter how fast you run it and the health benefits are the same as well. The health benefits of running, which include lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart disease, are the same whether you are a fast runner or slow runner.
You Can Enjoy More Conversation
Going on slower runs typically means you can maintain a pace that allows for conversation with running partners. You can keep up with your social life and pursue a healthy lifestyle at the same time by scheduling running dates with your friends. Those friends can also keep you accountable and help you achieve your fitness goals.
Slower Running Provides Mental and Emotional Training
There are multiple ways that running helps build your mental and emotional health. It helps build confidence and self-reliance through those solo long runs. Resiliency is built through going back out day in and day out despite the bad and disappointing runs. And goal setting and determination are built through setting your eyes on a particular race and then not giving up along the way. All of those benefits are compounded even more by the social and conversational benefits of running with friends and enjoying the support system that provides.
Slower running has a very important position in anyone’s running regimen. Don’t get caught up in the need to always be faster. Allow yourself to go out and thoroughly enjoy all the physical and mental benefits of a long and slow run. Speed training can happen tomorrow.