Today’s tip is to slow down your run to increase benefits to your heart and body!
As I obsessed and worried about not being able to run faster, I did a lot of reading about the benefits of running vs walking and of running slow. According to some research I read, the best workout for people of all ages is running but, there’s a catch to this research which really made me feel better. One group of researchers followed a group of runners over a long period of time. They found that the runners who ran in moderation showed more gains than those who ran more often and faster! This made my heart sing. When you are out there jogging along wondering why in the world you can’t go faster without taking the joy out of running, research like this gives you new purpose. It also aligns with the work of Phil Maffetone and Jeff Galloway. All I have to say is keep it coming!
According to what I read, the runners who ran 3-4 times a week at a slower pace had the most long term health gains. Currently, I’m doing 4 slow runs a week (3 short, 1 long) with the goal to get back to 5 runs in the coming weeks. I’ve been debating on the 5th run as my achilles is still a little tentative so reading this almost gave me permission to cross train instead that day doing something that doesn’t require me to be on my feet. My husband is getting my bike road ready for use this summer and I’ve rejoined my yoga studio.
After experiencing two major injuries, I worry about the toll running might take on my body. Slowing it down has kept me on the road injury free. I’ve been dabbling with Galloway running, but like the slow, steady run better than the start and stop of interval running. Galloway himself though has continue to run long after his 50th birthday and remains injury free, so I believe the slow, gentle philosophy rather than the focus on speed is in line with where I am at right now in my running life. Right now my focus is on building up my distance to cover 26.2 miles. If I get tired on the long run, I can switch to interval running and add more miles.
I must admit I do still look at the end of each run to see if my pace was faster than the last run, but don’t get discouraged about it any more. I’m more excited when I see my training index on my watch and it says – moderate, not “extreme workout” like it used to. I’m also excited by the fat burn index which is much higher following a long slow run than a fast run. For example, todays 2 mile run fat burn index was 25% compared to a faster 2 mile run fat burn index of 12%. Not sure about the science aspect of that but I know it means an increase in fat burning at the slower rate!
If you have slowed down the run and felt the benefits please share below. I’d love to chat with you about the impact it has had on you.