I use the phrase ‘comfortable running’ to refer to running that is at an easy and manageable pace, or low intensity.
There are two indicators that I use to ensure I am keeping to this form of running. The first is that I can multi-task. This means that I can run while I scan the scenery, or while I talk with someone beside me. The second is that I feel I could run at this pace for a very long time and distance.
I find there are many benefits of ‘comfortable running’.
- It builds a good fitness base as it strengthens the cardiovascular system.
- It is ideal for warm ups and cool downs. In particular it mentally and physically prepares me for more intense running to follow.
- It is ideal for recovery between harder running intervals.
- It helps me to meet a weekly mileage target.
- It provides low stress on my body and mind.
- It allows me to focus on running technique and how I am feeling.
There are a number of other reasons that I run at this comfortable level of effort.
- If I do not want to run harder or longer workouts.
- If I am returning to running after an injury or a period of absence.
- If I am recovering from a recent race or hard workout.
Recently, I have committed to running 50-60% of my weekly mileage at this ‘comfortable’ pace. This ensures I stay injury-free and feel fresh to run harder during my remaining workouts.