The Long Slow Run
I was thinking of writing about running fashion.
I’m so obsessed with it (as long as it isn’t Lorna Jane or Target) that if I had an unlimited credit card I would have Sarah dressed in a different running outfit every day. Then I thought that didn’t sound very manly so I stopped writing that piece and will come back to it when I’ve secured a sponsored post from Runningskirts or Inknburn.
Yeah imagine that… a product review for women’s running clothing written by the bloke with a beard who is still wearing the same running shorts he’s owned since 2011.
The slow run goes against every competitive alpha male principle that I hold dear. These competitive urges have intensified since joining the local running club which is of course Sarah’s fault because she keeps encouraging me to run faster. Who knew it was possible to run 5km in under 20 minutes, let alone do it more than once. So for someone who loves hearing the Garmin tick off those kms on long runs and smiles when they are consistently below the 5min per km mark the slow run idea is complete madness.
It’s inhumane and humiliating I tell you and should be outlawed.
You should run to exhaustion every time you run and if you’re not knackered then you should have stayed in bed and eaten a doughnut. Oh dear me, how shocked am I to confess that I read some controversial training theories and Sarah has encouraged me to try and incorporate them into my own running. So last Friday out came the dreaded slow run.
The gurus encourage you to take a particular running time per km e.g. your 5km race time and add a few minutes per km to it as your slow run time. I tried to slow it to this level and couldn’t make myself do it but I did my best to keep it at about 45 seconds slower per km then normal training pace, and a 1 minute slower per km then racing pace. I chose a 14km route that I know and set out. I was going faster than planned and enjoying the sunset and kept trying to slow it down. I got a little distracted and ran off onto a mangrove trail that I’ve been wanting to try but rarely run in daylight, this slowed me down a bit more as it was dusk and I didn’t know the trail. When I popped back out onto the road it took everything I had not to take off. Eventually I settled into a pace that was acceptable to my brain and I just let go.
This is what I discovered:
- Over a 16km / 10 mile distance I was running 45 seconds slower per km slower than normal pace.
- My average heart rate reduced from its normal from 172bpm to 150bpm.
- My recovery time was just a few minutes and my body temperature reduced to normal very quickly.
- I had no lethargy or muscle pain the next day.