Running Easy is Kinda Hard

If someone could please explain to me why the hardest run that I had last week was a watch free 4-mile jog, I’m open to enlightenment.

In the last couple of weeks there have been some grueling sessions: intervals, tempos, long runs, hills, and yes, they were hard, but I knew they were going to be hard and they were designed to push the ceiling on my physical and mental limits. I was seeking the pain.

This run though, this anomaly (or not really, as I’ll explain), was meant to be EASY. A little sunshine jog before the gym. Instead I felt heavy, hot, and I sweated buckets. My stomach felt rough, my legs felt clumsy, and my arms lacked synchronization.

Although it’s been a little while, this is not the first time it’s happened on supposedly easy runs.

What’s going on?

The problem, probably, is that I’m not running easy enough. If I’m running easy, or trying to, it’s because there has been some hard running in my very recent past. The easy running is meant to be a recovery from that hard running. Running without a watch should mean I’m not worried about pace and so, perhaps, it should equal slower running, but the problem isn’t on my wrist, it’s in my head.

I know slow running is good for me, essential really. I’m sitting here absolutely not injured, but most definitely with some aches and pains from a few weeks of dedicated hammering which could, if ignored, become injuries. Easy running would allow me to manage those pains, whilst I keep the miles ticking by as I look to continue my forward momentum.

So, I should just do it, right?

Well, no, not wrong, it’s just tougher than you’d think.

There is a strange logical bug in my brain which comes out when I’m on the road trying to go slow. Why go slow? The bug asks. Want to run fast, then you should run fast. Run fast all the time, then you’ll race fast. No, bug, that’s wrong. Run fast all the time and I won’t make it to the races, or if I do, I’ll arrive blown up before the gun fires.

What I’m saying is…
Running easy isn’t easy.

Not easy enough?

I’m planning to increase my mileage over the next week as I’m off work and there’s…not much to do otherwise. I want to do it without putting too much extra impact into my legs, so I will be working on the art of easy running. My theory is that with a whole free week without work, and with the still lingering limitations on our social lives despite the slowly lifting lockdown preventing me from making commitments elsewhere, I’ll be free to take my time and resolutely run eeeaaasy.

The hope is that if I can put that bug to rest, I’ll be fitter and faster, and all for that low low cost of just. Running. Slower.

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