You may be out with your friends on a long run, and you know that you and your friend are going to race at a similar speed. Once you go and do your 5K, do your 10K, whatever it is you're going to do, you know your race is similar speeds. But on that long run, it just seems like damn, they're so fast. And you start thinking of yourself, those thoughts start creeping; am I going too slow on my long runs?
I'm Jesse Funk and on today's episode of Runner’s High, I want to share with you my thoughts on how to figure out if you're going to slow on your long runs. Now, this is actually kind of a trap that a lot of people fall into overtime, myself included, where you feel like you need to compete around every corner. You have to go as fast as you can all the time.
It's kind of this almost toxic mentality that says if I'm not going as fast as I can every single day, then I'm not making progress, I'm not going to be the best that I could be. And I'm going to lose out. And you have to think about that mentality and realize that it may not be the best thing for you, and it can be the thing that's actually going to hold you back.
Now, maybe you eventually got over that need to compete, and you finally slowed yourself down. But those thoughts are starting to creep back in, you know, I don't know, am I going too slow? Am I doing the right thing? You know, you get shanghaied by your own thoughts, that anxiety maybe you're leaving something on the table. So, those old patterns starting to creep back in.
Well, I'm here to tell you and assure you that really, there is no such thing as running too slow. I mean, I guess unless you're walking and then, in that case, you're not running and that's too slow. But otherwise, don't worry about it. Running too slow is not really a thing. And that evidence continues to pile up.
Now, it's all kind of anecdotal, lots of people's experiences. But I think when we have so many people saying that there's no such thing as too slow, we can begin to say, this is a habitual pattern that the top performers are seeing, we can rely on their information. Now, my friend Todd Buckingham, who I often interview on the Smart Athlete Podcast, if you haven't seen that, don't know what that is, hit that subscribe button in the bottom right-hand corner.
He has his Ph.D. in exercise physiology. Now, Todd is an expert in his field, but not just that. He's coached by Olympic triathlete Barb Lindquist, who in turn was coached by a legendary running coach Bobby McGee. They all, all the trifecta right there, all suggest the same thing, there's no such thing as too slow running.
Now Todd is an example. He actually runs his 10K's low 30s. So, anywhere between I think 31, 32 is pretty typical for him. And he will actually go up to eight-minute pace, eight-minute miles on his long runs. Now that's three minutes slower than his 10K pace for his long run pace.
So, if Todd who is very top performer, he’s been national champion, he's been World Champion, at the amateur level, if he has the wherewithal and the will to go slow and know that there really is no, you know, to slow pace, I think you can be assured in your own kind of thoughts and training that you're perfectly fine. If you're going slow, that's perfectly fine for your training. You're going to serve yourself well by doing that.
Now, you don't just have to take my word for it or Todd's or Barb’s or Bobby’s words. There's actually another legendary running coach that suggests there is no such thing as too slow running, and that's Jeff Galloway. So, if you're gonna listen to anybody, listen to people that know what they're doing, that know what-- you know, all the people they've been coaching over years and decades, that suggests this is not an issue.
Now, Jeff in particular says, there's no such thing as too slow a pace because the positive effect of endurance that you're going to get from going on a long run is going to be the same, regardless of speed based on the distance that you traveled. So, if you're going out for a five-mile run, whether you do that at 10-minute pace or eight-minute pace, if you've completed five miles, then you have gotten the endurance benefits, the aerobic benefits of doing that. And if you remember from any of my other videos, going at that slower pace can be good injury prevention.
So, when your friend is trying to urge you faster, just let them go. Let them go, let them do their own thing. They're gonna do their own pace, but be assured in yourself that you are helping yourself both progress physically, and you're keeping yourself from being injured. If those recommendations weren't enough, I have one more for you. And that's actually my coach, who you might think well, it’s Jesse's coach. What does it matter? Well, he's actually the coach of a Paralympic gold medal cyclist.
So, he does have some credence to his name, some weight; Ryan Ross. I also interviewed him on the Smart Athlete Podcast. So, hit subscribe, check that out in a minute. But Ryan tells me pretty much every Monday on my long run fatigue from duration, not from intensity. Which is basically him just saying, don't go out too fast. Don't go too fast, period. Just go do the miles and relax.
And we actually build in a walking section typically. It's like 15 minutes, walk for 15 to 30 seconds, and that's another injury prevention technique. But I use that, I still compete at a fairly high level. Now, if you're not assured, go back, watch the video over again, and know that all of these top-level athletes, top-level coaches are all saying the same thing.
There's really no too slow method, too a slow pace to go on your long run. If you want more information on training and good tips about training, click on that link right next to my head, you’ll get my interview with Todd on the Smart Athlete Podcast. I'll see you next time on the next episode of Runner's High.