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The good news about running

May 6th 2008 04:57
So if you're not supposed to puff and strain when you go for a run, what are you supposed to do?

Simple: run slow.

You’ll lose more weight and become a better, faster runner if you take it really, really easy. Funnily enough, this is known as an ‘Easy’ pace.

So how fast is ‘Easy’? Well, that all depends on your level of fitness. 'Easy' isn't a measure of speed, it's a measure of effort. If you can't comfortably carry on a conversation, you're running too fast. If you can't breathe with your mouth closed, you're running too fast (excluding people with nasal problems). In fact, I reckon it's a safe bet that if you've been running for less than 6 months, and you've never received any expert guidance, you're running too fast.


But while breathing and comfort are handy indicators, they’re still very subjective. What’s comfortable for one person may be hell for another. The best way to determine your ‘Easy’ pace is to use a Heart Rate Monitor. (No need to spend a fortune. My first one cost $100 from Workout World, and I still use it.)

To identify your ‘Easy’ running pace using a Heart Rate Monitor:

1) Estimate your Maximum Heart Rate. This is the hardest that your heart can pump. Everyone has a different maximum. You can estimate yours using a generic formula: 220-Age. (This really is only a rough guide, though. According to this formula, my max should be 185, but my actual max is closer to 194.)

2) Calculate your target heart rate. This is the heart rate you’ll be trying to maintain when you’re running at an ‘Easy’ pace. The range is 70-80% of your maximum. (I always target 75%. That way, I can run marginally faster or slower and still be within my target range.)


3) Put on your Heart Rate Monitor.

4) Go for a run.

5) Try to keep your heart rate at 75% of your maximum. That’s your ‘Easy’ pace. Most - if not all - of your runs should be run at this pace.

You may be sitting there thinking, “So what’s so amazing about that?” If so, I challenge you to try it. Work through the steps above, and if you aren’t surprised by how slow and easy the ‘Easy’ pace is, come back here and post a comment.

I know I found it amazing. When I first started running ‘Easy’, I had to keep stopping to bring my heart rate back down. And I couldn’t believe that it could possibly be making me fitter. It was just too easy!

Anyway, that’s enough out of me for today. Come back tomorrow and hopefully I’ll have something here about the sorts of results you can hope for.

‘til then, happy running!
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2 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by Johnny Come Lately

May 6th 2008 06:11
It's really going back to jogging which is what I call it anyway. Running fast does nothing except wear you out. Jogging is easier to sustain and has more benefits.

Good post.

Comment by Harry

May 6th 2008 23:48
I'm definitely going to try this. I've actually got a heart rate monitor -- I've just never tried to use it

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