Running slowly and easily is the foundation of any running program, whether you’re trying to beat a race time or just trying to get your heart a little healthier. Here we detail the benefits, along with tips for maintaining your chosen pace. But what if you just can not run so slow?
We’ll assume you’ve gone through the process of taking advice and trying to run slower: you know how to take smaller steps, stop looking at your watch and focus on an audiobook, or try to enjoy the scenery. But you still may not be able to run more than a few minutes without panting. If that’s you, there are a few more things to consider.
Brisk walking can build the same fitness as running
The benefit of running slowly is that it hits a sweet spot of effort: hard enough to force your heart and muscles to adapt, but easy enough that you can do a lot without fatigue. If your heart rate zones are calibrated correctly, it’s zone 2; if you go by feel, it’s a pace you can easily speak in full sentences at.
Here’s the good stuff: none The way you can get into zone 2 still gives you those zone 2 benefits. You can get on a spin bike or elliptical for a zone 2 workout, for example. And if you want to exercise outside but can’t stay in zone 2 when jogging, a brisk walk will do the trick.
Remember, no matter what “couch to 5k” would have you believe, walking is not the opposite of running. It’s just a slightly less intense version of the same thing. So if you’re trying to stay around 70% of your maximum heart rate, but an easy jog shoots you up to 80%, it’s fine to do some or all of your “jog” as a walk.
This may need to be faster than your normal walking pace. Most of us will switch from a walk to a jog at around four miles per hour (or about a 15-minute mile), so if you’re on a treadmill, try setting it to 3.5-4 mph and see if you can hit that. 70% of the number or level of conversational effort but still functional. Walking uphill or walking with a weighted vest or backpack (sometimes called rucking) can be another way to increase the intensity of your walk.
Over time, you’ll develop enough aerobic capacity from walking that one day it will actually be an easy jog. Will feel easy It’s okay if you don’t get to that point in a few weeks; for some of us it takes months. If you work hard, you will achieve it.
In the meantime, what will your workouts be like? There are a bunch of options here that are all right and good and fine:
- Do full workouts that are just walking.. That viral 12-3-30 workout is actually pretty good for this, but be sure to customize the settings to your current fitness level.
- Mix walking and running. Couch to 5K is fine if it appeals to you, but you can also create your own run/walk intervals based on how you feel.
- Don’t be discouraged if you realize you’re going too fast. Slow down and walk around a bit. You haven’t ruined your training or anything.
- run fast sometimes! Controlling the rhythm of zone 2 requires a lot of mental work, even if it is not physically exhausting. Every once in a while, you can give your brain a break while letting your legs have some fun. Do some sprint intervals or a full high-speed run. just don’t do it everybody you run that way.
When you start, you may want to start at the top of this list, with more walks than runs. But all options are valid. No matter which one you choose, as long as you stick with it, you’ll develop the fitness to run slowly and eventually run for real. Will feel easy