Running the ‘Gray Zone’ makes you no faster

Easy speed is the runner’s bread and butter. As a general rule, trainers recommend recording 80 percent of your runs at a conversational pace and 20 percent at a higher pace that gets your heart pumping. However, as any sidewalk cyclist knows, tell yourself to go slow and actually Running an easy pace are two very different things.

In general, easy workouts should be run at a pace that allows you to talk throughout the run. (If you’re a scale person, think of this at three out of 10 efforts.) However, it’s likely that you’re actually doing these exercises at a level closer to six or seven effort. This common mistake is called running “in the gray zone” and it can lead to a frustrating plateau.

“Gray zone running is when you’re using speed as a guide, rather than effort. It usually means you’re running a little too hard on the easy days and then underpowered on the speed days,” the coach said. Running trainer Amanda Brooks wrote in a recent Instagram post.

This probably sounds familiar, right? Maybe you went a little too hard during your recovery and the next day’s speed training session left you feeling terrible. “If you’re running your recovery or an easy run is too hard, what tends to happen is that you start to build up a low level of fatigue that you might not notice,” says Eric Orton. out, but is affecting some of your faster workouts”, co-author of Born to Run: The Ultimate Training Guide.

Good news: It doesn’t have to feel that way. In fact, for the most part (remember: 80%) your running will feel almost as easy as walking around your neighborhood.

Now, you might be thinking: If I run easily with four out of five runs, how can I be faster? That’s a great question, and according to Brooks, the answer is due to a great combination of easy, easy training and speed running.

She explains on her Instagram post: “Hard miles are building strength, activating fast-twitch muscles and fine-tuning the race pace. Meanwhile, these strains will boost your aerobic fitness. This means that, over time, your easy pace will naturally become a little faster for you. For example, if you’re running a 10-minute mile in your recovery run when you start training for a half marathon, chances are, if If you let your body recover enough on easy days, your training pace and stamina can bring you down to 9:45 or 9:30 mile over time. Great, isn’t it?

Now, if you’re digging deeper into your workout plan and feel ready to pick up the pace, Orton recommends trying a hybrid version of these two workouts, where you combine light running with high-impact workouts. adequate time. “So instead of doing the easy long run, you can try four minutes and 10 minutes [hard intervals]followed by 90 minutes of easy running and ending with a game of farts,” he said. For those who haven’t started, a fart is any speed game in which you switch through speeds. Here’s an example version of Orton’s workout that you can follow once I feel really confident in my paces and easy runs:

  • Warming
  • 4 x 10 minute intervals at 10K (6 out of 10 attempts) with one minute rest between each interval
  • 45 minutes of easy running (3 out of 10 attempts)
  • Fartlek: 3 x 30 seconds intervals at 1-mile pace (9 out of 10 attempts) with one minute rest between intervals
  • Cool down

Rule number one here: Stay outside of the gray area. Instead, think about the purpose of your run before you run it. If today is an easy run designed to build endurance and help you recover from yesterday’s speed work, don’t make it harder than it needs to be. After all, we’re not reinventing running shoes here.

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