Another beautiful day in Starkville, rained all day! Track practice was canceled due to the weather. The distance runners were going to run 4 to 8 miles at the South Farm at an easy pace with me. Despite the weather, Joseph and I went running anyway. It was quite muddy, still raining-but not hard, and somewhat windy. Since we had just recently finished that half marathon, we weren’t too worried about time or distance. He had lots of homework, so we decided to only go 4 miles. Our 1st mile was really slow, then we picked it up to about 6:40 or so for a mile, then I did my last two at about 6:50 and Joseph left me quite suddenly as he often does. I think he jogged the next two in about 6:15 each. By the time we got back to the truck, we were covered with mud! We stretched for about 15 minutes and called it a day.
The pace and distance of our easy days are dependent on each person’s current fitness level and vary quite a bit. For a couple of the guys, 6:10-6:30 per mile is easy enough to talk to each other for 8 miles. I can manage 6:30 to 6:40 at that distance usually depending on how I feel. On a great day, I can go a little faster, on another day I might be 7 minutes per mile. For myself, I base it totally on how I feel. Others may feel comfortable doing the same distance at 8 minutes a mile. The exact time is really less important than the effort, in my opinion, so I don’t worry too much about that. Terrain, weather, how you feel on a given day, and other factors can influence how fast you run. It is better not to get caught up in worrying about if you hit your mile splits right on an easy day. That being said, you don’t want to go as slow as possible either. I am sure that there are many opinions on running, but I like to do different paced runs on different days. For the kids that are younger or less experienced, I think of them doing 3 different paces throughout a week or season – Interval pace (I), Tempo pace (T), and Easy pace (E), with interval paces being the fastest pace. But, for the more advanced runners, you could have Fast (F), Repetition (R), Interval (I), Tempo (T), Easy (E), and Recovery (REC) paces. For these runners, I think of easy runs as actually somewhat moderate days. I think you get a lot out of running on the easy days at a good steady pace. And, I don’t think you get anything out of jogging at a ridiculously slow pace. For days after a hard race, I think a recovery run is good. This pace would be super easy, just to move your legs a bit. You could also do this the day before a big race. Lots of experts, such as Jack Daniels, give tables with recommended paces for these paces that are based on your current fitness level. These pace charts are quite useful.