Easy paces – and our first rule!

Hi All!


Huge congrats to Mike Greenberg who completed the Penticton Ironman in 10:00:46 for 4th in his age group! And he’s booking his ticket to Kona – wohoo!  


What I’ve been thinking about lately is easy runs. If you want to get up to speed on where I’ve landed and read a great article, reference Alex Hutchinson’s most recent analysis: https://www.outsideonline.com/health/training-performance/easy-running-pace-study/


Basically what the “science” says, is that everyone has their own set point for what is most economical for their bodies – and this is mostly unrelated to fitness or race ability and times. Alex suggests it could be some combination of someone’s leg length, stride rate, mass, tendon springiness, all inter-relating in complex ways. When presented with a distance to run “easily” all of this is fed into the brain’s computer and it selects the most economical way to get from A to B for each runner.


This is not dissimilar to walking paces. People have their own “comfortable” pace. Mine is very slow. I am more comfortable at a slow jog to keep up beside my walking husband. It is literally more comfortable for me and feels like it burns less energy.


Again, this is unrelated to fitness or ability to run fast when trying to go fast vs being economical (workouts and races). An odd thing as I’ve gotten *ahem* a little older, is I’ve noticed that my easy run paces have slowed down quite a bit. But my workouts and races are still hovering around the same place as they always have. This is not intentional. Whatever my “combination” of economy is, it has shifted slightly. I’m fine with that because I go by feel.


I’ve often gone on “easy” runs with people – some of whom are ahead of or the same as me in workouts and races and some the other way around – which I find uncomfortably fast. I also sometimes find myself creeping one step ahead of my running partner because my easy pace is naturally a little quicker. In these cases, depending on the situation, you can have a quick conversation and adjust. I am very comfortable asking others to slow down. However, sometimes the body just does what the body does, and in this case it can be tricky etiquette. It is annoying when your buddy half-steps you the whole time and you’re uncomfortable (remember, this is not intentional – they are just locking into their most comfortable pace!) And etiquette mid-run is a tricky thing to navigate. So to help us out, I have come up with an LES rule. As far as I know, this is the first and only rule we have. So here is Lower East Siders Rule #1: if your running buddy says “go ahead, we’ll meet up later” THREE times, you listen and go ahead. We’ve all been there. They are saying go, and we’re not sure if it’s rude. Or we are saying go and just want that person to leave us alone already but they insist on staying. So there we have it. No hurt feelings, no questioning what we should really do. 3 times means you’re splitting up for this run. Your bodies just aren’t in synch on that day. Easy!


On to tomorrow’s Lakeshore workout! 6:05 for drills, 6:15 GO time.


Back by popular demand: 400’s! Here’s how we’ll run them:


  1. 800 tempo. 2 min rest. 4 x 400 w 1 min. 2 min rest. 4 x 400 w 1:15. 2 min rest. 2-4 x 400 w 1:20. 2 min rest. Then marathoners/half marathoners do 800 @ marathon pace or tempo, and others (5K or 10K runners) finish with 2-4 x 200 as long strides (fast, quick, light and relaxed).


So it looks like this: 800, 2-3 x (4 x 400), 800

OR 800, 2-3 x (4 x 400), 2-4 x 200


  1. If doing this fartlek style: 3 min tempo, 3 sets of 1 min Hard, 1 min Easy w 2 mins between sets, 3 min tempo OR finish with 4 x 30 second pick ups.

See you in the am!