Quick Tip-Determining Proper Running Intensity: Fast v Slow

“Nearly all runners do their slow runs too fast, and their fast runs too slow.” ~Ken Mierke

Extremes of Running Intensity

When it comes to runners and their training, the pace of the workout is obviously important.

Go too fast, and you’ll likely be worn out before you’re able to complete the workout. Go too slow, and you’re not getting as much of a benefit.

All that being said, I believe the above quote to be very accurate for me and most of the runners I run with.

Have you ever stopped to really think about the impact that running intensity has on your performance/improvement as a runner?

How to Gauge the Appropriate Running Intensity

There really is no clear cut answer.

And to make things worse, as your fitness level and goals change, the appropriate speed or intensity is also going to change. So you’re literally aiming at a moving target.

The right intensity is also going to vary based on what workout you’re doing.

Your long runs are (hopefully) obviously going to be targeting a lower intensity to enable you to complete longer distance running. Typically, if you can hold a conversation with your running partner, you’re probably in the ball park when it comes to an appropriate pace for slow runs.

But when it comes to speed work and running at a higher intensity, there isn’t one set speed you should aim for, as intensity will be different for shorter repeats, longer repeats, tempo runs, hills, and fartleks. As a general rule, the shorter the distance the harder you should be pushing, but there are a lot of variables at play here.

Both High and Low Intensity are Important

At the end of the day, if you want to be a well rounded runner doing both high speed/intensity and low speed/intensity running is important. We all have different types of fibers in our muscles, and some respond better to one intensity or the other.

To get a little more in depth about the different fibers and why different training intensities are important, press play below!

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