Running easy – really, truly easy

This is a great post by Tina Muir, one of my favourite (elite) running bloggers about running easy – truly easy. Running slower is something I’ve been consciously trying to do since 2014 after listening to Matt Fitzgerald’s podcast on the Runners Academy about 80/20 Running

And when I strapped on a HR monitor after being told that our idea of running easy is not always actually easy (e.g. even if you can carry on a conversation or you feel like you’re running slower than you normally do), I was surprised that I was still running too fast. I had a bit of a rude awakening and while it was a difficult pill to swallow, I resolved myself to slow down even more.

Running slower based on heart rate is something I’ve been consciously trying to do since last year (August 2015). Truth time: despite having run with a HR monitor over the last year, I can’t say I’ve actually been the greatest at keeping my easy runs easy all the time.

I used to have a very narrow window of paces that I would do my easy / recovery runs at. I got away with it for a while, but eventually, everything just started to feel really hard. Paces that were once easy for me, suddenly felt 10x harder than they should. Every run was a struggle and I started to dread it. Classic signs of overtraining, right? I think overtraining can be a result of several things, including spending too much time running in the medium intensity zone. So how slow did I really need to go to run easy? For me, getting a heart rate monitor helped.

And while understanding what paces you “should” be running is, and always will be, individual, I loved that Tina put some actual numbers for the sake of her example:

“My marathon race pace is around 6:00 per mile, my recovery runs are about 9:00 per mile.”

Translation for us who think in terms of km/min:
race pace: 6:00/mi = 3:44/km
easy pace: 9:00/mi = 5:35/km

First thing’s first. I clearly do not have a marathon race pace of 6:00/mi or 3:44/km. But how often did I do my easy runs at a 9:00/mi or 5:35/km?  Uhm… often. Again, I realize that it’s all subjective and there’s no hard and fast rule, but it’s an awesome reminder that there’s no shame in running slower (and then even slower than what you think is already “slow” like it was in my case). I like that using your HR as your guide takes away a lot of guessing. And even if my HR monitor isn’t 100% accurate, it’s still something consistent that I can compare each run to. It’s not like our GPS-based paces are 100% accurate, either.

Unfortunately, the majority of the world runs faster than me right now (lol, another problem for another day). That has meant a lot of solo running, which is lonely at times, but it also means I’ve been feeling better these days and still loving to run. If that means slowing down more than my ego tells me to run, then so be it.


The Top 50 Cities To See In Your Lifetime (HuffPo)

One of my friends recently posted this blog post from Huffington Post on Faceook and it caught my eye. It’s funny that I complain about click bait article titles, and yet, I couldn’t resist taking a look at this list and seeing how many cities I’d visited myself.

Out of this list, I’ve visited 34% or 17 of the 50 cities listed.

Mike and I running in Istanbul last year. Still need to write about that…

To be truthful,  that’s about what I was expecting. I’ve made Europe my priority for so many years, but I know that I’ve barely scratched the surface in exploring it. I never really prioritized other continents, and as a result, the only other one I’ve visited as frequently is Asia. Even then, all of those visits were to places that my friends or family were.

Switzerland – my safe and happy place.

Other cities I would add to this list (in no particular order):

  • Perth, Australia
  • Taipei, Taiwan
  • Granichen and Lucerne, Switzerland
  • Munich and Frankfurt, Germany
  • Hong Kong, China
  • Manchester and Liverpool, England
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Dublin, Ireland

Of the countries actually listed below, I’d probably choose to visit Japan, Greece, Croatia, Austria, and Tanzania. Again, in no particular order.

In reality, the next few places I can see us visiting are Australia (to visit Mike’s fam and some of mine who live on the east coast), Switzerland (my safe place), and USA (to visit my sister). All places I’ve already been to (except for the the east coast of Aus), but high up on my priority list due to the people living there.

How many cities have you visited? Are there any other cities that you’d add to this list?

 The Top 50 Cities To See In Your Lifetime
(from Huffington Post)

1.) Venice, Italy
2.) Seville, Spain
3.) New York City, USA
4.) Lhasa, China
5.) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
6.) London, England
7.) Marrakech, Morocco
8.) Petra, Jordan
9.) Rome, Italy
10.) Varanasi, India
11.) Florence, Italy
12.) Havana, Cuba
13.) Kyoto, Japan
14.) Jerusalem, Israel
15.) Paris, France
16.) Beijing, China
17.) Lalibela, Ethiopia
18.) Granada, Spain
19.) Athens, Greece
20.) Bagan, Myanmar
21.) Kathmandu, Nepal
22.) Vatican City
23.) Lisbon, Portugal
24.) Tokyo, Japan
25.) Istanbul, Turkey
26.) Hội An, Vietnam
27.) Amsterdam, Netherlands
28.) Luxor, Egypt
29.) Berlin, Germany
30.) Jaipur, India
31.) Lyon, France
32.) Oia, Greece
33.) Siem Reap, Cambodia
34.) Vienna, Austria
35.) Cusco, Peru
36.) Cartagena, Colombia
37.) Zanzibar, Tanzania
38.) Mexico City, Mexico
39.) Singapore
40.) Las Vegas, USA
41.) Samarkand, Uzbekistan
42.) Sydney, Australia
43.) San Francisco, California
44.) Mont Saint Michel, France
45.) Dubrovnik, Croatia
46.) Bangkok, Thailand
47.) Buenos Aires, Argentina
48.) Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
49.) Prague, Czech Republic
50.) Budapest, Hungary

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