An anxiety I see all the time in training logs relates to effort levels on easy days. That anxiety makes sense. It’s tempting to think faster is better for long-term adaptations. If you can run 8-minute pace or 9-minute pace, an 8-minute pace will make you faster, right? The answer to that question gets at the heart of what running training is all about.
Simply put … (grabs a bullhorn) … YOU CAN SLOW DOWN EASY DAYS AS MUCH AS YOU WANT.
… (puts down bullhorn and whispers) It’s possible to go too slow too often but that is not something most athletes face unless they are not doing any workouts. Plus that makes a far less sexy chant.
In fact, slower might be better for many runs if combined with faster running at other times in the week. It all gets back to how aerobic adaptations happen over weeks, months and years, layering cellular-level adaptations and system-wide adaptations and mixing it together within an individual’s neurological/stress context.