When trying to figure out how to get faster at running, most people have the perception that to become a faster and better runner, they need to be running hard and fast – anaerobically or at tempo pace. While it may seem like elite distance runners spend most of their training time running at superhuman paces, this is not always the case. While professional runners may put in more mileage each week than non-professional runners, they often cover such distances at reasonable paces.
The truth is that there are many benefits from slow jogging and running slowly. Easy runs can provide a variety of benefits, so it is important to take slow runs into account when training.
Understanding How the Body Functions
Our muscle fibres contain mitochondria and enzymes that help to catalyse all the chemical reactions associated with aerobic metabolism. Your muscle’s capacity to utilise oxygen will significantly increase when it has more mitochondria, and this can be done by slow jogging. The benefits from an easy run are plentiful, and slowing down your running pace will result in more running and more mitochondria. So, the benefits from a slow run can be quite substantial.
It's important to keep in mind that there is an inverse relationship between duration and the intensity of your training. When you run faster, you'll also cut down on the total distance you can run. This is because the size and number of mitochondria in our muscle's fibre are sensitive to the work it performs. When you slow jog, you're stressing your muscles, causing the muscle fibres to increase to meet the demand. This means that there are benefits from running slowly, as well as easy run benefits.
Benefits of Slow running
The benefits from slow jogging can be substantial. When you run slowly and for a longer time, you increase the production of mitochondria, which is often known as "Mitochondrial biogenesis", as well as the number of red blood cells and the level of haemoglobin in these blood cells, resulting in an increased oxygen-carrying capability. Slow running also offers other benefits, such as expanding the parts of your body associated with the production of mitochondria to keep up with the increased demand. In addition, running slowly and for a longer time helps increase your muscle capillary volume, increasing your muscle’s oxygen level.
The benefits of slow jogging are numerous and can help you run faster. Let's go through some of them now:
When you run slowly, you reduce the risk of injury, giving you more time and energy to get the most out of your harder workout days.
- You experience less residual fatigue by slowing down, which will, in turn, boost your weekly mileage in the course of your training.
- The time spent running is often more important than the distance covered, and the human body senses the duration of the effort in running or slow run.
- Are you running for weight loss?
One of the remarkable benefits of slow jogging is that it teaches your body to burn fat for fuel instead of glycogen. Glycogen from carbs runs out after about 90 minutes, but you have an enormous amount of body fat. So, running slowly enables your body to be fat-adapted. This lowers your stress when you eventually run out of glycogen reserves (which usually means the end of your training).
- In addition, slow running helps you become more economical with your fuel, and when you burn fat instead of glycogen, you can benefit from easy runs.
- The benefits from slow jogging are significant, and you tend to recover faster from easy runs. You will not be tired for several days after running slowly, which can significantly increase your overall cardiovascular fitness.