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Top Tips for Improving in Long Distance Running: Easy Pace

Updated: Apr 23, 2021

As runners we hear the term “easy pace” or “easy effort” a lot, but are we executing it properly? Or is our ego doing the running for us?

At least 75% of total weekly running volume should be dedicated to easy pace running.

Easy pace is defined as running at a pace that keeps ventilatory threshold low enough that we can manage to talk, or sing. The Road Runners Club of America refers to easy pace as “Brady Brunch Pace” as runners should be able to sing the “Brady Bunch” theme song while running at this pace. The American Council of Exercise prefers the “Happy Birthday Song” as their song of choice in gauging easy effort. Whichever song you prefer, easy pace is slow. That’s the point.

Easy Pace:

  1. Increases the amount and size of mitochondria (the “power plant” of the cells) which essentially allows the athlete to do more work with less effort.

  2. Allows the body to adapt to running more often without too much stress on the joints, tendons, bones and ligaments.

  3. Strengthens the heart muscle and increases its ability to pump blood efficiently.

  4. Teaches mental discipline which is crucial to running well at any distance.

Around 98% of a marathon performance and 96% of a half marathon performance will be spent in the same zone that athletes condition when running at an easy effort. A strong aerobic engine is the most important factor in training for 5K - marathon. I thank myself for shutting down my ego and keeping easy effort easy each time I find myself surpassing my expectations in a race performance. You will too. If you want to speed up or run with more ease, slowing down is key.

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