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How slow should you be going?

An “easy” pace is different for each runner but is typically two or more minutes per mile slower than your 5k race pace. There are a few ways to measure your speed to make sure you’re really putting in an easy workout:

  • You can also use an online calculator to determine your ideal easy pace. Many websites host calculators which allow you to enter your best race time in order to get a suggested easy pace.
  • Finally, you can use a heart rate monitor to ensure your pulse is staying in a slightly elevated zone. Unfortunately, this is the least accessible option because it requires purchasing a heart rate chest strap or a running watch with a built-in monitor.

Why it’s so hard to run slow

Even after you’ve determined what your easy pace is, it can be surprisingly difficult to stick with it. Although runners know that they should be running most of their miles at a slow pace, many of us continually catch our paces gradually creeping up on every run.

Getting over your ego

I was talking with a friend about my trouble with running slowly, and he suggested that I was looking at things backward: if I was serious about improving my running speed, I shouldn’t be ashamed of my slow runs, I should be taking pride in them. It was a simple, straightforward point, but it really shifted how I think about running.

I’m a lawyer and teacher from North Carolina. I write about sobriety, mental health, running, and more. Buy me a “coffee” at

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