The art of running slow

Just done my 'slow' 10 miler. Problem is I seem to run every long slow run as a 10K. What is the preferred way (in terms of form)to run slow? Should I be looking to decrease cadence or shorten stride length? Whats the general consensus?


  • I have been experiencing this problem too. You start off intending to take it nice and easy, but you feel good and before you know it you're running much faster than you should for your long run.

    Running slowly feels uncomfortable and ineffective, but is essential, so I have bought a HRM and intend to train within the correct zones for each session as opposed to guessing the right pace.
  • Try running different route which you've not measured and just run to time rather than time and distance.

    If you don't know how far you are going to run you will not have the urge to beat your previous time.

    If you intend to run for say 90mins,you can just do a 45-45 out and back,keeping within your slow run HR zone.

    It is better to do this off-road as there is a temptation to jump into the car and measure the route afterwards(I know :-))
  • Run the short runs faster, then you won't have to change the long ones?

    I thought that the 'slow' runs were supposed to be fairly short, and that so long as you manage the distance on a long run, the pace is 'right' - or am I confused?

    Surely there's no point running a long run in a way that feels 'odd'?
  • Every run I do is slow :-(
  • Sean,
    If the long run is performed at too high a pace it will be nearer to a tempo effort and not give the desired effect.

    The short slow runs are more suitable for recovery sessions.

    It all depends on the distance you are training for of course.
  • I also find that the 'odd' feeling goes away after the first couple of miles and I tend to drop into the right groove.
  • Agree with Filbert that a HRM is very helpful for running slow. I also enjoy listening to the radio on long runs (20 miles ish) and find this gets me in the mood for a steady pace (clearly for off road routes only).
  • Hhmm. Interesting comments,however to get back to my original query please!!!in the interest of form, should I, a)be taking shorter strides and maintaining the cadence, or b) maintain stride length but reduce the cadence. Obviously both will lead to a gentler pace. Which of a) or b) would have a more positive effect on my form?

  • I find if I want to go slower reducing the stride length works for me, to keep the stride the same but lower cadence would feel too strange I think.
    How slow are your runs? I have just done my first marathon and have decided to rethink my slow run strategy, as Filbert says I will be using my HRM to guage them more acurately as the idea of the long slow run is to teach your body to burn its fat reserves rather than the glycogen stores for energy, this will then allow your body to adjust better in race conditions so you can get through "the wall" easier.
    The only thing worrying me is that to keep to the target rang it will be more of a slow shuffle than a run but hopefully that will improve as time goes on, and my body becomes more efficient at fat burning.

    What was the question again?
  • The best way to run slow is to wear a HRM and and STICK to 70-75% of your Max heart rate. This will eliminate junk mileage. Keeping within the zones helps you to run slow, try this for 4 weeks doind 2xweek and the results will be better. Do not try to run faster than the prescribed HR. Ive done this for years.

    Have a try.

  • Sarcy.

    Thanks for answering my question. I'll give it ago next week.

  • I am also struggling with running slow, I start of with good intentions. Yesterdays 19 miles.... I was good for about 14/15 and ended up run/walking the last 4/5. it just feels so unnatural  to run slow with a HR of 70/75%, with only 5 weeks to go till London this has bought on some self doubt.
  • I don't have a HRM but when I run slow, I just shorten the stride length. I shuffle, because slow for me is 12:30mm or something and that at 170BPM, but I get there *grin*

    HRM would be ideal if you have one/can afford one.
  • Try running with someone slow! My other half is much faster than me, but comes out on long runs with me. It has a dual effect, keeps me going all the way and makes sure he doesn't go off too fast (which he does if he's on his own).  Sorry I'm not expert enough to answer you're proper question!
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