Relaxed Running: Running Slowly Without Excessive Fatigue

The cooldown run is a crucial moment to regenerate muscles, facilitate the elimination of toxins accumulated in the previous workout, and personally, I enjoy listening to a few podcasts. This kind of run should be low-impact, perhaps on a soft surface like a park trail, with the heart rate kept at calm levels. However, surprisingly, many runners notice an increase in heart rate and a feeling of fatigue as they slow down. Many of my friends claim they cannot run below a certain speed. But what’s the reason behind this?

Common Mistakes to Avoid

A common mistake involves attempting to slow down by reducing the push-off and keeping the feet on the ground for a longer period. This approach increases the contact time with the ground, overloading joints and muscles. However, this doesn’t make running more efficient; instead, it leads to greater fatigue. I know that sharing a very slow run on Strava won’t make you feel “cool,” but we’re talking about workouts aimed at achieving something later on. To slow down, take shorter steps; pace and foot placement are crucial. Monitor these aspects during this type of training to improve your running efficiency.

Inefficiency in Low-Speed Running

This phenomenon stems from inefficiency in the mechanics of running at reduced speeds. In simple terms, a runner accustomed to a certain cruising speed, when attempting to slow down, activates processes that paradoxically require more energy. Instead of adopting a lighter pace, we tend to actively brake our run—pushing off one step and stopping on the next. Note if you increase the leaps to slow down; don’t do that. Rather than reducing the push-off to shorten the stride and decrease speed, we push our bodies upwards. Although this might reduce the length of the stride, the high leap requires more effort.

Smooth Low-Intensity Running: Practical Tips

So, how can we adopt more economical running at reduced speeds? First and foremost, try to keep your foot’s contact with the ground as brief as possible, even if initially, it feels like a forced action, and you might think you look clumsy taking those short steps. Also, focus on the push-off, which should be more relaxed. Your legs should move freely under your body without taking long strides, which aren’t helpful at this moment.

Slow running should be an opportunity to relax, allowing the body to recover without overloading joints and muscles. Always remember that technique and concentration can make a difference even during low-speed running. Considering the low intensity, I take advantage of this to improve all those aspects that I might miss while running at a higher pace: the foot placement, especially!