Running is hard. There isn’t a person I have ever met that has not at some point thought to themselves, this is really hard. That being said, there are runs that even though they are more work than sitting on your couch watching tv, are still relatively easy as working out goes. This is your comfort zone.

Not hard, not easy, just there. It’s the pace that you go out and run mindlessly not really paying attention to how fast or slow you are going.

The more you run in this zone the easier and easier to gets to keep running in it and never push yourself faster or allow yourself to run slower to recover.

I am guilty of waking up and running in what has become my 4:xxam comfort zone. It’s much slower than my normal comfort zone, mostly because I feel half asleep.

On Sunday night I decided I was not only going to get out of the house faster Monday morning than I usually do, but that I was going to get out of my comfort zone. I wasn’t going to do speed work but I was going to pick up the pace and make sure that my easy run was in my easy pace zone of 7:20 – 8:20 not hovering in the low 9’s.

When the alarm went off Monday morning I was ready to conquer this run. Yes conquer. If you are an early am runner you KNOW how much harder running can seem when it’s pitch black and you are alone with your own thoughts.

Because I got out of the house faster I had time to fit in 10 instead of 8. I’m all about maximizing my time when it comes to running and working out {more on this later}.

  • Mile 1: 8:03
  • Mile 2: 7:24
  • Mile 3: 7:16
  • Mile 4: 7:15
  • Mile 5: 7:13
  • Mile 6: 7:08
  • Mile 7: 7:15
  • Mile 8: 6:58
  • Mile 9: 6:58
  • Mile 10: 6:49

7:13 avg – 10 miles – 7/22/13

I may have gotten a little carried away and technically went faster than my easy run pace BUT the run reminded me that I CAN run a bit faster in the morning IF I WANT TO. I just have to get out of my lazy morning comfort zone and not give myself the excuse every morning that just getting out of bed early is victory enough.

Stop Slacking 1

When I got back from my run, there was a post in my inbox from one of my favorite bloggers Kris Law, talking about banning slogging on her easy runs! {} Part of why I like sharing my running journey and reading about others is that it’s nice to know you aren’t alone! When I am out there wanting to slack, I think of my other running friends who are often up at night with their kids and who get up early in the morning as well and don’t slack.

Stop Slacking 2

Do you slack on your easy runs? Do you relate to others by sharing your experiences?


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  1. Ha! I can’t wait until the day when my “easy” runs are 9 min. miles! 😉 I understand your point though, and just wish that you had written this blog in terms of effort, and in terms of the mind games we play, instead of mile times. Because it IS a mind game — as you said, we can push out of our comfort zone when we want to. What do we do to get ourselves out of the comfort zone? How did you get yourself to push out the sub-7 mile when your body was accustomed to 9min in the wee hour treads? One of the first things I do to “pick it up” is fix my posture & form & abs. :) Imagining the strength I’ll run with in my next half mara helps too. :)

  2. Guilty as charged! Morning running is SOOOOOO difficult!

  3. Guilty as charged! But this year, I decided to make some changes. I turned 50 and am now more concerned about maintaining fitness and continuing to run, with minimal or no injury. So I can’t just slog anymore. I have incorporated yoga into my regimen, but even that wasn’t enough! So I’m working with a fitness trainer to help me with biomechanics and strengthening areas of weakness. I’m seeing a big difference! I couldn’t do those 7 min miles–but I’m definitely sub 9! And that makes me happy!

  4. I was totally in the “slack” zone on my easy run this morning. (Granted I did just come of a case of the WORST plugged duct/borderline mastitis this motherrunner has ever experienced but I was feeling better so no excuses right?!) Anyway. I need to stop slacking on the easy runs. I go hard and hit my paces on my tempo and track days and on my long runs but I need to stay consistent on my easy days too. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. I have definitely had the morning slog mindset before. It’s hard when you wake up hours before you normally would and don’t encounter a soul along the miles. I’ve started to realize that as long as I give myself a mile to get my stuff together that I don’t need to be a baby about it. I’m choosing to run and I’m choosing to run that early – there’s no reason to waste it on feeling grumpy and lethargic.

  6. It was after running my first 5K just over a year ago that I realized how much faster I could be … and I have never returned! In fact, I won’t accept an average pace even where I ran that 5K!

    That realization jump-started my running – I had been a solo, ‘for weight-loss only’ runner doing ~15 miles a week since a year after college when I was my heaviest.

    Now I have run several short races, two half-marathons (knocking >15 minutes off my PR between them!) and am about to run my 3rd marathon this weekend. And as I said my first race was last year, and my first marathon … was last fall at 46!

    But while I wear my GPS to constantly track my time and distance to prevent slacking, I also acknowledge that when the humidity is ‘soup’, and if I go for a hot evening run, my pace will suffer (last week I was on work travel and did 6 miles in 97 humid degrees in the evening while the sun was still blazing … ugh). It is a hard discipline!

  7. I agree with you Karen. As a newbie runner I am constantly searching for ways that other runners work on their mind and not just on their bodies. :)

  8. I can totally relate. When I get out of bed early to run, I feel like I can “reward” myself and go at a nice slow, easy pace. There is certainly a time and place for those runs, but there is also a time and a place to push. Great reminder!

  9. Guilty! You are so right about the zero dark thirty runs – its easy to go easy and just out your body through the motions. Thanks for the reminder to get out of my comfort zone more often!

  10. Thank you so much for the mention Dorothy! Seriously blown away that one of my favorite running bloggers even reads my site, let alone posts about. You are so great!

  11. Guilty! I find that my mile times are a solid 60 seconds slower in the morning than they are when I used to run in the evenings. It’s nuts. I blame so many things, but mainly I blame myself and just not pushing it hard enough in the morning.

  12. I so needed this today! I have a tough run after work today (late) and I needed some motivation! Great post! :)

  13. I was JUST talking about this with my friend last night! I was trying to convert him to morning running, but had to admit that I am always slower in the mornings… No more!

  14. Surprisingly, I am turning into a morning runner!! I am enjoying the stillness and quiet that the mornings bring. I tend to push myself out of my comfort zone when running with others, but lately I have noticed I am faster when running solo.

  15. Ah, the morning run. It is my greatest struggle! I don’t think I have a comfort zone during a run before 9am. No matter what I do, I feel like I struggle all the way through morning runs and can’t make it past 3 miles. How do you manage to do 10??

  16. It is scary to get out of our comfort zones. I have totally left my comfort zone and have immersed myself in Pilates, the Step Mill, and strength training again. I am sore, but my body needed a swift kick in the butt. It feels good, even though it is hard and I don’t always look forward to it. It’s good to do this!

  17. Mondays are so hard!! You pushed yourself and you rocked it!! I think that sometimes I can slack a little on my easier runs saving my energy for my longer runs.

  18. I’m the worst at doing my morning runs too slow. For the most part if I want to do a hard workout I wait until the afternoon or evening. I think a lot of people think easy runs should be as easy as possible but if you want to make progress you can’t let yourself slack., although there is a time & place for recovery runs

  19. Ohh, I get this, and yet I sort of love slogging. Part of me feels like the whole point of running and pushing hard to begin with is so that some days I can get out there and just chill in my comfort zone and love the fact that I’m even able to run the miles without stopping, something I couldn’t do a year ago!

    I guess it depends on what your goals are, or how often you’re slogging, or how you feel about it afterwards. It’s got its place in my heart, though.

  20. LOVE this post!!

  21. That’s such a good point about acknowledging the impact of humidity – it can be so devastating to be out there working hard and look down in dismay to discover that your Garmin is not reflecting the level of effort you’re putting in!

  22. I have gotten better this summer about not slacking on my easy runs, but I still have a ways to go. I run with friends a lot and it’s just so easy to start gabbing with them…. I always do my tempo runs alone so I can stay focused, so I guess that it’s not so bad that I “slog” on my easy runs! :-)

    Way to rock those miles in the super early morning!

  23. Oh trust me – I don’t mind slogging away on my recovery runs :) Just want to pick up the easy pace to what should be an easy pace and not just let myself slack for no reason at all! AND not stopping is amazing – I stopped stopping on runs almost 7 years ago and it has made a HUGE difference!! Congrats :)

  24. Nice run! I think that there should be recovery days following hard workouts that are very easy, but yes– making sure you are pushing yourself consistently is a good thing. It’s great that you got out there earlier and had an invigorating run.

  25. Agreed!! Recovery is for recovering not for pushing the pace – okay to be extra sluggish on recovery days IMO 😉

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