This is a question that comes up quite often among runners. Conversation pace means that you are running at an easy pace that doesn’t tax your body. While running at this pace, you should be able to hold a conversation comfortably.
I am trying to hit PRs. Why should I be interested in running slow or easy?
The most common misconception among runners is they think there is no benefit to running slow if my goal is to run fast and improve my race times. This couldn’t be further from the reality of endurance running. Any running that is going to last more than several minutes requires the services of the aerobic system and easy running is the way to develop that. Running easy at conversation pace brings about a lot of physiological and physical changes that make you a better endurance runner and with time, a faster endurance runner.
What are the benefits of running in conversation pace?
Easy running helps the growth of mitochondria (the powerhouse of your cells), it increases your blood flow volume per stroke of the heart (as the heart becomes more efficient), it increases capillary density and improves delivery of oxygen and nutrition to your muscles. As you run more in easy pace, your body recruits more slow-twitch muscles which make you a stronger endurance runner. Running easy also helps improve breathing efficiency and running form while minimizing the risk of injury. See the graphic above for a fuller picture of the benefits of conversation pace.
What benefits and frustrations have you experienced while trying to run in conversation pace? Share your thoughts.