80/20 Running Plan: Run Slower to Get Faster


80/20 Running Tips and Tricks to Slow Down

It’s tougher than it sounds. Use these five tips to make sure you’ve got it.

1. Know Your Zones

Using a heart-rate monitor, learn your low-, middle-, and high-intensity zones. Low intensity is less than 77 percent of your max heart rate, where you have “absolute comfort in your breathing,” says Fitzgerald. At moderate intensity — between 78 percent and 88 percent of your max — you’re able to talk, but only a few words at a time. And at high intensity, about 91 percent of your max, you should not be able to speak.

2. Stagger Workouts

Limit moderate-to-high sessions to one or two days a week, and never make them back-to-back.

3. Minimize the Middle

Some moderate-intensity training, or tempo running, is necessary to prep for a race. Just make it part of your 20 percent. To ensure you stay out of the middle-intensity zone, ask yourself, “Could I imagine holding this pace forever?” If the answer isn’t a strong yes, dial back speed.

4. Cross-Train

With all the energy you save from easing up, replace a rest day with a cross-training day. It’ll help you add low-intensity workouts that don’t necessarily tax the same joints as your main sport.

5. Dial Back Speed Work

“People train too fast when they do intervals,” says Seiler. “They go really hard for a few, get cooked, can’t finish, and go home.” Instead of pushing your absolute hardest for repeats at the track, on a bike, or in the pool, hit a speed that’s just slightly slower, and log a few more bouts.


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