It might be frustrating for some, but your slow run needs to be SLOW for it to give you the full benefits as part of your bigger programme. Here's why:
- The body oxidizes (burns) fat for energy at < 75% of Max HR
- Body builds a bigger endurance engine running at low HRs
- Quantifiable fitness gains: if you running at same effort but going faster, you are getting fitter
- More efficient running: forcing cadence at low speeds will get you striking the ground under your hip eventually and hopefully you will start transferring energy backwards instead of straight into the ground
- Better recovery: When you finish a long low heart rate run, you will feel amazing as you've mostly stressed the heart, not the muscles, and the heart recovers quickly!
- Exposes weaknesses: if it's sore, its weak, and then you know you have to fix it.
- The run is done at 73-78% of your maximum heart rate
- This should put you in zone 2 (zone 1 for the racing snakes - zone 3 for weekend warriors).
- Challenge yourself to increase your pace while staying under that heart rate.
- Trying to increase your cadence while staying under that heart rate (aiming for an optimal 180)
- Repeat the same routes to try complete them faster at same low HR.
The last three points may seem counterintuitive, but in essence you're 'tricking' your body.