Easy days are a part of the everyday runner’s life. Beginning runners have a tendency to hammer every single run because it’s natural and logical to think that you get faster by running faster. This works at first when you’re only running 3 days a week, but not when you really start inflicting damage on your body by running more frequently or longer. My co-worker took up running recently and he said he’d had a horrible run Tuesday and thought he wasn’t recovered from his long Sunday run. He was probably right, but I told him not to get discouraged by slow days. We can’t run PRs everyday.
Slow runs are useful, especially for us fat, lazy Americans who drive to work everyday. If we were Kenyans and ran 6 miles to and from school everyday, we’d have a huge aerobic base built up. But our lifestyles are drastically different and so we get driven to school or work unless you’re one of the few who can walk or ride (I sure wish I could). The only way to build your aerobic base is through exercise and slow runs are extremely beneficial in that regard. This is one of the reasons that more mileage is better for you.
Now the problem with slow runs is that they’re boring. Workouts are challenging and you’re focusing on things like pace and not dying. These slow runs are just kind of ambling affairs that are meant for beautiful trails if you have them. Otherwise if you live in a concrete jungle you’re probably hoping for some companionship or some mind numbing music from your iPod. I can only daydream for so long. God forbid you do them on the treadmill, where even the greatest eyecandy isn’t enough to keep you on the hamster wheel.
I guess my real point is that you shouldn’t worry about the crappy days and just accept them for being part of the ride. Even running slow has it’s advantages. And at least you’re running right? It can’t be so bad.