Easy running helps your body to develop aerobically, allowing you to make sustainable progress over the long term. David Roche, an experienced run coach and elite trail runner, explains how building an aerobic base is key to endurance performance.
“Aerobic development is a longer-term adaptation,” he says, “leading to year-over-year growth when combined with speed work to make the muscular outputs more efficient.”
The major benefits of easy running comes from the cellular changes that can occur. Because your body isn’t under as much stress as it is while running hard, you have the chance to develop physiologically.
“Components of aerobic development include angiogenesis, which is the increase of capillaries around working muscles, increased cardiac output, and higher volumes of red blood cells and plasma. Type-I muscle fiber recruitment, the type of slow twitch fibers that are key for endurance, are also improved,” Roche says.
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