Does anyone else find it difficult to run slow after faster intervals? I’m not talking about 90 second hill repeats or something else that’s really hard. I’m talking about some of these zone 3 or 4 intervals where recovery is supposed be in zone 1. It feels like running faster completely skews my sense of perceived effort. I feel like I’m fully recovered and barely moving, but I end up running around my marathon pace. Anything slower feels unnatural. Really, I’m trying to be good and slow down when I’m supposed to. Is this a challenge for anyone else?
That’s normal. The underlying physiological mechanism is post-activation potentiation. It’s the same reason long jumpers seldom produce their longest jump in the first round. Here’s one of a few interesting studies on the phenomenon in runners:
Thanks! I’ll check out the journal article. I’m wondering if this has much impact on overall fatigue levels on longer runs. Whenever I do some easy strides before a long run, I find myself running about 30 seconds per minute faster (though still within zone 2) – and it seems like the run isn’t any more tiring. Looking forward to checking out the article.