You’re running too fast, says Miranda Larbi in Stylist – “80% of runners run at 80% intensity, 80% of the time. And that’s why 80% of runners get injured.” The British Medical Journal warned in 2012 that “running too far, too fast and too long can actually harm our hearts”. What’s more, the benefits of slowing down can be huge. You can’t reach your full potential if you’re running yourself into the ground every day. Dr Victoria Sekely, a running coach, suggests an 80/20 rule: 80% of your weekly mileage should be “easy” and just 20% hard.
Many runners think that if they’re not going flat out, they’re not exerting themselves. Wrong. Running more slowly – say, at 40% of maximum exertion – gives you a chance to correct your technique, “something we don’t have the brainpower to do when we’re going at full pelt”. You can retract your shoulders, pick your feet up, shorten your stride, enjoy the scenes around you and breathe easier.
How to beat “social burnout”
“Last week my flatmate burst into tears when I reminded her that we had agreed to see some friends on Saturday morning,” says Eleanor Peake in The New Statesman. She’s embarrassed to recall it now, but the post-pandemic “blur” of socialising has become “exhausting”.
A 2018 study of people living in Antarctica explains why: when placed in particularly under-stimulating environments, our brains go into “psychological hibernation”. Our “emotional capacity” scales down and we get used to being alone. That’s exactly what happened during the pandemic. So when things get going again and the initial post-lockdown rush of adrenaline fades, you crash into “social burnout”. The solution is to fill your calendar more gradually.