Four Chatty Running Myths

We look at the misconceptions around the Chatty Sparkly running approach and focus on four Chatty running myths.

Chatty running involves being able to talk comfortably in full sentences while you run. It is sometimes called easy running or running in a tireless state. This approach to running training is often misunderstood. Here we counter four common ideas that you might hear about gentle running.

Myth number one: ‘Slow running makes you run slow’

“If all I do is gentle Chatty running I will never train my body to run fast,” is something we often hear. First ask yourself what slow really means. Consider an elite runner who can run Chatty at 6 minutes a mile. This is not slow. Running at this gentle pace for him or her is key to improving fitness.

All the changes or adaptions that you want to occur in order to make you fitter will happen when running at a gentle pace so why run any faster? Running at a Chatty gentle pace will actually increase your speed. The more gentle running you do, the quicker your Chatty pace will become. There is a bonus here too! As your Chatty running pace gets faster your faster pace will automatically get faster as well.

Colin is proof that it works

Colin’s experience tells the story. He began his latest base phase running between 10 minutes 30 seconds and 11 minutes 30 seconds per mile on his Chatty runs. After ten weeks Colin ran a fast 5km in 21 minutes 10 seconds. He ran inside 7 minutes per mile! Here is the proof that gentle running in training makes you significantly faster on race day.

Sparkles are not slow!

You may think that all you are doing is slow running but don’t forget the Sparkles! Adding Sparkles to your runs, once or twice a week, are the best speed work training you can do. Here you will be running at your fastest speed for ten second bursts. Compare this pace with your 5km pace, the go to pace for many speed work sessions. Sparkly running is much faster than this! Chatty Sparkly running makes you much faster!

Myth number two: ‘Chatty running is just junk miles’

What does the phrase ‘junk miles’ mean? It means running at a pace that has no training effect. Unless you are a top level athlete, walking will still give you a training effect. Running gently enables you to do more and it is the volume of running that you do that will make you a faster runner not the speed that you run at.

Sticking in the middle ground and running ‘breathy’ all the time is much more wasteful. Running a little too fast all the time produces acidity which will not increase your aerobic capacity and make you fitter. Conversely, it is not fast enough to develop your anaerobic capacity. Perhaps this is where true junk miles are run?

Myth number three: ‘Chatty Sparkly running doesn’t give me a good work out’

Our culture rewards hard work. We are encouraged to believe that to achieve something we have to work hard for it. However, successful running training is not about intensity. You could regard the commitment of regular running and sticking to a training plan as the hard work. The running itself doesn’t need to be hard. It may be that running hard gives you a buzz and makes you feel good. If you enjoy the buzz of training hard then carry on. However, the hard work ethic doesn’t work to secure improvement for runners in the long term.

What happens when you train hard all the time?

As soon as you are running hard you are producing acidity and this acidity won’t develop your body’s ability to use more oxygen. You end up training the wrong energy system. You may enjoy training this way but in the long term it won’t make you faster. Give yourself permission to run gently and reap the rewards!

Myth number four: ‘Breathy’ running is still Chatty

Perhaps not really a myth but certainly a misconception. It is important to be aware of how you feel when you run as it is very easy to run a little too fast and think that you are still Chatty. If you can sense a deeper intake of breath at the end of a sentence then you are running ‘breathy’ rather than Chatty. You can learn about the different aerobic paces here.

Chatty Sparkly running will, not only help you become a faster runner but also makes you enjoy running more. Run gently, Sparkle and have fun!

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