So today I tried something new and if running your easy runs hard is also a common problem for you then maybe this will help. What I decided was that each time my watch beeped at a kilometre marker I wanted to look and make sure I was going no faster than 5:00 min/km. If I'd exceeded that pace I had to incur a penalty. The first penalty was a 10 second walk. A subsequent violation was a 20 second walk and so on as long as I kept running too fast the walk breaks would get longer. I was being very conscious of my pace, trying to run slow and relaxed and still twice I broke that magic penalty line and had to walk. What I found was that it was kind of fun. I was gaming my run and forcing myself to be conscious and culpable for my recovery effort. Upon arriving home I felt refreshed, light and relaxed. I did a 30km long run yesterday in awful heat so today really needed to be easy. You can see in the Strava screenshot above where I took my penalties today when my pace was too fast.
I think this will be a regular thing for me now and I hope it'll create a new easy day habit. At the very least it was a good time trying to avoid those walks and failing. No runner wants to walk. If you aren't sure what pace you should be doing your easy runs at try 30 - 45 seconds below your marathon pace per km to start (or slower) or at least 75 seconds below your 10k race pace. Slower is better, you can't run your easy runs too slowly, only too quickly.