Easy steady aerobic work is the bedrock of training for endurance athletes - which is what we all are. It is the most important part of our training and should constitute most of your weekly training volume (about 75% + of your weekly mileage) As such, approaching it right is the key to develop our running fitness in many ways.
Most regular amateur runners who train for endurance events should be looking at getting 2-4 steady runs in per week, of course this can vary depending on the individual. Being consistent with this kind of running means you have a base to build your fitness off, and you can find yourself resuming speed work at a quicker pace than if you haven't ran at all. This also complements your speed work by building your strength and endurance base.
Remember running well is about ticking off the fundamentals, if we don't do that, we won't get better. Doing steady runs outside of speed sessions is a crucial fundamental. Keeping steady runs steady also means your legs will be fresher when it comes to speed sessions, meaning you can run better, recover easier and get fitter as a result. (Fitness can be increased dramatically if your training is sustainable, meaning you can keep at it consistently without getting injured or run down).
General guidance in terms of steady run pace is to run them 2-2:30 min slower than 5k pace. So if you're a 20 min 5 runner, your pace should be around 8:25-8:55 min mile pace. This of course can vary depending on conditions, elevation, and how the body is feeling so use it as a rough guide.
The most important way to judge easy run pace is by feel. So pay less attention to the watch and run at a pace that feels like something you can sustain, (and isn't forced) while being able to hold a conversation. This in my opinion is generally the best way of figuring out pace as it will always accommodate for any tiredness/change of conditions/ type of running route etc, so you'll be sure to never grind yourself down.
Cameron Harris- Head Coach