Sprint intervals are not my friend. They are painful and can leave me dragging for hours after.
But I have made them part of my weekly runs because I know how good they are for my overall speed.
Last week after the 500m warmup, I ran a short ladder up and down: 100m, 200, 300, 300, 200, 100. After each set I walked long enough to get my breathing back to normal. The hardest one was the second 300m. After that it only gets shorter. The whole workout including cool down was 3k and took about 20 minutes.
The key is to run faster than your normal racing speed so that you are out of breath. And then to make sure you are recovered before you do it again. For me, I need to make sure it is fast enough that I can not have a conversation. As my fitness improves, my recovery becomes shorter.
When I am training for longer runs like a marathon my interval training will be variations of 600m to 800m intervals. Sometimes I will do as many as 8 800s a couple weeks before a marathon. Another one would be 200, 400, 600, 800, 800, 600, 400, 200. But of course you can’t just jump in with both feet and go that far without working up to it.
I have found that my average long distance speed increases if I am diligent with these interval workouts once per week.
But the hard part is convincing myself to get out there and do it. I have picked Wednesdays as my interval day.
It will hurt for a bit and you will be flopped on the couch afterwards, but it works.
It gave me a boost on my run today when one of the downtrodden of the city’s core stuck out his hand for a five 5. I didn’t deny him an enthusiastic high 5 and felt quite energized from it. The biker behind me also got one. The homeless man seemed quite excited to be spreading his joy around.
In similar news, I regularly run under a bridge near my house where another homeless man lives. When he’s in a good mood he’ll shout after me “Run faster, he went that’a way!”. And then he’ll roar out laughing. I’ll laugh with him and continue my run with a smile.
You never know where that next encouragement might come from. But brace for it. It’ll come, and then you can share it around.
Some of the seldom-travelled trails in the city are definitely worth trying out. I ran these trails on the banks of the Bow River in Bowmont Park in Calgary with my kids last night and thoroughly enjoyed them.
We saw some beavers, ate lots of saskatoons, heard rustling in the trees (deer and squirrels, I hope), huffed and puffed on the steep uphills, and awed at the river at sunset. We didn’t have to get out to the mountains to experiene the amazingness of creation.
I don’t think I have ever seen the name “Sideshow Bob” on any map or trail head anywhere, but I’ve heard it among the trail runners in the area. Even the mountain bikers like this trail, although seldom is anyone on the trail at all.
We even got a sunset over the Bow River as we were finishing up.
I’m getting frustrated with my running bladders. I’ve been buying the cheaper ones and they have been springing leaks. The first one a couple years ago was “experienced” (used) and after bouncing around in my oversized pack, it developed a few small holes. After taping, gluing and otherwise trying to patch the holes I bought a new one.
The next one developed a leak from a safety pin rubbing on it. The next one after that started leaking on one of the creases from probably too much pressure from bounching around. I unsurprisingly neglected to always pack extra stuff (weight) in the pack to keep the bladder from moving around when it was more empty. The leaking hasn’t been terrible but after an hour, the whole bottom of the pack would be wet. So I wasn’t losing much water, but it was annoying to have everything in the pack all wet. And when things like your TP gets all wet, you can get very frustrated.
So just today I went out to get another one. This one is advertised as more durable than the last few cheap ones I’ve had. Also, I’m trying to fasten the bladder a little tighter in my bag and stuff a shirt in that compartment so it doesn’t bounce so much. The material looks more durable (but heavier). And the hose / fittings / opening don’t look as cool as the last one I had.
So we’ll see how this one turns out. First run, in about 10 minutes.
I’ve been really lucky with the rain this week. Tuesday I only got rained on for the last 200 meters. Wednesday it was down to the last 50m. Thursday was my day off of running and guess what? It was raining when I got up and rained all day. It looks like rain on Friday too and I could probably use another day off running. Hopefully by Saturday it will clear up again for another LONG run.
But last week I got drenched. On my 12k trail run, we got soaked but had a blast. On my weekend hill repeat run it was pretty lonely out there in the rain. Also, we went floating down the river and got hailed on and absolutely drenched. But at least I wasn’t running that time and wasn’t miserable all by myself – I had my family to be miserable with – that was a lot of fun.
When your schedule makes you run almost every day you have to take what comes. Grin and bear it, but have fun in the middle of it. It’s all part of the journey.
“This is the precept by which I have lived: Prepare for the worst; expect the best; and take what comes” – Hannah Arendt
My 12 year old can definitely grind out a 10k and not leave anything on the line. She gives it everything she has and doesn’t let anything get in her way. This weekend at the Calgary Marathon’s 10k race, she started with the stroller division (because of the cute entrants), which she ditched within the first 50m. She ran with a friend for then next few hundred meters, then realized this was much too slow. Then she zigzaged through the crowd to make up for lost time. Even with her one-minded determinedness to do her best, she did happen to notice (and remember) Elvis singing on the sidelines. And then on the sprint to the finish she didn’t let anything stop her goal to get a PR. And she did get a PR – better than 58 minutes for the 10km – even with starting with the stroller division.
She was exhausted and hobbling afterward but with the biggest smile because she had done her best.
Since we had to stick around to cheer on other runners in other events, she eventually got bored. So she found a way into the 5k a couple hours later. Her excuse was that she liked the 5k medal better than the 10k medal. And of course she didn’t leave anything on the line for that race either. Her face on the pictures was pure tenacity and determination, even though she was exhausted and in pain from the start.
When I am racing, I regularly contemplate the pain I will be feeling the next day and analyzing how fast I am willing to go to moderate the pain. But my daughter seemingly doesn’t think of the next day.
The next day she was definitely hobbling around and not willingly going downstairs even to get ice cream. But she slept soundly!
Make sure you do enough every day, to fall into bed exhausted, not leaving any regrets behind.
She’s the one in front in yellow after her first medal.
A million bucks! That’s what I felt like when I finished my run today. I ran it fast and hard and kept a great average time. And then I ran an extra kilometer at the end because I was curious to see what was going on in the park. (Turns out nothing was going on, unfortunately).
Some days you just have great runs that build confidence and make you happy to be alive.
Here’s hoping for a bunch more great runs in the last weeks leading up to my next marathon in May.