Last week I rambled about how much I’m loving running. Part of the runner’s high I was on when I wrote that post was from my interval run that very morning.
That run was a 15 minute warm-up, then 5 x 1 mile at half marathon effort with 2:30 rest in between (slow jog), then a 13 minute cool down.
Just a few weeks ago, 8 miles was my long run distance — and it killed me. Now, it is a morning interval run. And much, much faster. And instead of killing me, it left me feeling exhilarated and excited about the rest of my training season. And, of course, my marathon.
And of the 8 miles, 5 were the actual intervals. These 5 miles were so much more fun and more awesome than a regular 5 mile run. I never felt crappy at any point during this run, even though my miles were obviously faster than a regular easy run. I never bemoaned how much longer I had to do or wished the run was over. I never considered cutting it down to 4 miles instead of 5 (even though I had the option to in my plan). I felt amazing and loved every second of this out-of-my-head, focused effort.
Every week the type of speedwork/interval I do changes. I do have your usual 400s sometimes, but a lot of the time I’m doing interval work that I would never think to on my own. Some of it, you’d think, doesn’t even seem very interval-y.
But the mind of a runner is a fascinating thing. On days I have one of these runs, my mind gets what’s happening and adjusts accordingly. Suddenly a 4 mile run is no longer a 4 mile run; it really is two focused 2 mile intervals at marathon effort. And when I’m that focused — from a 100 meter push to a 2-mile stretch — the entire run becomes almost easier. I say that because even though I’m working harder, I’m also focused on a task. I’m not letting my thoughts run crazy inside my own head. Instead, I’m thinking only about this obstacle in front of me. So when a normal 4-mile run would mean looking at my watch over and over to see how far I am and how much more I have left to go, a 2 x 2 mile at marathon effort means I’m thinking only about my effort.
This coming week, I’ve got 6-8 x 2 minute hill climbs. I AM EXCITED.
This was not as short (or as clear) as I intended it to be. I did drink some wine before writing that. Here’s how last week’s training went:
Week 8: August 26 – September 1
- Monday – OFF
- Tuesday - 15 min w.u., 5 x mile @half mar effort with 2:30 min rest, 13 min c.d. (8.3 mi)
- Wednesday - 50 mins easy (4.6 mi)
- Thursday – Refine Method
- Friday - 37 mins with 4x100m strides (3.7 mi)
- Saturday - 16 miles easy (3:00:20)
- Sunday – 2 hour hike (3 miles, not including in weekly mileage)
Total: 33 miles
I did go on a hike at Garret Mountain Reservation the day after my long run, but it wasn’t a particularly challenging hike. We kept it slow and easy, and covered three miles. This was such a fun family activity! I didn’t know how my dog Larry would do with grass taller than he is, wild animals and the potential to get wet, but he was a pro! My boy led the way and really loved the hike. He is a pup of nature!
And when we got home, he slept for two full days.
Also, Larry has a girlfriend!! That is another topic for another day.
One last note: I wanted to let you know about a $5 off code to the Run10 FEED 10K on September 22 in New York City. It is a 10k philanthropic race and wellness event that helps fight domestic hunger. You run a 10K and that in turn feeds 10 people in the NYC community. Your registration includes race entry, your donation of 10 meals and a limited-edition FEED bag.
I can’t make it because I already registered for a half marathon that weekend, but it’s a great idea organized by Women’s Health Magazine and the Feed Organization. Enter R10F10USA at registration checkout to save $5.
Do you enjoy interval runs? Do you vary the types of intervals you do each week? Do you find yourself more focused on the goal during these runs?