Running is all about challenging yourself isn’t it. Trying to be faster, trying to be stronger, trying to be better.
I do like being able to improve at something that is so flaming difficult. I’m sure people who don’t do it think it’s easy. But it’s rock hard, physically and mentally. It’s fun but oh so hard sometimes.
Today I did long interval training for the first time. And while I knew I wouldn’t be doing it if Harry didn’t think I could and I knew it was not going to kill me even if I couldn’t, still there’s that niggling little voice saying ‘no’.
Fear of failure; pointless and yet so potent.
Interval training plays a big part in getting you faster. Running fast and then running slow gets your body and lungs used to working at a faster pace.
I’ve done short intervals on and off as part of my weekly runs, but nothing this long – 2 mins at a challenging pace, 3 mins jogging, multiplied by 6.
As the longest interval I’ve ever done is 1.5mins, and that’s once in a set of five, I was reticent. And I have to say, the first interval wasn’t fun, the second was great and then the third was hard and the recovery tricky. By the fourth I was wheezing through my recovery and by the fifth recovery I was having to walk some of it while Harry skipped about beside me. Weirdly though the sixth was ok again but we dropped the pace for that one.
Harry was shouting lots of ‘brilliant, you’re bouncing along there – soft knees, soft knees’ while I kept looking ahead trying to find something to aim at on countdowns. Two minutes can feel like for… ever.
After 40 minutes of that we did some lunges with the medicine ball, squats, one-legged squats and some strange plank thing where you put your hands on the medicine ball and lift one leg up in the air behind you. Then a quick run up and down a flight of steps six times (kills your glutes) and we were done.
Harry says he’s really pleased with my progress. Pushing those intervals to two minutes takes me out of my comfort zone and creates enough stress on my lungs to build their capacity. Stresses me out mentally too – fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of making a fool of myself…
Of course he’s not going to push me into anything I’m not ready for, if I think about it logically. But what has logic got to do with fear?
And the little triumphs I get to score over my niggling ‘no’ voice are just one more reason for me to keep running.