Day Two of Juneathon – a second painful flirtation with interval training

I thought I’d go for a nice easy run this evening, with a couple of faster intervals thrown in to keep me on my toes. I’m on a quest to get faster and step out of my comfort zone in time for the Brooks 10k this November. It’s a flat, fast course along Brighton seafront and there’s no way I’m coming in last. I’ve been reading up on fartlek and interval training over the past couple of weeks and everyone’s telling me to do some speed work and hill running if I want to get stronger and faster properly.

Flirting with intervals

Friday lunchtime was my first flirtation with intervals, I ran down to the beach and did 5k along the promenade at varying speeds per 0.5km. It was 20 degrees and there were far too many people sitting about gorging on ice cream for my liking – I tried not to growl too loud as I weaved in and out of people dawdling along. As a result of the heat and my inexperience with faster running it hurt my lungs/legs/feet/brain but I figured this is good and it’s what should be happening and things can only get better.

Today was my second flirtation with intervals – I set up the nice American lady on the MapMyRun app to tell me when I’d reached each 0.5km, and made for the cycle track in Preston Park to do a few laps. One lap of it is 579.03 metres, so I figured I’d alternate between an 80% threshold pace and a nice and slow recovery jog for a few laps.

I didn’t last long

There are two problems with me trying to run faster, and while they are probably completely normal problems for any runner to have when trying to improve pace, it hurts and I don’t like it:

1) I have trouble getting my breathing into a rhythm and feel like I can’t get enough air into my lungs.(does this happen to anyone else?)

2) My legs/feet/brain hurts and I just want to stop/die.

I only managed 3.5km before I had to stop, mainly because my knees were playing up and I just didn’t have it in me, so I walked home a little disappointed.

Keep at it 

But on reflection I’m not disappointed any more. I’ve come to realise that this is all new to me, and I’m never gonna be a pint-sized Mo Farah so should probably just come to terms with the fact that it’s gonna take time. And effort. A whole lot of effort.

I was thinking about it on the way home – that’s what I love about running and keeping fit – while there is so much information out there on the interweb and so many PTs, bootcamps, gyms and exercise apps about to help me on my way, no one is gonna get me there but me. I’m not gonna magically wake up one morning and be able to run a sub-2hour half marathon. I’m gonna have to work at it and stay with it, even when it hurts and when I come away disappointed in myself.

So, with that in mind, here are my initial (and realistic) goals for the next few months:

1) Get a sub-28 minute Parkrun.

2) Sort my breathing out when running faster intervals.

3) Stick with the intervals and do some hill running. <insert worried face here>

4) Get to and maintain a 9:30 min/mi pace for the Brooks 10k to come in just under an hour.

That last one’s gonna hurt, as my comfortable pace is around 10-10:30 min/mi.

To be continued…