How to fail at threshold running

I have a love-hate relationship with threshold running and speed work in general.

Post-threshold selfie – Red face ahoy…

Sometimes I nail it, get the pace bang on and bowl it home feeling like Jesus, and others, I spend the whole run arguing with my legs/feet/brain, wondering why it’s just not happening.

This morning, me and my legs had a fight, and I lost. It was meant to be a 50min run with 3x (8mins threshold effort / 2mins jog recovery) included. It was actually a 40min run with 1x (8min OKish effort), 1x (7min meh) and 1x (5min shit). You can see the stats on Garmin connect here as it won’t let me embed the bloody thing…

So, in light of my shit threshold run, here’s how you can stuff up your own, like a boss:

1) Get up late 

Hit snooze on your alarm repeatedly until even the cat’s had enough and starts pawing at your face. Everyone knows the 6am alarm means get up at 7. Make sure that by the time you finally haul yourself out of your pit the run has to be turned into a run commute as there’s no time to do the session and get back/showered before going to work. (This only works if you have a shower at work, like me).

2) Eat a heavy breakfast 

Fuel your shit run by eating something really stodgy about half an hour before setting off – preferably peanut butter on toast, or porridge. The later you leave it the better; welcome those stomach cramps and stitches with open arms.

3) Overpack your rucksack

Of course, you’ll also need to overload yourself with lots of unnecessary weight if you’re looking for the best results. Clothes, shower stuff, a towel, make up, shoes. Oh, and a flask of soup for lunch, just to make it more interesting.

4) Dress for arctic conditions

Bearing in mind the relatively mild temperatures we’ve been having this winter, make sure you put your thickest thermal base layer, running tee and waterproof jacket on for your fastest run of the week, in case you get cold. You wouldn’t want to be comfortable now, would you?

winter running marathon training

5) Don’t warm up

Who needs warm muscles, anyway?! A few token lunges should do it.
6) Put your iPod on shuffle 

Make sure you forget to sort your playlist out and then leave your iPod on shuffle so you have to try and run fast to the soothing sounds of Alt J and Elbow. Even better if you successfully manage to tangle your earphones around your body so you have to keep faffing and adjusting while you try to run.
7) Pick a sensible route

Speedwork is best done against the wind, along the windiest seafront you can find. The kind of wind that brings down piers. On your way to the seafront, change your mind a few times so you look lost and always stop to faff/stretch/cry when it’s not going to plan or when your late peanut butter breakfast is repeating on you.

West Pier Brighton damaged by storm
Brighton’s iconic West Pier this morning – broken in two from recent storms

8) Cut it short 

To really drive home how great your run’s going, hit lap on your Garmin prematurely when you’ve had enough, and skip to the rest lap. Then, stop half way through the next threshold interval and have a wee internal cry at how hard it is, cut that one even shorter and give up.

Oh, and don’t forget to stop the Garmin *just* before hitting the next mile marker, to top it all off.

Not my finest hour, boys and girls. Was still a bloody good workout though, I arrived at work sweaty, red faced and glad it was over!

Do you ever have bad runs? (Interpret that question however you like)… 

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