In this new year, I am going to try something new. Instead of taking you through my training week, I’m going to focus on one part of my training. Of course, I’ll throw in those most important extra bits (and pictures) for fun – but my intention is to stay a bit more focused in my posts.
So, for this first post of the year: Intervals.
In school, the idea of interval training – sprints – really any running at all – could bring me close to tears for fear of it. Me, run fast? Me? What if I failed? What if I couldn’t go as fast as I wanted? What if I trip? What if?!?
Somewhere along the way, though, Interval Day became my favorite part of my training week. If I get two (which I did this week), I’m in heaven! Why, you ask? Let me try to explain.
Intervals prove to me just how much harder I can work, how much more I can push, how much stronger I am. They can do this in just a few short minutes really. For example, I did 3 minute intervals this morning with a 1 minute recovery between. I pushed myself to run faster that I usually do in intervals because I knew they’d be short. The lesson: I’m strong and I can go faster than I think – for longer than I think.
Intervals also break up the monotony of a longer run. Sure, music or a podcast can distract my mind. But a good set of intervals can get me focused and invested in the run itself, without enough time to remember that what I’m doing might be hard – or that it might hurt – or that I have so many more minutes/miles to go. Intervals insist that I focus on the here and now – to enjoy the effort and relax into the breaks in between.
Intervals make me feel accomplished. After I finish a set of intervals – when I worked hard and pushed myself harder than I’d intended at the outset – I feel more accomplished than after I finish a long run. I feel more accomplished because they always make me feel stronger (even if I’m exhausted) and like I can do more. I feel more accomplished because I can measure my improvements with relative ease (Did I increase my pace over last week?). And with this feeling of accomplishment, I find that I care less about how far I went or how many calories I burned because I conquer my fear in these workouts, which feels like so much more than distance or calories.