Monday, August 20, 2007
Let me tell you about running intervals: they're a pain.
I've learned this during week five of the "Cool Running Couch-to-5k" program. I did fine during week one, where I ran 60 seconds and walked 90 seconds. It was the next week, week two, where it got harder. Then it was 60 sec/run, 90 sec/run, and it hurt. The next few weeks were better, but last week was the worst: 3 min/run, walk, 5 min/run, walk. Ugh.
I just got done with the first run of week five, thanks to Robert Ullrey's brilliant podcast. Maybe this cool, rainy weather helped, but my 5 min/run, 3 min/walk intervals weren't that bad. And it timed just perfectly to make a complete circuit around Ella Sharp Park.
The running has been great. I've run in the heat, in the cool evenings, and now when it's raining. I've run down West Ave. and Fourth St. and around Essex Heights and a few laps through Cascades Park. I've seen deer and woodchucks, almost been attacked by a few cranes, and seen my first Jackson-born black squirrel.
I can feel my legs and my breathing change, too. It's hard to imagine, at week one, running for five straight minutes. But this is the second week I've done that, and those 60-second intervals during the initial phases seem like a cakewalk.
Using a bit of mindfulness, I've made it easier to overcome the longer intervals - especially the new 5-minute ones. I concentrate on my arms for a while, then on the way my feet are hitting the ground, then the awful pain my calves are experiences, and - as always - my breath. I ran short-distance track in high school, and never have I been comfortable running for 5 straight minutes.
Now I am. Amazing.
Andrea says the techno music helps her zone out, but I think just running around the neighborhood is doing fine for me.
This week is interesting, broken up into three days of different workouts: there's today's 5-minute intervals, but next is 5 min. and 8 min. intervals. You know, the kind I was complaining about above. The last day there's a straight 20-minute run.
I'll let you know if I survive.