Some years ago, when I used to run alone, I tried a bit of interval training. I hadn’t got my proper running pattern back then, so it was very hit and miss, and if I’m honest, it was fairly shambolic. I would be verbally protesting all the way round a 5k, sweating and swearing, looking for all the world like a great big potato in lycra. It wasn’t pretty for either myself, or anyone witnessing it.
Understandable then, that I gave it up fairly quickly, thinking I was never going to return.
Fast forward 5 years, and my running buddy casually drops it into the conversation that she has tried it, and is enjoying the benefits. I’m then straight onto Google to research it further.
Wikipedia tells me:
“Interval training is a type of training that involves a series of low-high intensity workouts, interspersed with rest or relief periods. The high intensity periods are typically at, or close to anaerobic exercise, while the recovery periods involve activity of lower intensity”.
Okey doke. Sounds simple enough.
So the following week, Pam and I head out on our weekly run/natter. Now we know each other pretty well. Pam is a very fit, strong lady. Far faster and stronger than I. But we gel together so well, because she pushes me, ever so gently to try new techniques. I fact, she does it in such a clever way, that it sounds almost impossible to resist.
In that lovely quiet unassuming way, she mentioned that at some point during our run, she was going to do 3 faster paced intervals of around 20 seconds each, then return to our normal, preferred speed, and if I wanted to, I could join her. The treasure that she is, after her first interval, she came jogging slowly back to join me.
So then, the little subconscious voice started up in my head. “Why not try it? Look how far Pam got, left you behind. If you did three of those with her, you could knock loads of time off your 5k”.
Before I knew it, I was joining in. Only 10 seconds initially, but it was a start.
The first week, we knocked 6 minutes off our regular time, and last week, another 3.
We are now down to a 5k in 43:48.
Yes, it’s hard, yes we get out of breath, and yes we are on our knees by the end of it. But it has taught me that interval training is not only quite fun, but also an integral part of your training.
As I am constantly saying, every time I run, I am learning something new about it, which keeps the sport fresh and challenging.
If you haven’t tried it, give it a go. I never thought I would be recommending going hell for leather, especially up hills, but you know, it means you will be in that lovely post run hot shower just a little bit sooner.