When the Hard Work Is Over

Intervals are my least favorite workout. Dreading their arrival on the training calendar, I always approach them with utter dislike. In fact, whenever I see them coming up, I subconsciously look for ways how to ditch them. Somehow, though, I go out there and do the hard work. And, man, does it hurt!

Be My Interval Valentine

I was so reluctant to go out for last Friday’s 5x1k session that it took me the better part of the day to get out of the house. I was scared of the pain⁠—it’s the same dread I feel about the 5K races.

Driving to the start point, I was so resigned that I was sure I would perish on the road a mere few yards after hitting the road. Indeed, the first mile was torture, and I wanted nothing more than to turn back to the car and go home. My legs were screeching and whining after a whole week of hard training. I felt as if I were dragging heavy, lead-filled lumps instead of legs.

But then, as my body was slowly gearing up for the exertion, I figured I could always run the first interval and then see how I felt about doing more. Thus convinced, I pressed the lap button. And…

Going at 4:05/km wasn’t that bad, after all. For half of the interval, I didn’t even feel this was the sort of exertion that had elicited so much dread just minutes ago.

Then came a slight hill, which I was sure would shred my legs and lungs. Climbing up, I slowed down, knowing very well that going too fast so early into the training session would only mean complete failure later. I glanced at the watch (which I swore I wouldn’t do) and almost fainted at the thought of going 200 meters more. There was only one way out⁠—focus!

I pushed all pain-laced thoughts aside and locked my gaze on the road ahead.

Beeeep! I love you Garmin <3 I now had a full three-minute recovery to make up my mind about completing four one-kilometer-long intervals or jogging back to the car.

I chose to fight.

Beeeep! I hate you Garmin! I sprang forward, through the mud and puddles. Hill again. I ran up, suddenly focused and determined. And then it hit me.

I was going for the whole set of five intervals!

Bam, bam, bam, and bam! All of the remaining intervals are suddenly done, and I still want more.

Then a very, very stupid idea popped into my head. Why not run another 500-meter interval below 4:00/km?

That was one good workout 🙂

And so I did. And it felt wonderful. My feet were shooting forward like pistons, my breathing even, my mind free. This is how a quality session should feel like. This is the real meaning of running.

Beeeep! Thank you, Garmin, for being with me during this rollercoaster of feelings on Valentine’s Day. Never mind the pain that would haunt me for the next two days. It was worth it!

Maja

Personal bests: 5K - 20:48 10K - 43:48

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